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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, Nov. 11, 1998

Mustangs reach playoffs after 0-6 start

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 11 -- Based on preseason predictions, the El
Paso Burges Mustangs were expected to finish third in
District 1-4A and face the Pecos Eagles in the bi-district
round of the Class 4A playoffs, and that's exactly what

But where the Eagles took a more conventional road to their
playoff berth, going 4-1 in District 2-4A after a 2-3 start,
Burges appeared dead in the water after dropping their
district opener to fall to 0-6 on the season.

Four weeks later, the Mustangs are preparing to host the
Eagles Friday night in El Paso, and both teams come into the
8:30 p.m. CST contest having won three of their last four

Although Burges' three wins -- over El Paso Bowie, El Paso
High and El Paso Parkland -- were their only ones of the
season, they got a fourth on Saturday, beating Parkland
again in a coin flip to advance to post-season along with El
Paso Ysleta.

"We had a tough pre-district schedule," said Burges coach
Bill Birkhead. "Our second game was against the defending
New Mexico state champions, Las Cruces Mayfield, and our
first game was against one of the biggest El Paso schools,

"But our kids continued to work hard and never gave up. I
knew once we got settled down we'd be all right," Birkhead

Burges' 0-6 start included losses to Pecos' District 2-4A
rivals El Paso Mountain View and Canutillo in which the
Mustangs surrendered 83 points. But Birkhead said since
then, Burges has changed up their defensive structure.

"We changed defensive coordinators this year, and we were
running something we hadn't run before. But we went back to
the old defense we used to run, the split(-6) and we've done
a lot better," Birkhead said. The split-6, which puts more
people up at the line, held Parkland's Alex Rose to 29 yards
last week and figures to make it harder for the Eagles to
run the ball outside.

Meanwhile, on offense the Mustangs have been able to run the
ball in their three wins, and got a couple of key touchdown
passes from quarterback Patrick Gomez in last Friday's 30-16
win at Parkland.

Chris Apodaca gained 96 yards in the win, after running for
140 yards against El Paso High in a 42-14 win two weeks ago
and 153 yards in their 19-0 victory over El Paso Bowie on
Oct. 16. "He's run the ball 216 times for 1,182 yards and 10
touchdowns," Birkhead said. "He's a senior, and this is his
third year over 1,000 yards, so we're pretty proud."

The Mustangs' other main rusher, Andy Diaz, gained 159 yards
against Burges, but has carried the ball less than half as
much as Apodaca this season.

Birkhead said the return of 6-4, 255 pound tackle Emilio
Medina, who missed the first six games due to a broken foot
and grades, has helped the Mustangs' attack. "We've gotten a
lot better since he came back," the Mustangs' coach said.

That includes the passing game, where Gomez threw for 192
yards a week ago, including touchdown passes of 55- and
50-yards to tight end John Tornes. His previous high was 169
yards in the win over El Paso High.

The 6-3, 250 pound Tornes is the Mustangs' main receiving
target. "He had a real good game last week on both offense
and defense," said Birkhead of the senior, who also is the
Mustangs' top defensive end.

While Friday's game will mark the end of a 23-year playoff
drought for Pecos, Burges will be hoping to improve on their
last bi-district showing, in 1996, when the Mustangs went to
Sweetwater and lost, 41-0 to the Eagles' former district

The winner of Friday's game will face either the Canyon
Eagles or Borger Bulldogs in the area round of the Class 4A,
Division II playoffs.

Boosters selling Eagle playoff T-shirts

PECOS, Nov. 11 -- The Pecos Eagles Athletic Booster Club is
selling T-shirts for his Friday's bi-district football game
in El Paso against Burges High School.

The T-shirts, which mark Pecos' return to post-season play
for the first time in 23 years, are being sold at the Pecos
High School office, 1201 S. Park St., for $10 apiece. The
Eagles will face Burges at 8:30 p.m. Friday night at Mustang
Stadium in El Paso, located behind the Cielo Vista Mall in
central El Paso.

High baseball payrolls pay off in victories

AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK, Nov. 11 -- While the rich won in baseball this
year, the poor bombed out.

Only one team with a payroll of more than $48 million had a
losing record -- the Baltimore Orioles, who went 79-83
despite spending a record $74 million on players, according
to figures compiled by management's Player Relations

Conversely, only one team with a payroll of less than $47
million had a winning record. The Toronto Blue Jays were
88-74 and spent $37.3 million, according to the report,
which was circulated Tuesday at the general managers'
meeting in Naples, Fla., and obtained by The Associated

``It's quite significant,'' commissioner Bud Selig said.
``I've been spending a lot of time thinking about it,
talking about it. I'll have some things to say in the coming
weeks and months.''

The eight playoff teams all were among the top 12 in
payroll. Missing out on the postseason among the big
spenders were Baltimore, Los Angeles, the New York Mets and

The New York Yankees, who won the World Series for the
second time in three seasons, were less than $200,000 behind
the Orioles, coming in at $73.8 million. That includes $8.2
million in termination pay: $2.5 million to Oakland for
Kenny Rogers, $1.6 million to San Francisco for Charlie
Hayes, $1.6 million to the released Dale Sveum and $2.5
million to Minnesota as part of the Chuck Knoblauch trade.

Texas, eliminated by New York in the first round of the
playoffs, was third at $62.2 million, followed by Atlanta
($61.8 million), eliminated by San Diego in the NL
championship series. The Padres were 10th at $53.0 million.

Teams that spent less than $37 million not only lost -- they
lost big. All 12 teams under that figure lost 88 games or
more and only three of them finished within 20 games of
first place -- Oakland (14 games back with an $18.6 million
payroll), Kansas City (16½ games back with a $35.6 million
payroll) and Minnesota (19 games back with a $22 million

Montreal had the lowest payroll at $8.3 million, the least a
team has spent since the 1990 Baltimore Orioles were at $8.1

Ties between spending and winning have increased since the
1994-95 strike. Last year, the postseason teams were all
among the top 14 in payroll and in 1996 they were among the
top 12.

Florida, which had the fifth-highest payroll in 1997 at
$52.5 million and won the World Series, got rid of nearly
all its stars, slashed its payroll to $19.1 million (27th
among the 30 teams) and finished with the worst record in
baseball at 54-108, 52 games behind first-place Atlanta.

Figures are based on Aug. 31 rosters and include pro-rated
shares of signing bonuses and earned performance bonuses,
but not postseason award bonuses.

Baseball's average salary increased 4.8 percent, from $1.31
million to a record $1.38 million, according to the PRC. The
median -- the amount where an equal number of players earn
above and below -- went up from $400,000 to $427,500, still
short of the record $450,000 set in 1994 before the 232-day

The players' association, which has a slightly different
method for computing salaries, will release its figures next

Payrolls most likely will grow even more next year. Atlanta
(with just 12 signed players) and Cleveland (with 18)
already have committed more than $62 million in 1999
payroll. The Braves have agreed to $55 million in salaries
for 2000 and have a total future commitment of $166 million.

Cleveland is second in future commitments at $165 million,
followed by Boston ($159 million), the New York Mets ($146
million, including $91 million to catcher Mike Piazza) and
Los Angeles ($139 million). Minnesota has the lowest
commitment at $12 million and Kansas City has agreed to just
$13 million.

In all, teams already have spent $934 million on 275 players
for next year. This year's payroll total was a record $1.23
billion for 894 players.

Also Tuesday, owners and the players' association agreed on
the 13 players with less than three years' of major league
service who will be eligible for salary arbitration in

Texas right-hander Rick Helling, Montreal right-hander
Dustin Hermanson, Minnesota outfielder Matt Lawton, San
Francisco left-hander Alvin Morman, Twins right-hander Dan
Naulty, Florida shortstop Edgar Renteria, Philadelphia
shortstop Kevin Sefcik, Boston third baseman Chris Snopek,
Phillies left-hander Paul Spoljaric, Houston closer Billy
Wagner, Red Sox right-hander John Wasdin, Pittsburgh
right-hander Mark Wilkins and Pirates second baseman Tony

Helling, in a four-way tie for the major league lead in
wins, figures to win a raise from $216,500 to more than $3
million, and Wagner ($280,000) also should get a hefty

Three of the so-called Super 2s already have signed: Detroit
infielder Tony Clark ($2,262,500), Montreal catcher Chris
Widger ($900,000) and Expos closer Ugueth Urbina ($2.2

The Super 2 designation stems from the 1990 lockout
settlement. By service time, the top 17 percent of players
with between two and three years in the majors are eligible
for arbitration.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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