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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Wednesday, February 3, 1999

Eagle girls' late comeback falls short

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 3 -- The Fabens Wildcats got a higher-percentage
shot than the Pecos Eagles did in the closing seconds of
Tuesday night's game at the Pecos High School gym, and that
got the Wildcats a two-point win over the Eagles.

Mary Ann Ariola's six-foot jumper from the left side of the
basket gave Fabens a 57-56 lead over Pecos with 31 seconds
to play, and after a turnover and in-between free throws by
Missy Wilson and Luz Sigala at the 17 and 5.4 second marks,
Shaye Lara missed a couple of 3-point tries in the final
seconds, allowing the Wildcats to pull out a 59-56 win.

"We were playing hard. We wanted to send the game ball over
to Danny," Eagles' coach Brian Williams said, referring to
PHS principal Danny Rodriguez, who underwent angioplasty in
Odessa Tuesday after suffering a mild heart attack on
Friday. "The girls dedicated the game to him because he's
been so supportive of the team, and we were hoping to give
him one after a victory."

Ariola's basket and the late missed chances spoiled a Pecos
comeback from a 12-point deficit in the final 3½ minutes of
play. Maricela Arenivas hit a couple of 3-pointers to cut a
54-42 lead down to six, Philonicus Fobbs banked home a shot
and Lara scored off a steal to make it 54-52 with just under
two minutes to play.

Fabens' Cynthia Cordona then missed a lay-up, and Lindsey
Hathorn came back and hit a 10-foot jumper in the lane to
tie the game with 1:09 left, and after Sigala hit one foul
shot at the 56 second mark, Lara was fouled and made both
free throws to give the Eagles their first lead since late
in the opening quarter.

Pecos started the game fast, going out to an 8-2 lead on
baskets by Lara, Hathorn and Katrina Quiroz and two foul
shots by Monique Levario. But the Eagles also missed several
other chances, and on defense, allowed Fabens to get off a
series of close-in jumpers from the midpoint of the first
period on.

Wilson and Cordona each scored twice late in the period as
part of a 12-2 run that gave the Wildcats a 14-10 lead, and
Sonia Maes found holds in the Eagles' defense for seven of
her 19 points in the second quarter, which ended with Fabens
holding a 37-28 lead.

"We never came out and challenged their girls' shots,"
Williams said. "We were supposed to be an arm's length away
from them and we weren't, and we also gave up the baseline
and got ourselves into foul trouble."

Fabens cooled off on their short jumpers in the third
period, and the Eagles were able to score off a couple of
rebound shots to narrow the nine point lead to three, at
41-38. But Maes led a nine-point run midway through the
final period that turned a 45-42 lead into a 12-point
advantage, before Arenivas' 3-pointers began Pecos' final

Lara led Pecos with 16 points while Arenivas had 14 in her
second game back after missing four weeks due to grades. "I
think the sad thing about is she was getting ready to get
into it when she failed," Williams said. "She's been working
out in practice, but it's not the same as playing in a game,
and tonight she went until the fourth quarter before she got
her stroke going and got back into it on defense.

"Maricela's got to get into her classes next year and work
just as hard, so we won't get into the same situation,"
Williams added.

The loss drops Pecos to 1-7 in District 2-4A and 4-21
overall, while Fabens improved to 3-5 in district, and 13-12
for the season.

The Eagles play their final road game of the season on
Friday, when they face first-place Clint. Pecos ends its
season next Tuesday with a home game against San Elizario.

Jo. Martinez 2 2-3 6; Maes 8 3-6 19; Cordona 6 0-1 12;
Ramirez 0 0-0 0; Sigala 3 2-8 8; Wilson 2 3-4 7; Je.
Martinez 0 0-0 0; Mesquita 0 0-0 0; Ariola 2 3-4 7. Totals
23 13-26 59.

PECOS (56)
Lara 6 4-4 16; Marquez 0 0-0 0; Garcia 0 0-2 0; Molinar 1
0-0 2; Salcido 0 0-0 0; Arenivas 5 0-0 14; Levario 0 2-2 2;
Hathorn 5 0-0 10; Fobbs 3 0-0 6; Quiroz 3 0-0 6. Totals 23
6-8 56.

Fabens 14 23 6 16 --59
Pecos 10 18 10 18 --56
Three-point goals: Pecos 4 (Arenivas 4). Fouled out: Pecos,
Quiroz. Total fouls: Fabens 14, Pecos 24.

Eagles suffer through foul finish

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 3 -- Basketball teams usually are worried about
foul trouble, but for the past couple of games, the Pecos
Eagles have had trouble fouling.

Fouling isn't something a team or coach normally wants to
do, but when you're down by two points with 5.6 second to
play and need to get the ball back, that's exactly what
Pecos Eagles' coach Mike Sadler told his team Tuesday night
against the Fabens Wildcats.

"You've got to foul!" Sadler told his players during a time
out, after Fernando Navarette's steal and 3-point shot had
cut Fabens' lead to 47-45. The Eagles immediately called a
time-out to set up their defense against the inbounds pass
and if they couldn't get a steal off the inbounds, were told
to foul and then hope Fabens would miss at least one foul
shot, giving them one last shot at a win or tie.

But once Fabens' Rigo Garcia got the ball, he dribbed
between two defenders and got it up to midcourt, allowing
Fabens to run out the clock and win the game, their first in
District 2-4A after five straight losses.

"I don't know what to say. I'm at a loss for words," said
Sadler, who saw his team's playoff hopes dim with the
homecourt defeat. "It's a shame that we get a pretty good
crowd and then don't play very well."

The Eagles were in the same boat last Friday in their loss
to Canutillo, committing just one foul over the first 13
minutes of the game, then having to foul often and quickly
to get Canutillo to the point where they might miss some
foul shots.

On Tuesday, the Wildcats had put the Eagles into the bonus
for two minutes before Pecos committed their first foul of
the game, nine minutes in, and then didn't commit a foul for
the first 8½ minutes of the second half, and would have only
sent Fabens to the line if they had fouled after Navarette's

"We have no concentration, no leadership, and I'm the No. 1
leader, so I'll take the blame for the loss," Sadler said.
"I've had them since sophomore year, so if I haven't gotten
that point across by now I've done a poor job of coaching."

Tuesday's loss also resembled Friday's game in the Eagles'
struggles at the end of the first half. Thanks in part to
Fabens' fouls, Pecos held as much as a nine-point lead early
in the second period, at 21-12 after a pair of rebound
baskets by Saul Garcia and Navarette. But after a Navarette
basket made it 23-15 Fabens' Cesar Escobar and Manny Solis
would score off steals, and Garcia would bank home a shot
just before the half to tie the game at 23-all.

Escobar and Solis then combined for a trio of 3-point shots
to start the second period, which helped put the Wildcats up
by as much as eight, at 36-28. This time, unlike on Friday,
the Eagles were able to come back, as Frank Perea hit a
3-pointer then stole the ball and scored to cut the margin
to 36-33. The Eagles would tie the score at the third period
buzzer off a 3 by Navarette and a short bank shot by Perea.

Two lay-ups by Mark Marquez would give Pecos a 42-41 lead in
the final period, but it lasted just seconds, as Solis came
back down and scored on a lay-up. The Eagles then hurt
themselves with a series of bad passes on offense, one of
which led to an Escobar lay-up. Isaac Casillas then went
down the middle of a spread-out defense to score with a
minute to play for a 47-42 lead, and Pecos missed on their
next trip downcourt, before Navarette got his steal and
basket to give Pecos their final, missed chance.

Navarette led all scorers with 19, while Solis had 18 to top
Fabens, 1-5 in district. Pecos falls to 2-4 and needs to win
at least three of their final four games, starting on Friday
at Clint, to have a shot at a playoff berth.

Pecos did win Tuesday's junior varsity game, 42-30, while
Fabens took the freshman contest by a 46-24 final score.

Escobar 3 0-0 7; Solis 7 1-1 18; Estrada 4 0-0 9; Loya 0 1-2
1; Casillas 3 0-0 6; Gomez 2 0-0 4; Villagon 0 0-0 0; Garcia
1 0-0 2; Erskin 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 2-3 47.

PECOS (45)
Herrera 0 2-2 2; Perea 3 0-0 7; S. Garcia 1 2-2 4; A. Garcia
0 0-0 0; Navarette 8 1-2 19; H. Garcia 0 2-2 2; Matta 0 0-0
0; Natividad 1 0-0 2; Marquez 3 3-4 9. Totals 16 10-12 45.

Fabens 12 11 15 9 --47
Pecos 17 6 15 7 --45
Three-point goals: Fabens 5 (Solis 3, Escobar, Estrada),
Pecos 3 (Navarette 2, Perea). Fouled out: None. Total fouls:
Fabens 15, Pecos 9.

New liver is needed by Payton

ROSEMONT, Ill., Feb. 3 (AP) -- Walter Payton ran the
football with no fear. With a dashing style and incomparable
flair, he could crash into a defender and run over him or
just as easily juke him and go around.

He became the leading rusher in NFL history because he ran
with such abandon and because, for 13 years, he was one of
the most durable players -- at any position -- to ever put
on a uniform.

Now the man they call ``Sweetness'' faces a crisis much more
formidable than any football game that ever confronted him
with the Chicago Bears, a challenge much greater than any
defense that ever tried to contain him.

He needs a liver transplant to live.

``He's the greatest football player I've ever seen at any
position,'' said Saints coach Mike Ditka, who coached Payton
in Chicago.

``If anybody can beat this thing, it's Walter. I'd like to
see when he gets the transplant and gets on level ground.''

Payton, 44, has a rare liver disease, and in his current
condition would have, on average, two years to live without
a transplant, his doctor said.

The Hall of Famer appeared gaunt and frail at a recent news
conference where his son announced he would play football at
the University of Miami. So Payton called a news conference
of his own to get his condition out in the open and curtail

``We wanted to get everything straight before things got
bad,'' said Payton, who wore sunglasses and an NFL jacket
and bluejeans that couldn't hide his thinness.

Payton was composed until the very end when asked if he had
a message for his legion of fans. Then the emotions came

``To the people that really care about me, just continue
praying,'' Payton said, choking up.

His wife, Connie, patted him on the back when he couldn't
continue. After finishing his thought in a cracking, tearful
voice, Payton put his head down and embraced his 17-year-old
son, Jarrett.

``I need him around, for him to be there for me as I do
things and for my sister and for my mom,'' Jarrett said

``For me, it was kind of scary because you see your dad
going through the NFL and not coming out with many injuries.
Then something like this happens and it kind of makes you
look and say, `Well, he's not invincible.'''

The disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis, afflicts just
three in 100,000 people, said Payton's physician, Dr. Joseph
Lagattuta. The cause of the disease, which blocks the bile
ducts, is unknown, but isn't related to alcohol, steroids,
hepatitis or immune deficiency, he said.

Symptoms include fatigue and jaundice -- yellowing of the
pigment of the eyes and skin.

Asked if he was scared, Payton responded quickly: ``Am I
scared? Hell yeah, I'm scared. Wouldn't you be scared?''

``But it's not in my hands anymore,'' he added. ``It's in
God's hands.''

Payton is being evaluated for a transplant at the Mayo
Clinic, where former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker received a
liver transplant in 1996 for the same disease. Tucker was on
a waiting list for four months.

Lagattuta said 88 percent of people who receive a liver
transplant are alive after a year, and the long-term
survival rate is ``very promising.'' He said most patients
can return to an active life if they receive a transplant.

Doctors say Payton won't get preferential treatment because
of his celebrity.

News of Payton's illness sobered those who knew him as a
muscular, fearless player.

``We're all humans and regardless of how rich we are, how
fortunate we are, whatever we maybe, things like this
happen,'' said retired Bears fullback Roland Harper, who
blocked for Payton.

``He'll show everybody in the world how to fight,'' Ditka

``While I was there, he missed one game and we nearly had to
tie him to the bench. He never ran out of bounds. I got
spoiled watching him run.''

Bears owners Ed and Virginia McCaskey issued a brief
statement saying they were ``devastated to hear that Walter
is sick.''

``He's a very dear person to our family and the entire Bears
organization. We'll do all we can to help Walter in his
current battle.''

Said NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue: ``The love, support
and prayers of the entire NFL are with him.''

Lagattuta said the disease is difficult to diagnose and can
go undetected for years. He initially thought it might be a
gall bladder problem when Payton told him in October that he
had felt ill since July. The liver problem was diagnosed
within the last two weeks.

Lagattuta said Payton has significant bile-duct blockage. To
aid his digestion and give him adequate nutrition, a plastic
tube was surgically inserted between the vessel that carries
bile from the liver to the intestines. But Payton said he is
not taking medication.

``It's amazing, I can eat anything I want, as much as I
want, and I still can't gain any weight,'' Payton said. But
he said the illness has affected his sense of tastes and
smell and chewing his favorite bubblegum makes him want to

``It's going to continue progressively to get worse to the
point where a transplant is inevitable. That's where we are
now,'' Payton said.

`` Right now, I'm still healthy even though I look like I've
lost weight. To some of you, I don't look healthy, I still

In his final season with the Bears in 1987, the 5-foot-11
Payton was listed at 202 pounds.

Asked how much he weighed now, Payton wouldn't say.

Instead, he replied: ``You want to pick me up?''

A first-round draft pick from Jackson State in 1975, Payton
carried the load for mediocre Bears teams early in his
career before leading Chicago to its only Super Bowl
appearance, after the 1985 season.

Selected to nine Pro Bowls and inducted into the Pro
Football Hall of Fame in 1993, Payton holds NFL career
records for yards gained, 16,726, and carries, 3,838.

He posted 77 100-yard games and 10 1,000-yard rushing
seasons. His 275-yard rushing performance against Minnesota
in 1977 still stands as the NFL record for rushing yards in
a game.

After retiring from football, Payton co-owned an Indy-CART
auto-racing team and ran a restaurant and other businesses
in the Chicago area. He served on the Bears board of
directors and joined groups seeking NFL franchises.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

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

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