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Monday, November 1, 1999

Eagles' defense, special teams light up scoreboard

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct 30, 1999 — You really didn't need a scoreboard in the first half of Friday's game between the Pecos Eagles and Canutillo Golden Eagles, which was good, because the one at Eagle Stadium blew out 15 minutes before game time.

The two Eagle squads missed a combined four scoring chances in the first half, and raced through a 0-0 tie in under 45 minutes. But the scoreboard would have come in handy in the final two quarters of play, when Pecos' defense and special teams scored or set up five touchdowns, in 32-0 shutout of Canutillo, to help clinch their second straight trip to the playoffs.

Pecos managed just 167 yards total offense on the night, but as head coach Gary Grubbs pointed out, "We never had the ball in the second half," when Pecos scored two touchdowns off interceptions, one off a blocked punt and set up two more following a fumbled punt and a third interception, while posting their third shutout of the year.

"We had our opportunities. We should have had at least two touchdowns," Grubbs said of the first half failures. Pecos drove the ball from their own 33 on their first series to a 1st-and-10 at the Canutillo 11 after a 25-yard run by Donnie Winfrey. But he was stuffed at the line on the next play, and on 4th-and-2 Jacob Esparza was stopped for no gain, giving the ball back to the Golden Eagles.

Pecos then stopped Canutillo and Mark Dominguez shanked an 11-yard punt to the Canutillo14. But once again, Pecos' line couldn't open the holes, and a fourth down pass by Alex Garcia to Esparza came up two yards short. That seemed to inspire Canutillo, as they proceeded to drive the ball 78 yards, mostly on runs by Gilbert Gonzales and Pete Terrazas.

"They did some things we weren't ready for." said Grubbs. "We had our tackles in a little too tight, and they ran it off tackle."

Pecos finally ended the drive by stopped Terrazas twice after Canutillo had gotten a 3rd-and-2 at the Eagle 18. Then it was Pecos' turn to miss a scoring chance, as Ricky Plummer dropped a throw from Derek Zubledia off a double reverse option pass, with under two minutes to play in the half.

"They had a nice little drive going, but we were able to step up on defense," Grubbs said. "They play a style of football we really defend well."

The cold front that blew in about 9 p.m. was a factor in the third period, both for what it did and for when it showed up — moments after Daniel Terrazas got off a 45-yard punt towards the north end of the field that Eloy Gonzales had to go back on and then fumbled, with Jason Payne recovering the ball at the Canutillo 11.

After being stopped inside the Canutillo 10 twice in the opening period, but this time a two-yard run by Len Carson on 3rd-and-2 got the Eagles a first down at the one, and quarterback Alex Garcia snuck into the end zone on the next play for his first touchdown of the season.

Jacob Weidner's extra point made it 7-0 with about nine minutes left in the period (the only time clock was the unofficial LED display on the scoreboard clock in the press box, while the referees maintained the official time on the field), and it stayed that way until late in the third quarter, where Canutillo had a chance to tie the game.

That came after Gonzales returned a punt — now into the wind — by Terrazas to the Pecos 38. Dominguez, making his first start at quarterback in place of the injured Jesus Navarette, got loose for a 12 yard first down run then just missed an open Richard Kastl behind the defense on first down from the Pecos 26.

But two plays later he was hit by Daniel Terrazas coming in from his linebacker position, and the ball popped into the air and was picked off by Trent Riley, who was able to take it 77 yards the other way for a touchdown and a 13-0 Eagles' lead.

Weidner's extra point was blocked and almost run back for two points by Angel Vega, but after that, it would be Weidner doing the blocking. He knocked down and then recovered a Dominguez punt at the Canutillo 23. Pecos wasn't able to turn into points, as holding calls wiped out touchdown runs, by Esparza on a sweep and Zubeldia off an option reverse to close the third period and start the fourth, and Canutillo then got a hand on a Terrazas punt, but not enough to keep it from bouncing down to the Golden Eagles' 4-yard line.

Three plays and a botched pitch-out netted the Golden Eagles minus-1 yard, and this time, Dominguez' punt was blocked by Omar Luna coming through the middle of the line, with Weidner recovering the ball in the end zone for the touchdown.

"On the first one we didn't call for a block, but we always have pressure up the middle," Grubbs said. "On the second, when they had to punt the ball into the wind, we were going after it."

Things would get worse for Canutillo. Gilbert Gonzales, who ran for 55 yards on the night and returned the game's opening kickoff 49 yards to the Pecos 38, tried another return off a handoff, but was tackled by Joey Garcia at the 31. He then took a punch at Garcia and both players were flagged and ejected from the game.

The main beneficiary of this was Peter Juarez, Garcia's replacement at cornerback. He was in the right spot to pick off a Dominguez slant pass that floated behind receiver Rene Ochoa in the strong wind and return it 36 yards for the Eagles' second return score in eight minutes.

Sophomore Julian Lopez relieved Dominguez after that. He would have one run for a first down, but his second pass of the night was also a floater into the wins and was picked off by Payne at the Pecos 32.

He returned it to midfield and Pecos then began a penalty-filled drive to their final score. A pair of run by Esparza netted 36 of his 84 yards on the night, and the Eagles were then helped by a trio of Canutillo personal foul penalties after a holding call of their own. One was for a facemask sack of Alex Garcia, a second for a late hit on Carson, and the third and interference call on Kastl off a pass to Zubledia in the end zone.

The last one set up a one-yard TD run by Carson to cap the scoring with 30 seconds to play.

Canutillo wound up with 156 yards in offense in the game, just 11 less than Pecos, but were hurt far more by their turnovers. "They were forced to throw it into the wind and we picked it off a couple of times," said Grubbs.

Canutillo saw their record fall to 1-8 on the season, 1-3 in district, ending their post-season hopes. Pecos improved their season record to 5-4 and their district record to 3-1, and clinched a playoff spot about an hour after their game ended, when San Elizario clinch their own playoff berth by defeating Clint 35-14.

Mountain View kept its playoff hopes alive and handed Fabens its fourth heartbreaking district loss in as many games, by a 36-33 final score in Friday's other 2-4A contest. They can make the playoffs with a win over Clint next Friday, and how that goes will determine who Pecos meets in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

The Eagles will now go to San Elizario and will seek to earn a share of the district title by beating the district's third group of Eagles, who've won six in a row after a 1-2 start.

at Pecos
Canutillo   0  0    0    0   - 0
Pecos        0  0  13  19  -32

Third Quarter
Pec. - A. Garcia 1 run (Weidner kick), 4:00.
Pec. - Riley 77 interception return (kick blocked), 9:10.

Fourth Quarter
Pec. - Weidner recovery of blocked punt in end zone (Weidner kick), 2:12.
Pec. - Juarez 36 interception return (kick failed), 3:22.
Pec. - Carson 2 run (kick failed), 11:30.

                                 Can          Pec
First Downs                    8          13
Rushes-Yds           34-126  45-159
Passing Yds                  28            8
Passes                   3-14-3     1-6-0
Punts-Yds              3-19.7   4-34.3
Fumbles-lost               2-1         2-1
Penalties-Yds            9-69      5-50

Rushing - Canutillo, G. Gonzales 14-55, Terrazas 11-31, Dominguez 5-20, Lopez 1-12, Rios 2-7, D. Gonzales 1-1. Pecos, Esparza 14-84, Winfrey 8-31, Carrillo 10-31, Carson 9-16, A. Garcia 4-(-8).
Passing - Canutillo, Dominguez 3-12-2-38, Lopez 0-2-1-0. Pecos, Garcia 1-5-0-8, Zubledia 0-1-0-0.
Receiving - Canutillo, Vega 1-10, Kastl 1-10, Ochoa 1-8. Pecos, Esparza 1-8.
Missed Field Goals - None.

Pecos rallies for bi-district win over Tigers

Staff Writer
EL PASO, Nov. 1, 1999 -- Three game matches have been the rule, not the exception, for the Pecos Eagles volleyball team in 1999. So it wasn’t a big surprise that Pecos would go three games Saturday in their bi-district playoff match against the El Paso High Tigers.

But what was different was the way the Eagles played – getting stronger as the game went along, which allowed them to rally from a 15-13 opening loss to defeat the Tigers in Game 2, 15-11. Then in the deciding game, the Eagles survived squandering an early 5-1 lead to score 10 of the match’s final 12 points to beat El Paso, 15-8, and earn a trip to Seminole on Tuesday to face No. 1-ranked Hereford in the area round of the Class 4A playoffs.

“I guess we just knew too much about them,” said Eagles’ coach Becky Granado. “Our scouting report was excellent. Everything on it their girls did. We knew when we blocked them they’d start dinking.”

One thing that didn’t work out as planned was the rotation. Granado had switched her normal rotation around in Thursday’s practice game loss to Fort Stockton, putting D’Andra Ortega on the front line with Philonicus Fobbs coming off the bench. But after the opening loss the Eagles went back to their regular rotation and trailed only once the rest of the way.
“After I made the switch I had her (Ortega) up there against their bigger hitter and Philly against their strongest hitter. That didn’t work so I switched it back in the second game," Granado said. "It seems like she plays better against stronger hitters."
Pecos has normally started strong, then struggled to pull out wins this season, or have won the first game and lost the final two, as was the case Thursday against Fort Stockton. This time, the Eagles struggled at the start, as the Tigers' Lorena Chavez opened the game with a spike off Ortega, and Erika Herrera would later add a kill and dink to give El Paso High a 12-7 lead.

Fobbs would come up with a kill and Chavez would spike two shots out of bounds, allowing Pecos to tie the score, before El Paso High won it, off a kill be Herrera and an ace serve by Christine Fineron.

The second game was the reverse of the first, even down to the winning point coming off an ace serve, this time by Monica Meza. Ortega and Fobbs would both block Chavez for points and Fobbs would also score off a pair of kills, as the Eagles built a 10-3 lead, only to see El Paso rally to within 10-9.

Pecos then got a break, when Liz Chavarria was called for touching the net on a missed shot by Ashley Salcido, and Pecos then scored three straight points, off an Ortega spike of an overset, and two bad hits by Krystal Nagrete and Chavez. El Paso High would get to within 13-11 before a dink by Fobbs and Meza's ace finished things off.

El Paso's lone lead in Game 3 came at 6-5, when Fobbs blocked a Nagrete kill out of bounds, but the Eagles then tied it on a Salcido kill, jumped ahead 9-6 on a trio of unforced errors and then stopped a Tiger rally when Leslie Brown was able to dig out a spike by Nagrete and sent it back over the net, where it fell in-between a pair of El Paso players.

"At the end, when they hit the ball and Leslie picked it up and went back over the next and caught their defense off guard, that helped us win the third game," Granado said. "It was a hard hit and she picked it up, and that gave us a big lift."

Pecos was up 9-7 at that point, and then reeled off five straight points to take a 14-7 lead. Fobbs just missed ending the game when her spike went past the back line, and Herrera did answer with a spike of her own, but Ortega was able to put a spike down moments later to end the match.

The victory improved Pecos' season record to 20-11 going into Tuesday's match against Hereford, which beat out defending state champion Dumas for the District 1-4A title this season. Dumas, which eliminated Pecos last season, will face Clint on Tuesday. Both Hereford and Clint earned byes for winning their district titles.

After Pecos and El Paso finished off their game Saturday, San Elizario lost in three games to El Paso Burges, 15-4, 12-15, 15-12, in the other bi-district playoff match.

Sanderson ends Balmorhea's playoff hopes

PECOS, Nov. 1, 1999 -- The Balmorhea Bears didn't fall behind the Sanderson Eagles early on Friday night, they way they had in several other games this season. But after grabbing a 14-0 first period lead, the Bears were buried under a quartet of touchdown passes in the second period and saw their playoff hopes ended by the host Eagles, 68-36.

The Bears took a 14-0 lead with just over 90 seconds gone in the game, on a 65-yard run by Josue Mendoza after the opening kickoff and a 35 yard fumble return by Arturo Rodriguez on the Eagles' first possession. Balmorhea then held that lead through the next 12 minutes of play, before Sanderson broke out for four scores in 6½ minutes of the second period.

The first three of those went to Alex Escamilla from Roland Rodriguez and covered just 20 total yards, as turnover problems began to cost the Bears. The first two scores came just 56 second apart, as Sanderson grabbed a 16-14 lead. Escamilla's third TD reception came from eight yards out with 2:08 left in the half, and the Eagles then got the big play of the night with 18 seconds left in the half, when Rodriguez hit Tyler Cantu on a 51-yard scoring play to put Sanderson up by 18.

The Bears cut that to 12 early in the third period on Mendoza's second TD of the night, off a 12-yard pass from Isaiah Rodriguez, but once again, Sanderson responded with four straight touchdowns, beginning with a 44-yard return by Rodriguez on the ensuing kickoff. Touchdown runs by Cantu, Josh Benavidez and Escamilla followed, widening the lead to 60-18.

Balmorhea was able to keep the game going until the finish by posting two more scores, on an 11-yard TD pass from Isaiah Rodriguez to Ryan Clark, and Mendoza's third score of the game. But the Bears were held to under 100 yards rushing on the night and under 250 in total offense, while committing seven turnovers.

Sanderson, which stayed atop the District 7-A six man standings, had four turnovers of their own, but more than made up for it with 531 yards total offense.

The loss dropped Balmorhea to 1-3 in district play and 3-4 on the season. The Bears return home for what could be their final game of the season, this Friday against Marathon. Balmorhea is scheduled to close out the season at Sierra Blanca, but the Vaqueros have been forced to forfeit their last two games due to a lack of players.

Steer roper Goodwin dies in finals accident 

OKLAHOMA CITY, Nov. 1, 1999 (AP) — Steer roper Colby Goodwin has died after he was injured when his horse fell on him during the National Finals Steer Roping competition.

Nita West, a spokeswoman for Mercy Health Center, said the 32-year-old Goodwin, of Canyon, died at 9:07 a.m. Sunday from massive head injuries sustained Saturday night at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie.

Authorities said Goodwin was injured when his horse tripped on the slack portion of his rope after he had roped a steer in the ninth round of the competition. The horse reared, then fell backward and landed on Goodwin's head.

Goodwin's wife, Amy, and his parents were at the arena when the accident occurred. Goodwin and his wife are the parents of a 10-day-old child, Gunner.

"We are all incredibly saddened by this event," said Steve Hatchell, commissioner of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. "It's something that shouldn't happen and just doesn't make any sense. All of rodeo is truly sad and is thinking of Colby's family."

Goodwin's death was the first in NFSR competition and only the second in National Finals history. Bull rider Brent Thurman was killed at the 1994 National Finals Rodeo.

Goodwin entered the steer roping finals ranked eighth in the Crown Royal World Standings with $27,821. He also qualified for the NFSR in 1995 and 1998, finishing 14th in the world standings in 1995 and 15th last year.

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