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Sports

Tuesday, November 2, 1999

Eagles hoping luck changes in Seminole

PECOS, Nov. 2, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagles were hoping to face the Hereford Whitefaces at the Seminole Invitational two months ago, but a disastrous two days effort sent Pecos home without a single victory in eight match games. Hereford also lost at Seminole, but not until the finals, when they were beaten by Lubbock Coronado.

Tonight, the Eagles will hope their return to Seminole brings far better results and keeps their 1999 volleyball season alive, when they face the Whitefaces, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, in a 7 p.m. start.

The Eagles were eliminated last season in the area round by Dumas, which went on to win the Class 4A state title after losing out to Hereford for the District 1-4A crown. This year, Hereford also won the 1-4A title and drew a first round playoff bye, but unlike last season, the Herd went through their district schedule undefeated, and come into tonight's match with a 25-7 season record.

Pecos comes in at 20-11 after coming back on Saturday to beat El Paso High in bi-district, 13-15, 15-11, 15-8. The Eagles were able to outplay the Tigers after the opening game and probably had their most balanced attack of the season, getting points both with and without leading hitter Philonicus Fobbs on the front line.

Defensively, Fobbs and D'Andra Ortega did have troubles in the early going with the Tigers' spikes off quicksets, something they're bound to see more of tonight. "At times D'Andra and Philly were not reacting fast enough to their quick-set, but they're going to have to do a much better job Tuesday," Eagles' coach Becky Granado said.

Granado said "Hereford has seven strong hitters," and were led in their most recent win by Tori Walker, who had seven kills and three blocks in a victory over last place Amarillo Caprock. Michelle Bernhardt had five kills for the Whitefaces, who have won the last two post-season meetings between the teams, in 1991 and 1992.

"When we saw them early in the season, you could tell they're beatable. It's just that if you're going to beat them you're going to have to be on top of your game," Granado said. "We're going to have to really, really play to win."

Hereford's district rival Dumas will be playing 30 miles to the south in Andrews against the Eagles' District 2-4A rival, Clint. The Lions took the district title with a 10-0 record, earning them a first round bye.

Pecos boys first, girls fifth at Big Spring

PECOS, Nov. 2, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagles swimming team wasn't able to come away with a sweep of all 11 events in the boys division of the Big Spring Invitational, they way they did in their first two dual meets of the 1999-2000 season. But they did win all the races in the first half of Saturday's meet, and took first place by 138 points over runner-up Abilene High.

The boys scored 362 points while Pecos' girls placed fifth in their division with a 126 point total, as Monahans took top honors there with 263 points.

"We did real well," said Eagles' coach Terri Morse. "I was real pleased. Most everyone cut their times from the previous meet."

The boys did well enough to get medals from both their `A' and `B' relay squads in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays. The `A' relay teams took first in both the medley and the 400 freestyle relays, while placing second in the 200 free, while the `B' team placed third in the 200 medley and 200 free relays and were sixth in the 400 freestyle.

After the Eagles won the medley, they got firsts from Randall Reynolds in the 200 freestyle, Grant Holland in the 200 individual medley, Kevin Bates in the 50 free and Tye Edwards in the 100 butterfly. Abilene High's Gregor Greiner then beat out Bates in the 100 freestyle, ending Pecos' string of 27 straight first place finishes to start the season.

Reynolds then placed second to Odessa Permian's Jimmy Nieto in the 500 freestyle, but after Pecos placed second to Abilene High in the 200 free relay the Eagles closed the meet with three other first place finishes, from Edwards in the 100 backstroke, Holland in the 100 breaststroke and from the 400 free relay team.

Also winning individual medals were Jason Lopez, second in the 100 breaststroke, and Patrick McChesney, third in the 500 free. He was also fifth in the 200 free while Lopez was eighth in the 100 fly; Cortney Freeman was fifth in both the 50 free and 100 free; Luis Nieto was sixth in the 50 free; Trey Edwards was 12th in the 100 free and 15th in the 200 medley; Clayton Cox was 13th in both the 100 fly and 200 medley; and Leroy Rodriguez was 16th in the 50 free.

Sarah Flores had the best individual finishes for Pecos' girls, placing third in both the 200 medley and the 100 breaststroke. Briar Prewit was fifth in the 200 free, but had to withdraw from the 500 free due to illness; Lauren Wein was seventh in the 200 free and 500free; JoAnn Wein was sixth in the 100 fly and 100 backstroke; Tina Grice was 12th in the 100 fly and 16th in the 200 free: Misty Cason was 14th in the 100 fly and 30th in the 50 free; Rachelle Eisenberg placed eighth in the 100 breaststroke and 13th in the 100 free; and Ashley Carrasco was 14th in the 200 medley and 15th in the 100 breaststroke.

The girls also picked up bronze medals for their third place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, while the Eagles' lone `B' relay finished 11th in that event. Earlier, the `A' 200 free relay also was 11th, while the 200 medley relay team finished fourth.

Abilene High was second to Monahans in the girls division with 196 points, while Abilene Cooper (159) and Abilene Wylie (134) were the other teams to place ahead of the Eagles. Pecos beat out District 4-4A rival Big Spring by one point for fifth place in the 13-team meet. In the boys division, trailing Pecos and Abilene were Andrews (194 points), Monahans (137), Big Spring (133) and Odessa Permian (131).

Morse said she still has a few swimmers out right now, but hopes to have a full team on Nov. 13, when the Eagles host the annual Pecos Invitational. She said this Saturday the younger age-group swimmers will be having their own early-season meet at the Pecos High School pool.

Rider's rough on Eagles at regional

PECOS, Nov., 2, 1999 -- The regional results weren't any different for the Pecos Eagles tennis team this past weekend, going in as District 2-4A runner-up, then they were last season as district champion.

Pecos ended up with a first round matchup against tournament host Wichita Falls Rider, and the top-seeded Raiders posted an 18-0 victory over the Eagles. Last year, Rider was seeded No. 2 and defeated Pecos in the opening round, on the way to a berth in the Class 4A state tournament.

The Eagles ended up on Friday in the consolation bracket of the tournament, where the Burleson Elks beat them by a 17-2 final score.

"They said we had a real young team with a lot of desire to play," said coach Bernadette Ornelas, who has only two seniors on this year's squad. "The kids got a taste for regionals and want to go again next year, no matter what district we're in."

Rebecca Wein and Tiffany Jarrett picked up Pecos' wins in the tournament. Wein beat Kristina Narumila, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 4 girls singles, and Jarrett downed Brandy McDaniel, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5 singles.

After that, the closest loss for Pecos was a 7-5, 7-5 defeat Precilla Levario suffered at the hands of Burleson's Brandy Hargrove. On the boys' side, the closest match was a pro-set 8-5 loss by Ben Hernandez to Kenny Adams, after the match had been decided.

Against top-ranked Rider, the Eagles had troubles. Hernandez was the only boy to win a game in singles, dropping a 6-1, 6-0 decision to Jared King, while in mixed doubles Anthony Casillias and Sarah Metler fell by 6-0, 6-1 scores to the Raiders' Adam Lunn and Kellye O'Connor. The closest match overall was a 6-2, 6-2 loss by Vanessa Miranda and Rachel Pharoah to Riders' McCormick and Baker.

With no returning boys from last year's district championship squad, Pecos was just able to squeeze out a win over Fabens in the District 2-4A Tournament to earn the right to advance to regionals along with Clint, which also was eliminated in the first round of the regional tournament. Ornelas said she expects to have all her players back this spring, when individual tennis competition is held.

Pecos' playoff possibilities puzzling

PECOS, Nov. 2, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagles' football team is playoff bound no matter what happens in their final regular season game this Friday at San Elizario. But where they're bound for and who they'll face in the bi-district round of the Class 4A playoffs is still a wide open question.

Of the eight teams in District 1-4A and 2-4A still in the playoff chase, no one is more unsure of who they'll play than the Eagles. Pecos can clinch a share of the district title by beating San Eli, but three other games _ Clint at El Paso Mountain View, El Paso Ysleta at El Paso Riverside and El Paso Parkland at El Paso Burges _ will have a bigger bearing on who the Division I (big school) and Division II (small school) Class 4A representatives are.

Pecos will be the Division I representative from District 2-4A if Clint beats Mountain View, while Mountain View will go into Division I if they defeat the Lions. The Division I team will face either El Paso Ysleta or El Paso Riverside in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

Pecos could also face Riverside, El Paso Parkland or El Paso Burges in the Division II playoffs, depending both on how they do against San Elizario and the results of the other three games. Parkland routed Riverside last week, 62-14, to clinch a playoff spot, and leads District 1-4A with a 4-0 record, while Riverside and Ysleta are 3-1 and Burges, the team Pecos faced last year in the playoffs, is 2-2.

Although the Eagles had to travel to El Paso for their playoff game last season, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD athletic director Bubba Williams said there's no guarantee the game won't be back in El Paso again next week.

"We'll just have to see who we play and go from there," Williams said on Saturday.

The only certain things about the playoff picture is neither Clint nor San Elizario will face El Paso Ysleta in the bi-district round while neither Burges nor Parkland will get a post-season rematch with Mountain View. The Lobos handed the Matadors their only loss so far in 1999, by a 17-13 score in Week 2 of the season, and suffered their first loss two weeks later to Burges.

Ysleta and Mountain View are locked into Division I because of their enrollment numbers, while Clint, San Eli, Parkland and Burges can only go as Division II teams.

Cancer blamed for death of Payton at 45

By NANCY ARMOUR
AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO, Nov. 2, 1999 The running back they called "Sweetness" wasn't the strongest or the fastest or the biggest.

What Walter Payton had was a huge heart, and it was big enough to make up for any qualities he lacked.

"I wish there was another word I could think of other than greatness," former Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary said. "That's what comes to mind. Greatness."

Payton, the NFL's leading career rusher, died Monday of bile duct cancer that was discovered earlier this year during treatment for a rare liver disease. He was 45.

Payton rushed for 16,726 yards in his 13-year career, one of sport's most awesome records. Barry Sanders ensured it would be one of the most enduring, too, retiring in July despite being just 1,458 yards shy of breaking the mark.

"I want to set the record so high that the next person who tries for it, it's going to bust his heart," Payton once said.

Payton disclosed in February that he was suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis and needed a liver transplant. His physician, Dr. Greg Gores of the Mayo Clinic, said Payton was subsequently diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct, a vessel that carries digestive fluids from the liver to the small intestine.

"The malignancy was very advanced and progressed very rapidly," Gores said. Because the cancer had spread so rapidly outside his liver, a transplant "was no longer tenable," the doctor said.

Other doctors said transplants are never attempted when a patient has liver cancer.

"It's a big shock because he was the strongest man I met in my entire life," said Jim McMahon, Payton's teammate from 1982-87 and quarterback of the 1985 Super Bowl champions.

Greatness wasn't preordained when Payton arrived in the NFL in 1975. A two-time Little All-American at Jackson State, he drew immediate comparisons to Bears Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers, who'd retired four years earlier.

But Payton steadfastly rejected the comparison, insisting, "I'm no Gale Sayers."

He wasn't. While Sayers danced around defenders, Payton was more apt to run them over. His nickname, "Sweetness," was a tribute to his personality more than his running style. He took on tacklers with an aggressive, stiff-armed style that belied his size.

"He gave me a new respect for running backs," Singletary said. "He was the first running back I had ever seen who could've really been a great defensive player."

At just 5-foot-10 and 202 pounds, he was smaller than typical power running backs. But he played much bigger.

He rushed for 679 yards and seven touchdowns in his rookie season, and the next year had the first of what would be 10 1,000-yard seasons, rushing for 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns.

In 1977, just his third year in the NFL, Payton won the first of two MVP awards with the most productive season of his career. He rushed for 1,852 yards and 14 touchdowns, both career highs. His 5.5 yards per carry also was the best of his career.



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