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August 29, 1996

Eagles eye improved play against Rangers

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Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 29 - The connection may not apply this season, with both a
new coaching staff and system in place, but over the past few years the
Pecos Eagles' final preseason scrimmage against the Greenwood Rangers
has been a pretty good indicator on how the rest of the season was going
to go for the Eagles.
Pecos travels to Midland Greenwood to face the Rangers in freshman,
junior varsity and varsity scrimmages Friday night, after opening at
home a week ago with a 3-0 loss to the Crane Golden Cranes.
New head coach Mike Belew said going into that scrimmage that Pecos had
spent most of its time preparing for their first regular season
opponent, Lamesa on Sept. 6, rather than for the Cranes, and the same
holds true for Friday's matchup.
"We're going to treat it like an expanded workout. Or focus is still on
Lamesa," Belew said Tuesday afternoon. "We'll talk about Greenwood
tomorrow (today) at practice, and start looking at their offense and
defensive schemes, but we've been exclusively working on Lamesa until
"We still want to look good in Greenwood, but our primary focus is going
to be on that first game against Lamesa," he added.
That may make the results of Friday's matchup mean far less than what
they have in recent seasons.
Greenwood has shut out Pecos the past two years, by 3-0 and 2-0 final
scores. The Eagles have then gone on to lose to Lamesa in their season
openers, in 2-8 and 3-7 seasons, while the Rangers went 9-2 and 8-3 the
past two years. Pecos last scrimmage win over Greenwood was three
seasons ago, and they went on to down Lamesa in their season opener
ending the season with a 5-5 mark.
The Rangers are supposed to fight Crane and Sonora for the second
District 4-3A playoff spot behind Colorado City this season. "I talked
to coach (Bob) Purser, and he said their numbers are down, so he just
want to go with his number ones (first team) and number twos, so that's
where our coaches have to do a job, making sure our number threes are
matched against their twos."
As has been the case the past several years, the Eagles and Rangers will
run two series apiece on offense and defense, then finish up under game
"He said they're not going to try and be physical and run it right down
the field. I'd imagine they're going to try and rely on finesse. That's
what the wishbone usually relies on," Belew said.
Greenwood quarterback Casey Otho stepped in last season after returning
starter Josh Jones injured his knee in the season opening scrimmage, and
caused Pecos lots of problems running the wishbone. His brother Michael
takes over that spot this season, and Greenwood also has running back
David Curry returning.
But the Rangers came out of last Friday's scrimmage at Monahans banged
up on the field and on the scoreboard. Several linemen were hurt in a
5-0 loss, as the Loboes put across three touchdowns on offense and
returned two turnovers for scores.
Pecos moved the ball some last week against Crane, but stalled out
around the 20 on two separate occasions. Unlike Crane, which used only
quarterback Mike Henry with the first team, Belew rotated quarterbacks
Eric Aguilar and Jason Abila, and said he'll do that same thing on
The Eagles will get linemen Anthony Lopez and Eric Barreno back from
injuries this week, but linemen Jake Fowler is still a week away from
playing, Belew said, while center Jorge Navarette will probably miss
Friday's scrimmage after getting hurt against Crane. "I guess we're a
little bit healthier. We traded 2-for-1 on injuries," the Eagles' coach
The varsity scrimmage should get underway between 7:45 and 8 p.m., while
the starting times for the junior varsity and freshmen have been
swapped, with the JV going at 5 p.m. and the ninth graders at 6:30 p.m.
"That way the freshmen don't have to get taken out of school early,
because they have next-to-last period athletics and the JV has last
period, so they can leave earlier," Belew said.

Pecos seeking right combo at tourney

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PECOS, Aug. 29 - The Pecos Eagles will be hoping the right combination
falls into place this weekend, when they host the 11th annual Cantaloupe
Classic Volleyball Tournament at the Pecos High School gym.
Freshman play begins this afternoon in the new and old gyms, while the
junior varsity opens Friday in the old gym and the varsity on two courts
in the new building.
The Eagles will take on defending tournament champion Kermit in their
first pool round matchup, starting at 9 a.m. Pecos faces El Paso Bowie
at 12:20 p.m. and wraps up pool round action with a 3:40 p.m. contest
against El Paso Jesus Chapel.
After splitting all of their matches and pool games down the middle last
week to open the season, the Eagles struggled against Snyder and Midland
Lee on Tuesday in Midland to fall to 2-4 on the season. Pecos lost to
the Tigers, 15-5, then were beaten by the Rebels, 15-8, 15-11, though
Eagles' coach Nora Geron said a new lineup did hold off the Rebels for a
while at match point.
Geron said problems handling serves hurt Pecos on Tuesday, and she tried
a couple of different back line setups, as well as using senior Denise
Camarena at setter in the match against Lee.
"Lori (Marquez) has pretty much got a spot on the back line, and Marisol
(Arenivas) is back there," Geron said. "Gail (Taylor) does an excellent
job with service receptions, but she needs to work on her defense some."
Like Pecos, Kermit is struggling in the early going, losing a pair of
matches on Tuesday to Odessa Permian and Fort Stockton, whom they beat
for the Cantaloupe Classic title last season. El Paso Bowie placed
second a week ago at the Monahans Sandhills Tournament, which used a
double-elimination format. The Bears lost a three-set semifinal match to
the Loboes, then came through the loser's bracket and beat Monahans in
two games, before falling 15-10, 15-7 in the championship match.
However, the tournament favorite figures to by Seminole, which failed to
reach the finals in Pecos for the first time in five years last season.
Last weekend, the Maidens finished second to Lubbock Coronado in the
Lubbock Invitational, which included a 15-0, 15-13 whipping of defending
District 4-4A champion Andrews in the quarterfinals. Seminole beat
Lamesa on Tuesday by 15-2, 15-12 scores.
They'll be paired with El Pecos Socorro, Fort Stockton and Presidio in
their pool on Friday. The other two pools match Midland High,
Grandfalls, El Paso Parkland and Midland Greenwood, and El Paso Irvin,
San Elizario, Fort Hancock and Alpine.
The top two finishers in each pool will advance to quarterfinal round
play Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., while consolation round play opens
at 8 a.m. The consolation finals are set for 3:45 p.m., while fifth,
third and first place championship round matches will start at 5, 6:15
and 7:30 p.m.
In the JV division, the Eagles also come in with a 2-4 mark and begin
play at 8 a.m. Friday against Midland Christian. They'll face Alpine at
noon and Fort Stockton at 4 p.m. Midland High, Monahans, Greenwood and
Andrews make up the other pool for Friday's matches in the old gym.
Pecos' two freshman teams started their tournament in both gyms today.
The purple team faced Alpine, Fort Stockton and Crane at 4:30, 5:30 and
6:30 p.m., while the gold team took on Monahans, Greenwood and Andrews
at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Consolation play opens Saturday's action in the JV division and 9 a.m.,
with the tournament title game set for 4 p.m. in the old gym. The times
are the same for the freshmen teams, who'll be over at the Zavala Middle
School gym on Saturday.

Emmitt's back running; Bears Salaam out

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By The Associated Press

Emmitt Smith predicts he'll play Monday night against the Chicago Bears,
while the Bears will have to go without top back Rashaan Salaam, who has
a hamstring injury.

The Dallas Cowboys running back gets to test his tender knee today in
his first practice since Aug. 17.

``I feel very good about my chances Monday night,'' Smith said
Wednesday. ``I'll know for sure in the next couple of days, but I
believe I will be able to play.

``I think they are going to give me the ball as long as I can stand

Since Smith suffered a strained left knee ligament in the second quarter
of a preseason game against Denver, Cowboys coaches have hoped he would
rebound like he always does from injury.

``He's a tough son-of-a-gun,'' running backs coach Joe Brodsky said.
``We always expect him to heal fast. But you always wonder if this is
the one time he won't be able to play.''

Salaam, meanwhile, was deemed unable to go on Monday, after setting the
team rookie rushing record last year with 1,074 yards. He gained 153
yards on 38 carries this preseason, but pulled his right hamstring and
sprained his right knee on the same play during last Thursday's
exhibition finale. ]

``He's wanting to play. But he's still got a little bit of swelling. He
can't go full speed,'' coach Dave Wannstedt said after Salaam could only
jog through Wednesday's practice. ``He'd play if it was up to him, but
that wouldn't be the best thing for the team. We have to be realistic.''

Wannstedt said Salaam's knee was almost healed.

The Bears' coach said he hadn't decided if he would move Raymont Harris
from fullback to tailback, with Tony Carter starting at fullback, or if
Robert Green would start in the backfield with Harris.

``Between Robert and Raymont, they'll be the guys carrying the ball.
We've just got to figure out how we're going to do it and in what order
and the plays, now that we know for sure Rashaan's out,'' Wannstedt

``What makes it tough is that (Salaam) had such an outstanding
preseason, an outstanding training camp, and everything was gearing for
the opener. And he's the guy who's gotten all the reps with the first
unit for six weeks now.''

(Copyright 1996 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times

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