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But Eagles' coach Nora Geron said, "We still have two more weeks to get
ready (for district play), and if we keep improving at the rate we are,
we're going to be OK."
The up-and-down nature of the Eagles was clear even before Saturday's
second day of play began in the 11th Annual Cantaloupe Classic
After opening pool round play with a sweep of defending tournament
champion (and this year's consolation winner) Kermit, the Eagles then
split a pair of games against this year's tournament winner, El Paso
Bowie, and followed that up by splitting two more games against El Paso
Jesus Chapel, who were ousted by Fort Hancock Saturday in the
The Eagles, meanwhile, opened play in the championship bracket by
sweeping the Alpine Bucks, a team they had split a pair of long matches
against the opening week of the season, by 15-10, 15-5 final scores.
They then rallied to take a late lead in the opening game of their
semifinal match against the Greenwood Rangers, but couldn't finish it
off and wound up on the short end of a 16-14, 15-10 final score.
That sent them into the third place match against Midland High, where a
problem they had against Alpine - premature celebration - turned the
match around and allowed the Bulldogs to score a 15-13, 15-10 victory.
"We're playing better," Geron said following the tournament's title
game, won by Bowie, 15-13, 15-1 over Greenwood. "I've seen a lot of
improvement here and there. We still have some ways to go, but we're
Pecos controlled play for almost their entire match against the Bucks.
They led the opening match 10-4 when they began celebrating an apparent
ace serve and missed seeing a diving Adrienne Reyes knock it back over
the net to break serve. The Bucks then cut the lead to 10-8 before the
Eagles regained their composure and held on for the win.
Alpine led only once in the second game, at 1-0, and a 10-0 run turned a
3-3 tie into a 13-3 Pecos lead. Lori Marquez had a pair of spikes and
one dink over Alpine's blockers for points in the run, and the Eagles
also got kills out of Shirhonda Bell and Ivy Thorp during the streak.
Pecos' other early celebration, against Midland High, was more costly.
This time, Brianne Elkins was able to return a Marquez spike the Eagles
thought would hit the floor, after the Bulldogs had served with Game 1
tied at 13-all. Heidi Lange followed that up by knocking down an overset
by the Eagles to end the game, and Midland went on to outscore Pecos
13-3 to open Game 2 before the Eagles settled down.
After putting two spikes into the net during the bad streak, Taylor had
two kills to open a seven-point streak by the Eagles that made it 13-10.
Midland High finally broke serve and made it 14-10, and then after a
Taylor block of a Christy Trautman spike, the Bulldogs finally closed
things out off a bad relay by the Eagles.
"One our service reception, we've got one rotation that's giving us trouble right now. We need to work on that, but we're passing the ball (to the setter) better than we
have," said Geron.
The Eagles were outsized by Greenwood in the semifinal match, as they
struggled to contain 6-foot junior Karen Gousch, who was named the
tournament's Most Valuable Player. But they rallied in Game 1 to take a
14-2 lead on kills by Gail Taylor and LaCrisha Molinar, only to see
their serving fail them at match point.
Pecos put two serves into the net and one over the back line down the
stretch, while Greenwood mixed an ace serve by Katy Walker amid some
problems of their own to rally for the victory.
Game 2 saw the Rangers take a 5-1 lead before Pecos came back, getting
their lone lead at 9-8 off an ace by Thorp. But a spike by Shiloh
O'Donnell put the Rangers ahead to stay at 11-10, and four straight
errors by the Eagles gave Greenwood their match-ending points.
In addition to Bowie's win in the title game and Midland's third place
victory over Pecos, Kermit got the consolation trophy with a 15-4, 17-15
win over Fort Hancock, and El Paso Irvin took fifth place over Seminole,
15-7, 12-15, 15-7.
Marquez was the lone Eagle named to the All-Tournament team. Bowie's
Rocia Arana and Anna Benitez were named outstanding setter and hitter
respectively, while Alpine's Reyes was chosen outstanding defensive
player. Bowie also placed Yoli Delgado on the all-tournament team, while
the others chosen included Midland's Elkins, Fort Stockton's Angela
Granado, Fort Hancock's JoAnna Rogers, Mindy Stansel of Kermit, Kayla
Eady of Seminole and Vanessa Smith of El Paso Irvin.
In the junior varsity division, Fort Stockton took the tournament title
with a pair of 16-14 victories over Monahans. Pecos' JV went 2-4 in pool
round play Friday, beating Midland Christian and losing to Alpine and
Fort Stockton. The Eagles then lost to Andrews in the consolation
semifinals, 11-15, 15-10, 15-8, before beating Midland Christian again,
Andrews won the freshman title, 8-15, 15-7, 15-10 over Greenwood, while
Pecos' freshman teams lost their only Saturday matches - the purple team
15-7, 15-9 to Monahans and the gold team 15-3, 15-9 to Alpine.
Pecos' varsity, now 3-6 on the season, will remain at home today, along
with the JV and freshman squads, for a pair of matches against Kermit
and Odessa Permian, at 4:30 and 7 p.m., Before going to their final
tournament of the season, this Friday at Seminole. Permian comes off a
fifth place finish this past weekend at the Denver City Tournament,
beating the host Mustangs and Brownfield after a quarterfinal loss to
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The Eagles were outscored, 2-1, by the Rangers, as both teams put across
a touchdown in their two 20-play series, while the Rangers' had the only
score on the night under 12-minute game conditions.
"You don't lose or win scrimmages," Eagles' coach Mike Belew said
following the end of play on Friday, "We're not worried about beating
Greenwood. If we were we would have drawn up a game plan for them. We're
worried about beating Lamesa (Pecos' season-opening opponent on Friday)."
"We made some positive strides tonight, and if we continue to get better
each time out, we'll be able to accomplish our goals, and I feel we have
the capability of making the playoffs and even winning district," he
The Eagles put together two long drives on their two 20-play series, as
did the Rangers, with both scoring on their second attempts after
driving inside the 5 the first time around.
Richard Gutierrez had a strong first series running the ball up the
middle, with 17- and 10-yard gains on Pecos' initial drive. Quarterback
Eric Aguilar also hit Nufie Flores for a 17-yard completion, and the
Eagles also gave their early-season opponents something to think about
on the play that ended the series, a 4th-and-inches call at the 4.
Instead of going for a dive up the middle - the play quarterback Jason
Abila would score on later - Abila lofted a pass to Flores in the corner
of the end zone. The Eagles' receiver was dragged down on the play and
interference was called, but since penalties were not assessed during
the first two series, the ball went back to the Pecos 30.
Greenwood's drive on their first series also ended at the 4, with Abila
recovering a fumble by the Rangers. Pecos' biggest problems came trying
to contain quarterback Michael Otho and running back David Curry on the
option. The pair worked it for a 25-yard gain on the Rangers' second
offensive play, but Otho's deep pass on the next play was intercepted by
Both teams would score on their second series after opening with
turnovers. The Rangers recovered a bad pitch out to stop the Eagles'
opening drive before Pecos took the ball down on their third try for a
score. Ray Parada, Mark Abila and Jason Abila all had first down runs on
the series, while the score was set up by a 17-yard pass from Jason
Abila to tight end Chris Matta, who found a seam over the middle and
took the ball to Greenwood's two.
Jason Aguilar picked off a Ranger pass on the second series, before
Greenwood got going, converting three third down plays before putting it
over from three yards out.
In the 12-minute quarter, the Eagles were stopped inches short on their
first series and picked up just one first down after that, while Otho
and Curry again found running room to the outside. Curry took a pitch
for 23 yards along with right sideline on the scoring drive, while Otho
went the other way for the final 27, bouncing off five Eagle tacklers
along the way.
"At times we had some breakdowns, and we're going to work on correcting
those," said Belew, whose team will face a similar type of offense in
Lamesa on Friday.
"They're going to run it (the option) out of the I-formation," Belew
said. "The first thing Saturday morning, as soon as we start looking at
the scrimmage film, we'll start looking at Lamesa and breaking down
The Eagles had two injuries during the scrimmage, as senior Arnulfo
Granado re-aggravated the ankle he injured in practice two weeks ago,
while linebacker Joseph Strain got a helmet in the neck trying to tackle
Otho during the 12-minute quarter. However, trainer Joel Birch said
neither injury appeared serious.
Pecos came out on top in the other two scrimmages Friday. The junior
varsity blanked Greenwood, 2-0, while the split freshman squad outscored
the Rangers by a 4-1 margin. The rest of the Eagles' ninth grade team
tied Alpine, 1-1, in a Thursday scrimmage in Pecos.
The JV got a six-yard TD run from Sergio Zembrano on their first 20-play
series and a 64-yarder from Lucio Flores on their second. The freshman
gave up a scoring drive to the Rangers to start their scrimmage, then
scored twice on each of their two series.
Len Carson had a 10 yard run and Jomar Gallego and Jason Payne hooked up
on a 42-yard TD pass on the first series, while Jacob Esparza scored
from 67-yards out and Gallego threw to Hector Rodriguez for a 70-yard
score on the second series.
Both those teams also open their seasons later this week against Lamesa.
The JV hosts the Tornadoes on Thursday, while the ninth graders play in
Lamesa that night. The varsity opens their 1996 season on the Tors' home
field on Friday, starting at 8 p.m.
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PECOS, Sept. 3 - Parents and other Pecos Eagle football fans planning to
make the trip to Lamesa on either Thursday or Friday for Pecos' freshman
and varsity season-opening games are advised to avoid using Texas 115
through Kermit and Andrews.
Construction crews on Texas 115 about 20 miles southwest of Lamesa have
stripped the asphalt from the road and left only a dirt surface, which
could become impassable under rainy or wet conditions. Those going to
Lamesa should take Interstate 20 to Midland, and from there Texas 349
north to Lamesa.
Pecos' freshman team opens its 1996 season with a Thursday night game
in Lamesa, while the varsity begins play there on Friday. The Eagles'
junior varsity hosts Lamesa on Thursday in their season opener.
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But losing a game is one thing; losing Emmitt Smith would be quite
another for the Cowboys. Smith, who recently signed a $48 million
contract, was carted off the field in the closing minutes of a 22-6 loss
Monday night to the Chicago Bears.
The Cowboys, already without suspended Michael Irvin and injured Jay
Novacek, watched in silence as did most of the 63,076 fans at Soldier
Field, who eventually offered polite applause.
``I'm praying for him,'' said teammate Deion Sanders, who became the
NFL's first two-way starter since Chuck Bednarik in the early 1960s.
Smith spent the night in a Chicago hospital, and team physician Dr.
Robert Vandermeer said early today he is ``fairly positive'' Smith will
not be able to play next Sunday against the New York Giants.
Vandermeer said it was possible, pending further tests, that Smith might
be able to play in two weeks.
Smith, a four-time NFL rushing champion, was hurt with less than four
minutes left Monday night when he carried out a fake, dived in the air
and appeared to land on his shoulder.
The extent of the injury was not immediately known. Smith had pain up
and down his back, but had movement in all his extremities, the team
Precautionary X-rays were negative and Smith was admitted to
Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
But Dallas' offense was struggling, even with Smith. They Cowboys were
kept out of the end zone for the first time since a 1991 playoff loss to
Sanders, playing wide receiver and cornerback, was in on more than 100
plays but said he was not tired after the game. He did, however, fumble
after one reception to set up a field goal for the Bears.
Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman, meanwhile, also lost the ball after a
hit by Kevin Miniefield. Bryan Cox, in his Bears' regular-season debut,
made his second recovery of the game, this one for his first NFL
``I knew we were going to struggle losing guys like Michael Irvin and
Jay Novacek,'' said Aikman, who completed 21 of 37 for 192 yards. ``We
got to zero in better on things we've done in the past. We got to figure
out what we're going to do.''
Smith, who started despite a sore knee, gained 70 yards on 18 carries
before he was injured with less than four minutes remaining. Dallas was
plagued by nine penalties and several instances when it lined up in the
wrong formations and had to use timeouts.
They didn't look like the team that had been so happy last January in
``We did a good job stopping Emmitt,'' said Cox, the outspoken and
sometimes controversial player who spent his first five seasons in
Miami. ``We didn't allow Emmitt to bust through to have a big game. We
kept our composure and we controlled Troy Aikman and the passing.''
The Bears used some chicanery on offense to build a 10-3 lead. Raymont
Harris caught a 33-yard scoring pass from wide receiver Curtis Conway on
an end-around in the second quarter.
And with the half winding down, punter Todd Sauerbrun stunned the
Cowboys by lofting a pass to a wide-open Harris, who went 47 yards to
set up the first of three field goals by rookie Carlos Huerta.
The Bears, bubbling for the opportunity to play the Super Bowl champions
on Monday night with the nation watching, had been working on the plays
all week. They were confident they would work, and just as confident
they could play with the Cowboys.
``I don't want to sound arrogant or cocky but all through the week we
felt we had the type of team that if we went out and did our thing that
we could win,'' said Harris, who broke his collarbone in the opener last
year and missed the rest of the season.
``We knew they were Super Bowl champs with all the superstars and all
the commercials and things of that sort. We have good players and we
weren't intimidated at all,'' he added.
``I expected an ugly game,'' Dallas coach Barry Switzer said, ``but I
didn't expect it to be so damn ugly and to lose it that way. We will not
beat anyone if we continue to play the way we did mentally - missed
formations, missed alignments, using up our timeouts, penalties,
turnovers, dropped passes.''
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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