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Wednesday, September 4, 1996

Eagles have serious problems in defeats

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Staff Writer

PECOS, Sept. 4 - There was laughter echoing out of the locker room
following the Pecos Eagles' volleyball matches Tuesday night against the
Kermit Yellowjackets and Odessa Permian Panthers.

Considering the way the Eagles played, that doesn't bode well for the
team's hopes for the rest of the season.

Not even the new expanded playoff format in Class 4A may be able to get
Pecos back into post-season competition, if the Eagles don't improve on
Tuesday's results, a 16-14, 5-15, 15-6 loss to Kermit, and a 15-8, 15-11
defeat at the hands of the Panthers.

"They don't take it seriously. We can play with anybody if we have our
heads in it, but right now we don't," Eagles' coach Nora Geron said
following the losses. "Our kids don't get themselves prepared for the

Pecos already had beaten Kermit in pool round play at the Cantaloupe
Classic last week, and had played Permian even in a pair of preseason
scrimmages. But at one point Tuesday the Eagles surrendered 18 straight
points -- the final 10 of their match against the Yellowjackets, and the
first eight of their opening game against the Panthers.

Kermit's Yves Barta had a couple of spikes in the Jackets' match-ending
run, while Permian's Katrina Jordan put down several hard spikes in the
later match, But overall, the Eagles hurt themselves as much as anything
Kermit and Permian did.

"People aren't scoring on us. We're giving them everything," Geron said.
"These kids don't understand about giving points away."

Pecos lost 7-4 and 13-10 leads in the opener against Kermit, fell behind
14-13 when Mindy Stansel blocked Lori Marquez, then broke serve and took
a 15-14 lead on a Marquez block of Stansel and a bad spike by the
Jackets' senior.

But Stansel would later tie the game with a block of Sherrie Mosby, and
a pair of bad relay passes by the Eagles allowed the Jackets to win it.

Game 2 was by far the Eagles' best effort of the night. They went on a
10-1 run to break a 3-3 tie, getting three spikes from Marquez, one
apiece from Mosby and Gail Taylor and an ace serve by Ivy Thorp. The
Eagles then raced out to a 5-0 lead in Game 3 when the roof fell in.

Barta had couple of kills in a 5-0 run by Kermit, and after the Eagles
took one last lead at 6-5 on a Taylor tip, Kermit broke serve and tied
the score on a bad hit by Thorp, then saw Barta come up with two more
kills and a block on Taylor during the final run. A bad relay pass by
Annette Marquez and a collision between Marquez and Marisol Arenivas
going after a serve ended things.

Pecos struggled with the serves of Permian's Johanna Fry at the start of
Game 2. She had a pair of aces in the Panthers' 8-0 run, and added
another later to make the score 11-3 before the Eagles staged a late
rally. They cut the margin to 12-8 thanks to some Permian mistakes, an
ace by Taylor and a tip shot from Annette Marquez. But that was as close
as it would get, and Permian finished it off on a pair of bad relays and
an ace by Miriam Cisneros.

Pecos' biggest spark of the second match came on a block by Marquez of a
Jordan spike in Game 2. It tied the score at 8-all, and the Eagles would
go up by 9-8 and 11-10 scores. But a mental error -- this time a faulty
rotation -- let Permian tie it, and kills by Amber Zenger and Jennifer
Brewer helped the Panthers close things out, with match point coming off
another unforced error.

"As long as Lori's on the front line, we're O.K., but when she goes to
the back we just don't have anybody to put the ball on the floor," said
Geron, whose team fell to 3-8 on the season and faces their toughest
challenge of the season on Friday, in pool round play against Greenwood
Alpine and the host Seminole Maidens at the Seminole Tournament.

Pecos' junior varsity split their Tuesday matches, beating Kermit,
15-13, 9-15, 15-7, while falling to Permian, 15-9, 15-2. The Panthers
won both their matches from the Yellowjackets, 13-15, 15-9, 15-7 in
varsity play, and 15-9, 15-2 on the JV level.

Bears claw each other to prepare for opener

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PECOS, Sept. 4 - The Balmorhea Bears found a tough opponent to prepare
for their season-opening game Friday night -- themselves.

The Bears open their 1996 season at home Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
against the Marathon Mustangs, whom they scrimmaged and beat two weeks
ago at home by a 2-0 final score. This past Friday, the Bears went up
against each other in a blue-and-white scrimmage which coach Michael
Barrandey said ended up in a 4-3 final score.

"We had a good scrimmage. We knocked the dog out of each other,"
Barrandey said. "It was pretty physical."

"With our veteran players our expectations are high, but our young guys
also made some plays," he said, citing freshmen Josue Mendoza and Kenon
Roman and sophomore Melcor Avalos.

Junior Debaise Mendoza, who took over much of the offensive load last
season while Junior Dutchover was injured, "looked awesome," Barrandey
said. Mendoza figures to be the Bears' main offensive threat this

"We lost four good seniors, and I was worried about filling those holes,
but our new kids are really playing well," he added.

Balmorhea has 21 players this season, five more than a year ago, while
Friday's opponent, Marathon, has had to fight to field a team the past
several seasons due to declining enrollment at the northeastern Brewster
County school.

With only 34 students last fall, its ranked as the sixth smallest
six-man school in Texas, though small size doesn't always mean a weak
team. The littlest six-man school, Guthrie, was ranked No. 1 in six man
two years ago, when Balmorhea knocked them of 71-70 in the state
quarterfinals, despite an enrollment of only 20 students.

Since picking up again two years ago, the Mustangs have lost all of
their games to the Bears under the 45-point rule, and went winless last
season, with an 0-7 mark, 0-5 in district play. Marathon does return
five of their six starters from a year ago, with the lone opening on
offense at quarterback.

Friday's game is a non-district contest, and the teams will meet again
in October at Marathon to open the 8-A six man portion of the schedule.
Barrandey said he was able to get all his players in during their Aug.
23 scrimmage against Marathon, which also fell to Dell City in a
three-way matchup at Balmorhea. The Bears posted a 1-0 victory over the
Cougars that evening.

Nowhere to go but down?

Cowboys battling age, injuries to remain NFL's top team

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AP Football Writer

It's not just one dismal loss in Chicago on Monday night or Michael
Irvin's suspension. It's not even the latest injury to Emmitt Smith.

It's a simple case of a dynasty that began unraveling after Dallas won
its third Super Bowl in four years last January. It continued through
the Irvin follies of the spring and a 1-4 exhibition season that was
worse than that record.

``I think a lot of people were worried about the way we were going to
perform,'' fullback Daryl Johnston said after Monday night's 22-6 loss
in Chicago.

``And I think we became unraveled because of that.''

That's a bad sign -- unraveling because people expect it.

Still, Monday night's loss could be written of as just one of those
things -- after all, Norv Turner, a former Dallas assistant, beat the
Cowboys twice last year with the 6-10 Redskins. This was another former
Dallas assistant, Dave Wannstedt, at home with at least a decent Chicago

But it was worse than that.

--It was Deion Sanders overworking himself for 108 plays -- 57 as a wide
receiver and 51 as a cornerback. That was desperation even before the
fact and the coaches, Jerry Jones and Barry Switzer, didn't even have
the sense to remove him after the game was clearly out of reach.

--The same could be said of Smith, who had 70 yards in 18 carries and
one drop on a pitchout. He shouldn't even have been in the game to
injure his back on a fake dive near the end zone.

--It was someone named Derrick Ware playing tight end and Troy Aikman
trying to find Johnston as his third-down receiver. The ``Mooooose''
uncharacteristically dropped two and his absence as a blocker compounded
the pressure on Aikman, as on the blitz from cornerback Kevin Miniefield
that jarred the ball loose for Bryan Cox's end-zone recovery.

But most of all, it was this comment from Switzer:

``This is the worst performance we've had in any game -- and the
least-talented team we've had since I started coaching.''

In other words, coach Switzer is saying he's only as good as the talent
coach Jones provides him and, at this point, there's too little of it.
That's Switzer's credo -- when in doubt, blame the talent, or lack

In reality, the Cowboys still have as much talent at the top as anyone
in the NFL -- short, perhaps, of the Packers and Bills. But it's aging
and injured talent. Jay Novacek may be out for the year, the middle of
the offensive line is 34, 36 and 37 years old, and who knows about
Smith. His injury is not supposed to be serious, but unlike hamstrings
or shoulders, you don't try to play through the pain of a back injury
without knowing exactly what's wrong.

Moreover, against the Bears' blitz, even Aikman sometimes seemed lost.

It won't get easier. Before Irvin gets back, the Cowboys get the Giants
and Colts at home, and play at the Bills and Eagles.

Maybe they can win two of those, although nothing's certain -- the
Giants, whom they play this week, almost won in Dallas last year and
almost upset Buffalo in their opener. They blitz a lot, meaning Sanders,
the inexperienced wide receiver, will have to adjust.

They might be underdogs in all the others meaning that by the time Irvin
comes back Oct. 13, they could be 1-4 or even 0-5 (with Green Bay and
San Francisco yet to come).

Remember, this is not 1993, when the Cowboys lost their first two,
including a Monday night opener in Washington, then came back to go 12-4
and win the Super Bowl. Smith was holding out for those first two.

But as Switzer notes (and he wasn't there at the time), this team isn't
as talented. And Smith may not be back for awhile.

``I wish I had the answers,'' Aikman said. ``I wish I could sit here and
tell you what we need to do.''

The answer may be simple:

Dallas is a dynasty past its prime.
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times

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