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Wednesday, November 27, 1996

Eagles face Permian in tournament opener

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PECOS, Nov. 27 -- After opening their season against a quartet of Class
3A teams, the Pecos Eagles take two steps up in classification Friday
afternoon, when they open play in the Odessa Thanksgiving Hoopfest at
the Odessa High School gym.

The Eagles will face OHS' crosstown rival Permian in the opening game of
the eight-team tournament, set for a 12 noon start. The winner will take
on the winner between El Paso Andress and Odessa High's junior varsity,
on Saturday morning at 10:45 a.m., while the losers will play again on
Friday, at 5 p.m. in the consolation semifinals.

Hereford, the only other non-Class 5A school in the tournament, meets
Arlington Lamar and El Paso Austin faces the host Bronchos in Friday's
other opening round matchups.

The Eagles come into Friday's tournament with a 3-1 record on the
season, with the latest coming on Monday in Alpine, by a 62-59 score in
overtime. Pecos held a 39-26 halftime lead, but cold shooting and foul
problems in the second half allowed the Bucks to rally and tie the game
at the end of regulation.

Eric Abila's 3-point jumper in the extra period put Pecos ahead to stay,
and he led the Eagles with 16 points, while Omar Hinojos, Fabien Adame
and Fernando Navarrete also finished in double-figures

Permian enters the tournament with a 3-2 mark, after losing at home on
Tuesday to Lubbock High by a 65-62 final score. Like the Eagles, the
Panthers also saw a large lead disappear, but were unable to overcome 24
points from the foul line by the Westerners. Joavont Green was the lone
Permian player in double-figures, finishing with 18.

Pecos' JV and freshman boys teams have the holiday weekend off. Pecos'
girls, who have been idle since Nov. 19, will be back in action at home
Saturday afternoon against Midland High.

Smith expected to start against 'Skins

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IRVING, Texas, Nov. 27 (AP) -- Emmitt Smith says there is always a first
time for everything.

Being benched with a game on the line like he was Sunday was certainly a
first for him since his high school, college and professional days.

Smith has a sore right ankle and his performance has been limited.

Smith could start in the Thanksgiving Day game against the Washington
Redskins despite a gimpy right ankle. But Dallas Cowboys coaches could
put Sherman Williams or Herschel Walker into the game if Smith doesn't

``Emmitt doesn't have the quickness he's had in the past,'' coach Barry
Switzer said Tuesday. ``We could use both Sherman and Herschel.''

Smith gained only 18 yards in 11 carries in the Cowboys' 20-6 loss to
the New York Giants last Sunday. He has a sore ankle, but an MRI test
was negative.

``If Emmitt is healthy enough on Thursday he will start,'' said running
back coach Joe Brodsky. ``This man has a lot of pride. He plays hurt all
the time without telling anybody. ''

Smith was benched in the fourth quarter of the Giants loss in favor of
the quicker Williams, who is not as good a blocker and has trouble
running the correct pass route.

Williams has rushed 34 times for 160 yards this year. His average of 4.7
is exactly a yard better than Smith's 3.7 on 244 carries for 894 yards.

``I'm ready if Emmitt can't be ready,'' Williams said. ``I hope I can
give the team a little spark when I get in there. ''

Walker has run four times for 12 yards. However, he is a better receiver
out of the backfield and blocks better than Williams.

Switzer said both Williams and Walker could be used early against the
Redskins in an effort to kick-start an offense that hasn't scored a
touchdown in 24 consecutive possessions over eight quarters.

Clearly unhappy at being benched, Smith hasn't spoken to reporters since
the Giants game.

But Dallas coaches maintain Smith needs rest.

``We want to give him a breather every now and then so he can play
another five years,'' Brodsky said. ``But he can be stubborn.''

Smith, who has led the NFL in rushing four times, has said he doesn't
object to be given some brief relief. But he wants to be in there in the
fourth quarter when the game is being decided.

``Maybe we can give him some rest in the second or third quarters so he
can be ready for the fourth,'' Brodsky said. ``I know this: He's a
competitor. He wants to be there when the game is on the line no matter
how much he's hurt.''

How much Smith will play will be determined at game time on Thursday
when the Cowboys, 7-5 in the NFC East, take on the division-leading
Redskins (8-4).

Redskins coach Norv Turner, a former Dallas offensive coordinator, said
Smith looks fine to him.

``He looks the same to me in the game films,'' Turner said. ``I saw
Emmitt burst out of there for a 25-yard run against Green Bay, and it
looked like Emmitt Smith to me.''

(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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