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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Netters blanked in fall opener

The Pecos Eagles tennis team got off to a rough start on Saturday with their fall 2006 season, as they were swept by the Sweetwater Mustangs in a match played at Monahans High School.

Sweetwater downed the Eagles’ varsity by an 18-0 score, and also won several sub-varsity matches Saturday morning. “I was expecting a little bit more from the kids,” said Eagles’ coach Bernadette Ornelas “The top players on the boys side were playing a little bit harder, but the girls were a little too relaxed.

“We’re really young on the girls’ side. I’ve got Priscilla Sotelo, one of our freshman players, at No. 2, while the boys have got some seniors I’m expecting better things out of,” she said.

The closest matches on the boys’ side were in doubles play, where Francisco Ornelas and Curtis James lost to Zachary Gill and Jeff Ludlum, 6-3, 8-6; and Jerris Rayos and Cody Zamarripa lost 7-6, 8-6 to Wade Howard and Christian Hill. The closest match for the girls was a 6-2 8-6 loss by Crystal Ikeler and Hope Mora to Becca Myers and Sidney Bilbo.

The Eagles’ will have another match on Tuesday in Fort Stockton, against the Panthers.

Pecos had been scheduled to play last month in tournament play at Fort Stockton, but that event was cancelled.

Pecos JH girls first at Alpine cross-country

The Pecos Eagles junior high girls picked up team and individual first place finishes on Saturday at the Sul Ross Invitational Cross-Country meet at Alpine, while Pecos had two runners finish in the Top 10 in the high school divisions of the meet.

Kayla Natividad won the junior high girls division with an 11:33.91 time, according to coach Teresa Bigham, while Carissa Cerna was second, with a 12:01.61 time. Sabrina Moya, Toiya Ghant and Annie Cerna placed fifth, sixth and seventh, while Brittany Rayos was 10th and Alexsandra Guerrero was 11th for the Eagles.

The junior high boys had just one runner in Alpine, Zack Rayos, who placed fifth with an 11:28.24 time.

At the high school level the boys had most of the runners, with German Rodriguez coming up with the best finish, a seventh place with a 20:11.16 time. Ray Gonzales was 11th wth a 20:22.23 time, and was followed by Jesse Juarez, 14th with a 20:36.57 time; Gus Mendoza, 15th with a 20:365.60 time; Stephen Apolinar, 18th with a 21:20.03 time and Austin Vernon, 29th wth a 23:58.51 time.

On the girls’ side, Pecos had only two runners in Alpine; Trina Morales, who placed fourth with a 14:48.51 time and Kathryn Lamka, who was 11th with a time of 15:18.29.

The Eagles are off this week, and will have their next race on Sept. 23 in Big Spring.

Pecos subtracts, then adds to win streak

Pecos Eagles’ coach Helen Kimbrough took a pair of matches against Fort Davis two weeks ago off the Eagles’ current victory list. But Pecos did add a win over the Maidens to their current victory streak, as well as their second win of the season over District 2-3A rival Presidio on Saturday, as the Eagles swept a pair of matches on the Blue Devils’ home court. Pecos swept Fort Davis by scored of 25-12, 25-18, 25-20, then defeated Presidio, 25-11, 21-25, 25-17, 25-9. The wins were the 11th and 12th straight for Pecos, after Kimbrough said earlier wins in pool round play at the Pecos Cantaloupe Classic Tournament shouldn’t count on the team’s won-loss record.

The Eagles swept the Maidens twice in pool play, and Kimbrough said, “Fort Davis has improved a lot. You can tell he has a lot of young players, and when they get older, they’re going to be good.

“They did a good job blocking on us, and we had to adjust our hits over the blockers,” she said, adding that the Eagles also had to deal with some health problems during Saturday’s matches.

“My two middle hitters have colds, Adriana (Armendariz) and Jasmine (Rayos), and I hope they get rid of it, because it does affect their play, especially when you’re going 4-5 games,” Kimbrough said. “Jasmine was off this weekend, but she did a good job defensively.

“The one that picked us up was Brittany (Rodriguez). She had a lot of key hits to spark us,” the Eagles ‘coach said. “This time I let Brittany play all around against Presidio, and she played good defense.”

“They’ve got some good hitters, but we blocked them and we kept playing,” she said. “The one we lost 25-21 we missed serves, and we can’t miss serves against a team like that.”

Kimbrough said Gabby Garcia also played well on the front line. “Cheyenne (Carrasco) had to go in for Adrianna and she had some key blocks,” she said, while Jenny Palomino and Amalie Herrera played well on the back line.

“That’s the reason why we’re winning. Everybody is contributing to win,” she said. “I’ve got 11 kids and when they go in they produce.”

The wins put the Eagles at 13-4 on the season going into a pair of matches on Tuesday in Crane, against the Golden Cranes and McCamey Badgers. Crane defeated McCamey and then beat Greenwood in three games on Saturday to win the championship of their own tournament.

Pecos’ JV placed second on Saturday in the finals of the Fort Stockton Tournament. The JV and freshman teams will also play on Tuesday against the Cranes and Badgers.

Mustangs corral Eagles in second half

The Pecos Eagles and Andrews Mustangs both suffered through a series of self-inflicted wounds in the first half of Friday night’s game at Eagle Stadium. But while the Mustangs pretty much eliminated their problems at halftime, the Eagles’ special teams problems remained, and it helped the Mustangs break open a close contest and go on to a 35-10 victory.

The Eagles failed to get any of their first three punt attempts off the ground, which led to two Mustang touchdowns. The first helped Andrews take a 7-0 lead, while the last allowed Andrews to score their second TD of the third quarter, after Andrews had marched 65 yards with the second half kickoff to take a 21-10 lead.

“It seems like we had first game jitters in our second game,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “Our special teams really hurt us.”

Aside from the 14 point swing it gave Andrews, the bad punts played havoc with the rushing totals of Pecos’ Luis Ortega. After running for 267 yards in the Eagles’ season opener against Alpine, Ortega actually gained 173 yards Friday night, but lost 30 of that after being tackled 15 yards behind the line after the first botched punt, then going down to his knee to field a low punt snap in the third quarter. Ortega was whistled down at the Pecos 14-yard-line, and the Mustangs would score three plays later, on quarterback Fernando Guevara’s third touchdown of the night.

Despite the three TDs rushing, Guevara hurt the Eagles more through the air, going 10-for-16 for 175 yards and a touchdown. That came after Pecos’ first failed punt, when on a 3rd-and-10 play at the 36, he found Oscar Moralez on a screen pass over the middle, and Moralez was able to get through the Eagles’ secondary for a score.

“We knew coming into the game he was the one we had to stop,” Henson said of Guevara. “But we didn’t do a very good job of stopping him. He’s a great athlete and he made plays for them.”

Pecos would take the ensuing kickoff and march from their own 30 to the Mustangs’ 1-yard-line, with the big plays being runs of 28- and 19-yards by Ortega. The latter set Pecos up with a 1st-and-goal at the five, but after three plays netted the Eagles four yards, Pecos was called for illegal motion on fourth down, and had to settle for Timo Reyes’ 24-yard field goal just before the end of the first quarter.

Andrews threatened to up their lead early in the second period, driving inside the Eagles’ 20. But a first down run by Guevara was nullified by a holding call, and he missed on a fourth down pass to Cory Lee, giving the ball back to Pecos.

That only lasted three plays, as Lee would pick off a pass by Paul Zubeldia at the Andrews 45. The Mustangs then overcame a holding call on a 26-yard pass to Moralez when Guevara connected with Eddie Bueno for a 27-yard completion, but on the next play Morales would fumble, with Hector Ramirez recovering at the Pecos 28.

This time it was the Eagles’ turn to overcome a holding penalty, this one a play after Pecos picked up a first down on a reverse by Jeremy Martinez. Ortega got through the right side of the line and into the secondary, then put a fake on Lee near the 25 yard line and was able to make it the rest of the way into the end zone to give Pecos the lead with 5:11 left in the half.

Andrews would come back on their next series to score with 1:40 left before halftime on a two-yard run by Guevara to cap an 80-yard drive. The key plays were a 38-yard pass from Guevara to Buena and a personal foul call for a facemask against the Eagles on an eight-yard run by the quarterback, after he had been sacked by Jesse Hanks on the previous play for a seven yard loss.

Lee then helped the Eagles out on the second bad punt play, intercepting a desperation pass by Ortega at the Pecos 42, a play that cost the Mustangs 12 yards just prior to halftime. But he and Guevara would connect on 19- and 28-yard completions on the opening series of the third period, to set up a three-yard scoring run by Guevara.

Ortega ran for 144 yards in the first half, including the lost 15 yards on the bad punt, but was held to just 14 yards rushing - and minus-1 yard including the lost yardage on the third bad punt, while the Eagles could manage just 20 yards passing in the final two periods.

Mustangs’ senior lineman Stacey Mendoza was the Eagles’ main problem up front, coming away with a number of tackles and pressures on Zubeldia.

“Part of our offense is we don’t block the back side end,” Henson said. “But he’s a good player and stepped up on the back side and we couldn’t run away from him, and then we couldn’t run at him.”

Andrews’ final score came midway through the fourth period, on a 4-yard run by Moralez, who finished with 101 yards rushing on the night. It came after Pecos turned the ball over on downs at their own 45-yard-line after a pair of missed connections between Zubeldia and Martinez, who had two of the Eagles’ five receptions on the night.

“We’re still young and learning this program, and we’ll get there,” Henson said. “The kids are keeping their heads up, and there was a lot of talk in the locker room about practicing harder.”

Pecos did suffer on injury during the game, to center Ruben Salgado, who had surgery Saturday on a broke hand. “It’s not on his snapping hand, so that’s good,” Henson said. The loss evened Pecos’ season record at 1-1 while Andrews also is 1-1 on the year. Pecos has now dropped 10 straight games at home over the past two seasons, a streak that began in 2004 against Kermit, the team the Eagles host this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. The Jackets were the only team Pecos beat in 2005, winning by a 7-0 score, and are 0-2 so far in 2006, after losing in overtime to Lamesa by a 19-13 score.

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