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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pecos finishes 2nd to Cranes in tournament

The Pecos Eagles’ volleyball team is “not doing too bad, but we can do a whole lot better,” according to coach Helen Kimbrough, after her team placed second on Saturday at the Sul Ross Volleyball Tournament in Alpine.

The Eagles lost for the second time in five days to the Crane Golden Cranes, who remained unbeaten on the season with a 28-26, 25-22 win over the Eagles in the championship game. Pecos advanced to the finals with a 25-13, 25-16 win over Presidio earlier in the day, after winning the Silver Bracket of the tournament on Friday with a 25-17, 22-25, 25-14 win over the host Bucks.

“We did OK. We just didn’t execute defensively the way I want,” Kimbrough said. “Offensively, we were OK, but we just didn’t cover their dinks.”

She said she made several lineup changes during the tournament, and the Eagles did well at times, but still had some problems with the different rotations.

“When you do that, sometimes the other girls don’t know who they’re with,” she said, adding that Pecos set the ball to the wrong player a couple of times during the final against the Cranes. “My setters have got to run the show. They’ve got to know who they’re with on the court.”

She said Pecos started slow in the morning on Saturday against Sierra Blanca, winning 25-15 before scoring a 25-8 victory, which put them into the semifinals against Presidio. On Friday, Pecos started fast against Marathon, with a 25-5 win, then struggled a little in Game 2 before beating the Mustangs, 25-20. The Eagles then scored their fourth win in five matches against Van Horn in the Silver Bracket semifinals, taking the match by 25-11, 25-12 scores to advance to the finals against Alpine.

The 5-1 weekend improved the Eagles to 18-6 on the year, and 15-2 in since the first week of the season, with the only losses coming against Crane. Pecos will be back on the road on Tuesday with a trip to Fort Stockton for a non-district match against the Panthers. The Eagles open District 1-3A play in two weeks at Fort Stockton, while facing Kermit in-between, in their final pre-district contest.

Pecos’ junior varsity and freshman teams were off this weekend, but Pecos’ junior high teams hosted their own tournament, with the seventh and eighth grade purple teams winning first place in their divisions.

The eighth graders won the title match by a 25-16, 25-15 win over Crane, while the seventh grade team defeated Odessa Bowie to win their division, 25-18, 25-14.

Eagles air attack bombs Jackets, ends home loss streak

Having the Pecos Eagles gain over 200 yards rushing in a game, or even having Luis Ortega do that by himself, isn’t all that unusual. But having a quarterback throw for over 200 yards in game definitely is.

Ortega had his second 200-plus yard rushing game of the season and went over 600 yards rushing for the first three games of the season on Friday night against the Kermit Yellowjackets. But the senior really didn’t get going until Eagles’ quarterback Paul Zubeldia started finding his receiving targets, and after throwing for less than 60 yards in Pecos’ first two games, the sophomore had a 204-yard passing night, while Jesse Hanks and Lucas Macha hooked up on a 13-yard touchdown pass off a fake field goal attempt to cap off the Eagles’ 30-10 victory over the Jackets.

“We had game-planned to throw the ball, because we expected them to put eight or nine men in the box,’ said Eagles’ head coach Chris Henson. “The first 10 plays we scripted we had four pass plays, but we came out a little flat.”

Pecos ended up with 476 yards in total offense, though after the first quarter, it looked as if the Eagles might have a hard time breaking the 200-yard mark. Ortega was held to just 12 yards on his first six carries, while Zubeldia was high with his first two throws, leading to punts by Pecos on their first two series.

“They came out in a defense we had never seen,” Henson said. “They came out in a 5-0 stack and then moved up the secondary except for their safety, so they had 10 in the box.” Defensively, the Eagles were able to survive their first lost fumble of the season, when Xavier Tersero muffed a punt that Kermit’s Zach Owen recovered at the Pecos 32. The Eagles stopped Kermit on downs, but on the next series the Jackets drove from near midfield to deep in Eagle territory.

An 18-yard run by Matt Wagner and a 15-yard pass from Austin Grubbs to Dewane McDaniel set up what appeared to be a 10-yard touchdown pass from Grubbs to Andy Berzoza. But Kermit was flagged for an illegal man downfield and had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Nolan Mills.

The Eagles finally got their offense going on the first play of the second quarter, when Henson elected to go for a first down on a 4th-and-2 from Pecos’ 38-yard line. Ortega went up the middle for 10 yards, and then after an illegal block set the Eagles back 15 yards, Zubeldia hit Jeremy Martinez across the middle for an 11-yard gain, and on 3rd-and-9 just floated a screen pass over the fingers of defender Taylor Gainey to Hector Ramirez, who took it 13 yards for a first down.

“My heart sank when I saw that pass go, because a saw their kid break on it,” Henson said. “But Pal did a great job. He has to stay in the pocket more, but he’s getting more confident each week.”

Pecos was then hit with another big penalty, but overcame that when Ortega ran for 25 yards on a draw to the Kermit 19. He would get around the right end for another 11 yards two plays later, and then went up the middle for the final yard to put the Eagles in front.

Kermit would come right back, on a 28-yard pass play from Grubbs to McDaniel and runs by Wagner to drive inside Pecos’ 10-yard line. A run by Grubbs would eventually get the Jackets to a 4th-and-goal at the 1, but Aaron Urias was able to knock Jonathan Mendoza out of bounds as he attempted to go around right end and into the end zone, and the Eagles took over at their own 2-yard-line with just over three minutes left in the half.

The game wouldn’t reach halftime for over an hour, and after both teams would add touchdowns. Ortega got the Eagles out from near the goal line with runs of 13 and seven yards, and Zubeldia then found Tersero coming across the middle, and he would go 57 yards down to the Kermit 21. Ortega then went for 11 yards and after he was stopped for a loss at the 10, Zubeldia connected with Martinez on a slant pass over the middle for Pecos’ first passing TD of the season with 1:06 left in the half.

“Our kids are working so hard in practice catching the football. We probably throw them 200 passes a day in practice, and their routes are getting better and better each week,” Henson said.

Timo Reyes would add the extra point, but before the Eagles could kick off, a thunderstorm caused a 50-minute delay in the game. When things finally resumed, Kermit got as break, as Grubbs underthrew a pass to McDaniel, but it went through Reyes’ hands and off his shoulder pad to the receiver, who raced into the end zone for a 47-yard score 14.9 seconds before halftime.

“The big thing was the kids didn’t lay down. I wanted to see how we reacted, and we didn’t get out heads down,” Henson said, after the teams elected to skip the regular halftime break due to the rain delay, which meant Kermit had the ball again moments after their score to begin the third quarter.

Wagner was shut down on two carries and Grubbs then overthrew Manuel Pargas, forcing a punt. The Eagles then went back to the air, with Zubeldia and Martinez connecting on a 51-yard pass to the Kermit 1. Ortega scored on the next play to make it a 21-10 game. “I’ve got to give our offensive line credit. I think we wore down their defensive line as t he game went on,” Henson said. “They were very well coached and had a good scheme, but we just wore them down.”

The Eagles failed to capitalize on a fumble by Brandon Ainsworth on the ensuing kickoff. Rick Salgado recovered at the Pecos 45, but three plays later McDaniel would pick off Zubeldia on a pass for Robert Nunez, giving the Jackets the ball back at their own 15. Three plays would net just four yards and on fourth down, the Jackets ran into the same problem that plagued the Eagles the previous week, when Pargas saw a punt snap sail over his head. He would kick it out the back of the end zone for a safety, and a 23-10 Pecos lead.

The Eagles would hold onto the ball for the remaining 5 1/.2 minutes of the quarter, but saw an eight-yard scoring run by Ortega wiped out by a holding penalty. That left the Eagles setting up for a 30-yard field goal try by Reyes as the fourth quarter began, but instead Hanks would roll to his right and find Macha, who was able to get one foot down in he end zone before crossing the sidelines for the score. Reyes then tacked on the extra point for a 30-10 lead.

Forced to pass the rest of the way, Grubbs would be intercepted twice in the final period, the first time by Reyes, again in front of an underthrown ball to McDaniel, and the second by Ramirez, as the quarterback was hit while trying to release the ball. In-between, Ortega ended his night by carrying five Kermit tacklers for about half the distance of an 18-yard gain, while Reyes and Kenny Rayos would run the ball after that inside the Jackets’ 10 before the Eagles turned the ball over on downs when Zubledia and Martinez couldn’t connect on their second touchdown of the game.

The win was the first ever for the Eagles on their new Field Turf surface after 10 straight losses, which began with a defeat two years ago by Kermit. It lifted the Eagles to 2-1 on the season while the Jackets remain winless, at 0-3.

The Eagles now go to Denver City to face the Mustangs, 12-8 losers at Levelland on Friday, but 21-7 winners at home against Pecos last season. It’s the final pre-district game for the Eagles, who open up their 1-3A schedule on Sept. 29 by hosting Anthony.

All six District 1-3A teams in action on Friday won. Monahans defeated Midland Christian, 26-21, Fort Stockton downed Andrews, 14-7, Clint routed El Paso High, 37-7 and Anthony defeated Fort Hancock, 39-12, as all four teams remained undefeated, while Fabens won its first game of the season, 28-7 over San Elizario, and 2-0 Tornillo was idle.

Bears down Chargers in closing seconds

The Balmorhea Bears football team picked up their first win of the 2006 season on Saturday afternoon in El Paso, rallying in the final 10 seconds of the game for a 29-28 win over the El Paso Jesus Chapel Chargers.

Jose Rodriguez passed 2 yards to Harry Baron to tie the game with six seconds left, and Brandon Mendoza then threw to Russell Garlick for the game-winning conversion. “We got down to the four with 38 seconds left and called a time-out and ran a draw but got stopped short,” said Bears’ coach Debiasie Mendoza. “Our quarterback then got away after he initially had to get around two of their rushers and found Harry in the corner of the end zone.”

He said after Jesus Chapel called a time out before the extra point try, the Bears decided to go for one point if the Chargers lined up to block the two-point kick. “They lined up for the extra point and we allowed the rush in, and that left our man wide open,” Mendoza said. “The only thing I was worried about was we had two people there, and I was afraid they would hit each other and drop it.”

The Bears, who had fallen behind early in their opening two games against El Paso Faith Christian and Fort Davis, were down 14-0 at halftime after a Jesus Chapel scored on a 15 yard touchdown pass to Angel Casas from Elliott Alcantor in the opening period, and an eight-yard run by Casas in the second quarter. Balmorhea finally got on the scoreboard on a 12-yard pass from Mendoza to Jonathan Carrasco.

The score remained 14-8 until late in the third period, when Chris Cordero scored on an eight yard run. But Balmorhea came back immediately to score on a Mendoza pass of 42 yards to Adam Roman.

Jesus Chapel would rally on their next possession to take a 28-14 lead on another touchdown pass from Alcantar to Casas, with 7:03 left in the game, before the Bears staged their final rally, cutting the lead to 28-22 on a three-yard touchdown by Mendoza before tying the game on the pass to Baron.

The 1-2 Bears remain on the road this week, when they take on Midland Trinity, 46-0 losers to Garden City this past Friday. Mendoza said the Bears would be without Carrasco, who dislocated his shoulder during Saturday’s game, but could get back Ryan Woodruff, who hurt his knee in Balmorhea’s season opener against Faith Christian.

Morse given coaching honor as Eagles prepare for opener

Pecos Eagles swimming coach Terri Morse was honored on Saturday in Austin as the 2005-06 Coach of the Year in swimming for the state of Texas.

Morse shared the honor with former Eagle swimming coach Keith Irby at the annual meeting of the Texas Interscholastic Coaches Association’s annual meeting at the Omni South Hotel in Austin. The award was presented a week before the Eagles open their 2006-07 swimming season with a dual meet at home against Fort Stockton.

“It went pretty well,” Morse said on Monday, after returning from Austin. “Everybody showed up who was asked to come, and it was really nice.”

Morse is entering her 22nd year as PHS swimming coach, and was awarded the Theron L. Pickle Lifetime Achievement Award along Irby, who currently coaches at The Colony in the Dallas area. He spent one season as Eagle swimming coach, coming to Pecos the year the program began in 1983.

Morse arrived for the 1985-86 season and won her first boys’ title in 1990, and her first district girls’ championship a year later. Since then, he teams have captured 15 of the past 17 district boys’ titles in swimming, and 13 of the last 16 girls district swimming titles. They also have won six of the seven Region I-4A boys championships and four of the seven girls titles since the 4A-and-under division was created in 2000.

Pecos boys teams have also placed as high as fourth during that time at the Class 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships. In May, Morse was recognized for her selection and presented with a special plaque in her honor at the Pecos High School All-Sports Banquet.

Tracey Shaw, whose daughter Lindsey has been a member of the Eagles swim team for the past four seasons, sent in the nomination and a letter on why she was deserving of the award. Morse said that Lindsey, who graduated this past May, also was at the banquet to receive the Theron L. Pickle Scholarship Award, which she shared with Charles Cassidy of Austin Westlake High School.

The swimming season for Pecos is scheduled to get underway this Saturday morning, with a dual meet against Fort Stockton, though Morse said she probably wouldn’t have final confirmation until this week, since the Panthers have a new coach this season.

The meet is scheduled to begin with diving around 9:30 a.m., with the swimming timed finals set for 11 a.m. The swimming portion of the meet should run about two hours.

Pecos lost their top swimmers on the girls’ side from a year ago, while the boys return most of their top swimmers from last year’s squad.

“Right now everybody’s out. We had some playing volleyball, but they decided not to do it during two-a-days, “ Morse said. “We have 16 boys and 10 girls.

“That’s more boys than we’ve had the last couple of years. Our girls are a little on the light side, but we’ve got some good girls out. They just don’t have a lot of experience,” she said. “The next couple of years we should have some strong girls coming up, and we’ve got some good boys, but not as many as with the girls.”

Andrews won the girls title at district last season, while finishing second to Pecos on the boys’ side. But Morse said the Mustangs lost several seniors. “I think Big Spring will be good this year. They’ve got a lot of people back, and Big Spring’s girls will be tough, and Monahans should be a little better.

“I think the district when you look at it as a whole should be really even. Each team has got a couple of good swimmers across the board, so it will depend on who steps up at district,” she said. “I think for our boys team, if everybody stays healthy and stays eligible, we might have a little edge over the other teams. If we can do everything right and stay on top of things, we’ll be all right.”

The Eagles’ will get into s near-weekly routine of meeting starting on Oct. 7 with the Lubbock Relays. They host Monahans for a dual meet five days later, them go to their first invitational meet of the season, in Big Spring, on Oct. 21. The Pecos Invitational is scheduled for Nov. 11, and Morse said unlike in recent years, the Eagles will have three meets in December, with Fort Stockton and Abilene moving their dates to the weekends before and after the Seminole Invitational.

Pecos will have just one meet after the holidays, the Lubbock Invitational, before District 4-4A meet on Jan 19-20 in Monahans. Regionals will be back in Lubbock two weeks later, with the state meet set for Feb. 16-17 at the University of Texas in Austin.

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