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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, November 3, 2006

Girls in Midland golf tourney after 3rd place finish

The Pecos Eagle girls’ golf team will be in Midland this weekend for the second of their two fall tournaments, after placing third this past weekend in tournament play at El Paso.

Pecos shot a 763 to finish one shot up on El Paso Coronado ‘B’ in the tournament, held at Painted Dunes Golf Course. Coronado’s ‘A’ team won with a 351 score, followed by El Paso Eastwood with a 371. Los Alamos, N.M. was fifth, with a 796 total.

“It was mostly 5A schools. Clint was the only 3A there besides us, and then there was the one New Mexico school,” said coach Tina Doan.

Four of Pecos’ five golfers cut their scores in the final round on Saturday. The Eagles had a 398 in the opening round, and cut that to 365 over the final 18 holes. Eleanor Mason shot a 96-83-179; Stephanie Briones had a 94-89-183; Stephanie Galindo shot a 99-97-198; Rica Pino shot a 109-96-205 and Kayla Natividad had a 114-114-228 over the two days of play.

“It was just a matter of getting adjusted back to competitive rounds, and the course was pretty tough. The roughs were hard to play if you didn’t have good course management,” Doan said. “But we came out the second day and made up our minds we could play with the best of them, and I was really proud of the way they came back.”

Doan said the 5A schools from the Midland-Odessa area, along with some from El Paso and the Panhandle, would be part of this weekend’s tournament field in Midland, as would Andrews, which dropped down to Class 3A this year. After this weekend’s play, the Eagles’ next tournaments will be in February, when the spring golf schedule opens.

Playoff hopes for Pecos depend on win

In the driver’s seat, on the bubble or out of contention are the three possible outcomes for the Pecos Eagles football team, in their final regular season home game on Friday night, against the Fort Stockton Panthers.

The Eagles host the Panthers at 7:30 p.m., and need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. But with a 2-2 record in District 1-3A play, a game in back of 3-1 Fort Stockton and Clint, Pecos needs to win by eight or more points to assure themselves of their first trip to the playoffs since 2001 with a victory next week at Tornillo.

But before getting there, Pecos will have to get their first win over Fort Stockton since 2000 on Friday night, and they’ll have to do it minus starting tailback Hector Ramirez, who suffered a concussion after falling out of the back of a pick-up on Sunday. Ramirez ran for 86 yards and a touchdown, and caught three passes for 37 yards in last week’s 35-28 win at Fabens.

Coach Chris Henson said on Monday that the sophomore would miss the final two regular season games, and would be replaced by another sophomore, Timo Reyes, who had already been starting at defensive back. “Timo has been the backup all year, so he knows the plays,” Henson said. “We’ll lose a little size, but we’ll gain some quickness. He’s more likely to do a juke move, where Hector’s going to get his pad down and hit you.”

He added that sophomore Joseph Ontiveros would be brought up from the JV to fill Ramirez’s spot as backup linebacker on defense.

The Eagles are hoping to get some other offense going besides running back Luis Ortega against the Panthers, who held Monahans under 175 yards in rushing last week, but were burned through the air with four touchdown passes in the Loboes’ 35-0 victory.

“It was a complete pass coverage breakdown,” said Panthers’ head coach Tom Howard. “But we worked to counter it this week, and it’s going to be better.”

Howard said he was happy with the defensive line’s performance against the Loboes. “I thought the front people on defense played well. We just played way too soft in the secondary.”

Ortega went over the 1,600 yard mark in rushing last week, and scored two touchdowns in Pecos’ win. But he was held to under 60 yards on the ground by Monahans last month, and the Eagles were unable to get their passing attack going in a 52-0 loss. And Howard told the Fort Stockton Pioneer for its Thursday edition they were going to focus on stopping the Eagles’ senior.

"Pecos is a one dimensional team, running the ball well is the key to their success," Howard told the Pioneer.

“Monahans has been the best defense we’ve faced, but Fort Stockton will be about as tough. They play the run about as good as Monahans does,” Henson said. “If you want to call it a weakness, it would be their secondary. Monahans didn’t throw the ball much, but they got a lot of their yardage that way.”

Howard said lineman Rene Corral has probably been his best defensive player. “He’s been the mainstay of our line all year long,” he said.

“Corral is the brother of their quarterback, and he’s probably their best defensive lineman. He’s everywhere,” Henson said. “He’s the one to watch out for.

“They like to shift their line just before the snap, so our line has got to be aware of where they are. What they’re trying to do is get you to blow an assignment, so we’ve got to be aware of where we are,” he said.

Behind him, Howard said Brazos Peacock has been the top linebacker, while injuries have forced the Panthers to rotate players at the other position. Austin Jordan started in place of Billy Bradshaw last week, and Henson said, “Both their linebackers like to run to the ball. They’re a reckless defense.”

Offensively quarterback Sergio Corral hit just 4-of-14 attempts last week, with two interceptions. Howard said his offensive line gave the junior good protection, but blamed the low completion rate on problems by Fort Stockton’s receivers.

“We started out in the first quarter with a crossing pattern (to receiver Adrian Navarez), and he hit him right in the hands, but he dropped it,” Howard said. “If he catches it, he walked into the end zone.”

He added that a missed pass early in the third period at Monahans’ 7-yard-line was deflected into the arms of Russell Covington, who returned it 97 yards for a touchdown, turning what could have been a 21-7 game into a 28-0 blowout.

“They’re out of the ‘I’ offense, and try to pound the ball in, pound the ball in, then they go over the top to their quick receiver, Navarez,” Henson said. “We’re going to have to man-up on him every time.”

Navarez has 18 catches for a district-leading 514 yards and six touchdowns, while Corral has thrown for 778 yards and seven TDs, while running for another 368 yards and eight scores. “He’s good on the run and good on the pass, and with a receiver like that, it’s a great combination to have,” Henson said.

Aside from Corral, fullback M.J. Salmon has run for 624 yards and five touchdowns, though he handled the ball only 10 times against Monahans. “He was getting over an illness and an injury,” said Howard, but added; “He should be back at full strength this week.”

“He’s a big, bruising running back who reminds me a lot of Cowboy (Ortega),” Henson said. “He gets his shoulder pads down low and is tough to bring down.”

Frankie Ruiz, who weighs in at nearly 100 pound less than the 234-pound Salmon, was the Panthers’ main runner last week, and has gained over 350 yards this season with three scores.

Tackling on key plays again was a problem for Pecos last week. Fabens broke a number of tackles, mostly in the second half, to get back into the game after the Eagles took a 28-7 lead.

“Monday and Tuesday we started out the first 15 minutes with tackling drills,” Henson said. “We’re doing step drills to try and tackle and force turnovers, because that’s what I think it’s going to come down to, whoever makes the fewest turnovers.”

Pecos’ 27-20 home field loss two weeks ago to Clint left them in a minus-7 hole in the head-to-head points match-up, should the Eagles, Lions and Panthers all finish with 4-2 district records. An eight point win over Fort Stockton and a win over Tornillo would assure Pecos of a playoff berth, while they could still qualify for the playoffs even if they win by 7-points or less, if they beat Tornillo and either Fort Stockton loses their final regular season game to Clint or the Panthers win by a margin that would leave either Fort Stockton or Clint with more negative points than Pecos.

Eagles face Mustangs after sweeping Coyotes

It wasn’t a dominating performance by the Pecos Eagles on Tuesday night, but the Eagles need the minimum of three games to get their first post-season volleyball victory since 1999, as they swept the Tonillo Coyotes in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs.

The Eagles trailed the Coyotes at the outset of all three games in Van Horn on Tuesday, but were able to pull away at the finish for a 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 win that sends them into an area round match-up against District 3-4A champ Sweetwater at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Midland Christian High School.

Brittany Rodriguez had 13 kills in the match, in which the Eagles never could get a strong run going and had problems at times going for ball on defense against the Coyotes, who placed third in District 1-3A this season, but advanced to the area round of the Class 2A playoffs last season.

“As a freshman, she was moved up to block middle, but I felt better playing her outside at the beginning to get her confidence up,” said Eagles’ coach Helen Kimbrough. “Then I put her in the middle, because she’s a strong girl.”

Pecos placed second after winning a District 2-3A playoff over Presidio on Saturday, and saw the Blue Devils make quick work of 1-3A runner-up Fabens in the game before their match, beating the Wildcats, 25-15, 25-15, 25-19. But when play got underway, it was Tornillo that raced out to a 6-1 lead, behind a series of mistakes and an ace serve by Denise Reyes.

“They did some things that were a little unusual, and when you play a team like that, you don’t know where to go,” Kimbrough said. “That’s why we did a lot of standing around. But we did let a lot of balls hit the floor that shouldn’t hit the floor, and you cannot let that happen in the playoffs, because if you lose, you go home.”

The Coyotes then began making some mistakes of their own, before a couple of spikes by Adriana Armendariz and Rodriguez got the Eagles to within one, at 8-7. Pecos would tie the game on a Rodriguez kill and take the lead on a bad hit by Reyes, while she and Jasmine Rayos would have spikes during a run that would widen the lead to 18-13. But the Coyotes would hang in, getting back to within 20-17 before the Eagles were finally able to put the game away, though the final point came on a bad serve by Stephanie Zavala.

Tornillo would lead the second game several times, but never by more than a point. Their last lead was at 7-6 on a Maria Soto spike, but her missed dink shot and a missed ball at the net by Maryann Valenzuela put Pecos ahead to stay. The Eagles would widen their margin to as much as 10 points, at 21-11, but saw that margin cut in half, to 22-17, before finally winning on a hit by Armendariz and a tip by Rodriguez.

Tornillo’s last lead in Game 3 was at 4-3, on a kill by Jissel Reyes. Pecos would take the lead on a block out by Soto on a Rodriguez spike and a bad back line spike by Vianny Olivas, who scored several times in the first two games on back line hits that dropped in front of Pecos’ back line. Pecos would later get kills from Gabby Garcia and Claire Weinacht, but were never able to get more than a five-point lead. Their last was at 23-18 on a Rayos block of a Denise Reyes tip but a spike by Soto and two unforced errors by the Eagles cut that lead to 23-21.

The Eagles then lost an apparent point when a replay was called on a block by Soto on a Reyes spike that fell out of bounds, but she would come back to score on another kill, and the match ended on another bad spike over the back line from behind the 10-foot line by Olivas.

The win improved Pecos to 25-9 on the season going into their match on Saturday against Sweetwater. The Mustangs are 25-14 on the season, but beat out Andrews, Lamesa, Snyder and Greenwood to win the District 3-3A title and earn their first round bye.

Pecos’ last playoff win was in the bi-district round seven years ago against El Paso Burges. The Eagles haven’t won an area round match since 1990, when they advanced to the Region I-4A finals to eventual state champion Dumas. The Eagles beat Sweetwater for the district title the following year, but lost in the first round of the playoffs, and the Eagles and Mustangs have rarely seen each other since 1997, when the teams were moved out of the same district.

“We have three days to work on our offense and defense,” Kimbrough said. “I think our game play will work well against Sweetwater. They have two hitters (Tika Smith and Bennie Smith), and one girl who hits outside and blocks outside, and I think we match up pretty well.

“It’s nothing we’ not familiar with. They play a lot like Alpine and Kermit. Our first defense is to block them, and then we have to cover the block,” she said.

The winner of Saturday’s match will face the winner of the area round match between Lamesa and Clint. The Tors won a five-game match over Seminole on Tuesday, while Clint drew a first round bye, after winning the District 1-3A title.

Presidio’s win advanced them to the area round against Lubbock Cooper on Saturday, while District 2-3A champion Monahans will open the playoffs on Saturday evening at Odessa High against Andrews, which defeated Brownfield in its first round match.

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