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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Pecos runners fall short of state cross-country berths

The Pecos Eagles cross country team come up short of advancing any runners to state on Saturday, at the Region I-3A meet at Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock.

Pecos’ boys placed 22nd in the team standings, after earning a regional berth with a third place finish two weeks earlier at the District 1-3A meet, while Pecos’ girls only had three competitors on Saturday and didn’t qualify for a team score, after also placing third at district.

Coach Rudy Jurado said Heather Lamka had the best time for the girls, covering the two-mile course in 14:19.32 to finish 91st overall. Trina Morales was 101st, with a 14:28.93 time and Kathryn Lamka placed 116th, with a time of 14:52.67.

No district runner advanced to state in the race, which was won by Canyon’s Lauren Simpson with an 11:30.03 time. The best finish among 1-3A runners was a 53rd by Presidio’s Edlin Dominguez, with a 13:47.22 time. The Blue Devils placed 16th overall.

The boys’ best result was a 116th place finish by German Rodriguez, with a 19:47.44 time for the three-mile race. Gus Mendoza was 126th with a 20:29.78 time; Jesse Juarez was 127th with a 20:34.45 time; Stephen Apolinar was 138th with a 21:21.43 time and Austin Vernon placed 155th, with a time of 25:30.73.

As with the girls, no District 1-3A runner advanced to state. Monahans’ Brian Azurje had the best finish, a 73rd place with an 18:55.24 time. Perryton’s Taylor Hubbard won the race, with a 15:51.90 time.

Balmorhea had one runner in the boys division of the Class A regional meet, with Levonnie Sanchez placing 161st with a 16:54.28 time.

Golfers finish in 8th place in tournament at Midland

The Pecos Eagles girls golf team came in eighth on Saturday in Midland, at the Odessa Permian Girls Golf Invitational.

The tournament was moved from Odessa to Midland due to work at the Ratliff Ranch Golf Course, and the Eagles shot a 371-387-758 for the 36 holes. Andrews won the tournament with a 336-315-651, while Amarillo High was second, with a 347-341-688.

Pecos played the final round minus their No. 1 golfer, Eleanor Mason. “Eleanor went to take her SATs, and we knew that was going to happen,” said Eagles’ coach Tina Doan. Mason shot an opening round of 84 and her absence made Pecos use the second round score of their No. 5 golfer Kayla Natividad in Saturday’s total, when the Eagles were passed in the standings by Odessa Permian ‘A’, Midland High ‘A’ and Odessa High ‘A’ Natividad shot a 106-107-213 for the tournament, while Carolina Briones had a 94-90-184; Stephanie Galindo shot a 96-97-193 and Rica Pino shot a 97-93-190 for the Eagles’ other scores.

Even with Mason back, Doan noted that the Eagles will have to improve their game to catch Andrews, whose ‘B’ team also placed in front of Pecos with a 342-371-713 score.

“I thought we improved out there on the second day, but we’re not where we need to be,” she said. “They see what they need to do to compete with Andrews, but it helped us to compete with them and against the 5A schools we competed against. We’re going to have to bring our scores down quite a bit to compete with Andrews.”

The Eagles, who placed third at state last year, were the only Class 3A school other than Andrews in the 11-team tournament. It was the last one for Pecos’ varsity before the spring season, but the junior varsity girls and boys golf teams will have a one day tournament in Andrews on the last day of November.

Eagles shock Sweetwater, face Lamesa next

In a season where the Pecos Eagles have shown flashes of being ready to elevate their game to a higher level, they finally put it all together on Saturday afternoon in Greenwood, stunning the District 3-3A champion Sweetwater Mustangs with a 26-24, 26-24, 25-15 victory.

The area round win - Pecos’ first since 1989 - moves the Eagles into a Tuesday night match against a team they’ve struggled with in the past, the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes. Pecos will face Lamesa at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Midland Lee High School gym, in the Region I-3A quarterfinals, with the winner advancing to the regional tournament on Friday in Lubbock against either Canyon or Dalhart.

“The girls did not quit. They stayed focused and played ball,” said Eagles’ coach Helen Kimbrough. Sweetwater had game point in both Game 1 and Game 2, at 24-23, only to see Pecos come back to tie the game, then score two more points for the victories. “They wanted this game, and I am very proud of them.”

“This is the best they’ve played all year,” said Kimbrough, who made it to the area round back in 1997 as the head coach of Odessa Permian, and took over a Pecos team this season than had missed the playoffs each of the past two years.

Sweetwater was making its third straight post-season trip, but its first after winning the district title and earning a first round bye. The Mustangs were led by sisters Tika and Bennie Smith, both of who were able to go over the Eagle blockers several times for points. But they also were blocked a number of times by Pecos’ front line, which had its own success putting down shots over Sweetwater’s blockers.

“Coach (Tammy) Walls got a scouting report, I typed it up and gave it to all the girls to study, and it helped a lot, knowing who to serve to and where we should set,” said Kimbrough. “I was looking at the hitters and blockers and coach Walls was telling them who to serve to.”

Pecos came into Saturday’s match with the better season record than Sweetwater, but the Mustangs had gone undefeated in their district, which includes Lamesa, while Pecos placed second to Monahans in District 2-3A, edging Presidio in a playoff and then running into trouble at times last Tuesday with Tornillo, before beating the Coyotes in the bi-district round.

Sweetwater coach Liz Miller and her assistants scouted that game, which may have given Pecos the element of surprise in the early going, as a different Eagle team showed up this time around. Ashley Ornelas opened the game with a spike, and Jasmine Rayos and Claire Weinacht added kills in the early going, as Pecos maintained a small lead. But a couple of kills by Tika Smith sparked a 7-2 run by the Mustangs that turned a 13-11 deficit into an 18-13 lead.

The lead was still five, at 22-17, when Pecos cut that to two, on a bad hit by Morgan Shelton and spikes by Adriana Armendariz and Weinacht made it 22-20. After a Bennie Smith kill, the Eagles would tie the game at 23-all on errors by Smith and Alyssa Reed and a hit by Armendariz, only to see the Mustangs get to game point on a spike into the net by Armendariz.

But Gabby Garcia would re-tie the game with a kill, and after a spike by Tika Smith went past the back line, the Eagles would win on another hit by Armendariz.

“She did a good job placing it in the holes where it needed to be placed,” said Kimbrough, who moved around her outside hitters in the match. “I came right back with Brittany Rodriguez on the strong side, and we rotated, so they didn’t know where we would hit it, and we were able to take advantage of their slower back line.”

Rodriguez had a kill for Pecos’ first point in Game 2, but Sweetwater dominated play early, going out to a 10-3 lead behind kills by both Smiths. But Bennie Smith would then have problems after a Pecos time-out, committing three straight errors before getting another kill to make it 11-6. Her sister then scored off a back-line hit to widen the lead back to six, before a kill by Garcia began Pecos’ comeback.

They would tie the game once, at 15-all, on another error by Smith, then saw Sweetwater go out to another three-point lead before re-tying the score and going up, 22-21 on a hit by Armendariz. She and Tika Smith would then trade spikes, before the Mustangs’ hitter would score off a good save of a blocked shot by Pecos, then put own a another kill to make it a 24-23 game.

Smith would then get a chance to tie the match after Pecos gave back the ensuing serve on a free ball, but Rayos went up to block Smith and tie the game. She then dinked a shot over the Mustangs’ front line for a 25-24 lead, and Weinacht then ended it with a kill.

Up two games, the Eagles never trailed in Game 3, taking the lead for good at 2-1 on a spike by Rayos, and going up by a 9-3 margin in the early going. Sweetwater would get the lead down to 9-7 at one point, but a net violation by Hanna Kite broke the run, and spikes by Armendariz and Rayos followed to widen the gap back to 13-7.

Sweetwater would get no closer than four points the rest of the way, and the Eagles would close out the match with a spike by Armendariz, a block of Bennie Smith by Garcia, and a back line spike by Rayos.

“We were able to block their big hitters and take advantage of their shorter people on the front line,” said Kimbrough. “We were able to keep them off-balance.”

Sweetwater’s season ends with a 25-15 record, while Pecos improves to 26-9 going into their match against Lamesa. The Golden Tornadoes placed third in District 3-3A, but outlasted Seminole in a five-game match in the bi-district round, then swept District 1-3A champ Clint on Saturday in their area round match, played at the Pecos High School gym, 25-14, 25-18, 25-21.

It will be the seventh time the teams have met in the playoffs, with Lamesa having won five of the six match-ups, including bi-district round victories over Pecos in 2002 and 2003. Pecos’ lone win came in 1987, when they beat the Tors in the Region I-4A semifinals during their 34-0 state championship season and avenged a regional finals defeat the previous year.

Andrews, the second place team out of District 3-3A, also saw their season come to an end on Saturday, as they were beaten for the third time this season by District 2-3A champ Monahans, this time by 25-17, 25-15, 25-15 scores. The Loboes will advance to the Region I-3A quarterfinals on Tuesday night against Lubbock Cooper, which eliminated Presidio in an area round match in Monahans on Friday, 25-23, 25-20, 25-17.

Eagle swimmers sweep past Loboes

Pecos Eagles swim coach Terri Morse said she’s still trying to match some of her swimmers to specific races, after the Eagles scored a dual meet victory on Thursday over the Monahans Loboes.

Pecos’ boys defeated Monahans by a 136-38 score while the girls won their races by a 101-48 margin in the two-hour meet at the Pecos High School gym. The boys won all but one of their events, while the girls won eight of their 11 events, though Morse said some of her returning swimmers were in different events than their normal races.

“I just wanted to try some different things, since we’re getting down to where we have to see what we can do,” she said. “Some of the freshmen, I’m not sure where they can score the most points, so I’m moving them around to see what they can do.”

Morse had enough swimmers on the boys’ side to field three relay teams in both the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle races. The ‘A’ relay in the medley of Josh Elliott, Derek Teague, Matthew Ogelsby and Matthew Flores won that race with a 1:53.74 time, while the ‘B’ relay of Frankie Morin, Brian Carrasco, Adam Medina and Hector Roman was third, and the ‘C’ team of Edward Navarro, Oscar Machuca, Jose Gonzales and Austin Vernon were third. In the 400 freestyle, Pecos had the only three teams entered, with Oglesby, Elliott, Winkles and Matthew Florez winning with a 3:42.55, while Morin, Roman, Carrasco and Luke Serrano placed second and Medina, Machuca, Navarro and Gus Mendoza were third.

Florez, Serrano, Teague and Winkles also won the 200 freestyle relay, with a 1:41.57 time, while Gonzales, Roman, Carrasco and Mendoza were third. In the individual events, Oglesby won the 200 freestyle with a 1:58.15 time, with Morin second and Mendoza third; Elliott won the 200 medley with a 2:14.65 time, with Serrano second and Navarro fourth; Winkles won the 50 free with a 23.67 time, with Vernon third and Machuca fourth; Oglesby won the 100 yard butterfly, with a 57.07 time, while Medina placed second and Carrasco fourth; Florez won the 100-yard freestyle with a 53.33 time, with Teague third and Vernon fourth; Serrano won the 500 free with a 5:55.53 time, with Mendoza second and Medina fourth; Elliott won the 100-yard backstroke in 59.75, with Winkles second and Morin third; and Teague placed second, Machuca third and Navarro fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke, in the only race won by Monahans. Reed Bowman placed first there for the Loboes.

In the 1-meter diving competition held prior to the swimming events, Roman won with a 205.25 point score, while Jose Gonzales was second, with a 157.85 score.

Monahans’ girls won the 200 medley relay to open Thursday’s meet, but the Eagles took the other two relays. Niki Lindemann, Cassandra Mata, Adriana Roman and Neyva Rodriguez won the 200 free relay with a 2:01.87 time and Lindemann, Mata, Rodriguez and Anatalia Hernandez took the 400 free with a 4:28.18 time, while Roman, Stephanie Lucas, Jessica Dickenson and Cynthia Marmolejo placed second. In the 200-yard medley relay, Marmolejo, Dickenson, Hernandez and Lucas placed second with a 2:23.15 time, 1 1/2 seconds behind Monahans.

Individually, in the 200-yard freestyle race, Mata edged Lindemann by .43 seconds, winning with a 2:22 time, while Hernandez placed third; Roman won the 200 medley with a 2:48.19 time, with Marmolejo second and Dickenson third; Rodriguez won the 50 free with a 29.41 time, with Adrianne Bagley third; Hernandez was second, Lindemann third and Lucas fourth in the 100-yard butterfly, which was won by Monahans’ Abbi Meek; Rodriguez won the 100-yard freestyle with a 1:04.14 time, with Bagley fifth and Brittany Rodriguez sixth; Roman won the 500 free with a 6:39.19, with Marmolejo third; Lucas was second and Brittanie Rodriguez third in the 100 backstroke, which was won by Lyndsey Chowning; and Mata took the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:27.09 time, with Dickenson second.

“I know Jay (Thomas, Monahans head coach) doesn’t have a lot of numbers, so I knew the points would be a little lopsided, but we’ll see how we do next week with a little more competition,” Morse said.

The Eagles will be at home this coming Friday and Saturday for the Pecos Invitational, with the swimming finals set for Saturday morning. Pecos then goes to Monahans the following weekend for the Monahans Invitational, the final meet prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Eagles fall short in comeback, see playoff hopes end

The first half of home games just haven’t been much fun for the Pecos Eagles in District 1-3A this season, and their first half on Friday night against the Fort Stockton Panthers went a long way towards ending the Eagles’ playoff hopes.

Fort Stockton held the ball for all but four plays in the first period, and scored the first three times they had the ball to grab a 21-0 lead, then saw the Eagles throw for over 200 yards in the second half alone before falling short, losing by a 34-26 score to end their playoff hopes and clinch a playoff spot for the Panthers.

Sergio Corral had two touchdown passes in the first half and ran for another score, but a 23-yard score by backup running back Michael Rivera with 2:36 remaining ended up being the game-clinching score for the Panthers. Paul Zubeldia would throw for 287 yards and two scores, while Luis Ortega would add two more TDs in the Eagles’ comeback attempt. “That kind of plagued us all season, falling behind early,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “But we never gave up and kept fighting until the last play.

“We’ve got a great group of seniors, probably the best I’ve coached. I’m just disappointed it didn’t turn out differently and they won’t have a chance to play in the post-season,” he said.

Panthers’ head coach Tom Howard told the Fort Stockton Pioneer last week that "Pecos is a one dimensional team, running the ball well is the key to their success." And that appeared to be the case in the Eagles’ first two offensive series. Pecos went three and out after the Panthers’ first score, then picked up a couple of first downs before being stopped at the Panthers’ 22 on a 4th-and-2 run by Luis Ortega, who carried the ball nine times on that series and on all three first period attempts.

“Their defensive front was probably the best we’ve faced all year,” Henson said. “We had a 12-play drive on our second possession in the second quarter but they stopped us on what I thought was a bad spot.”

Fort Stockton opened the game with a 42-yard run by Corral, on a play in which he took advantage of the Eagle Stadium artificial turf when the junior fumbled the ball but had it bounce right back to him in the middle of his run. That got the Panthers out of a 1st-and-15 hole after a motion call, and two runs for 16 yards by fullback M.J. Salmon netted 16 yards, after another flag left the Panthers with a 2nd-and-15 situation.

Two plays later, Salomon found a wide open Josh Rodriguez on the right side, after the tight end broke free uncovered, and Aaron Castro’s extra point made it 7-0 three minutes into the game.

Nine minutes later, it was 14-0, after Fort Stockton went 73 yards on 13 plays to score on a two-yard run by Corral. The big play in the drive was a 22-yard run off the right side of the line by Salmon on a 3rd-and-5 play, as the Panthers found openings most of the night over the right side of their line.

Ortega found some running room over the left side on Pecos’ next series, picking up a pair of first downs while gaining 37 of his 93 yards on the night. But he was stopped just short on the 4th-and-2 run, and things got worse after that for Pecos.

Frankie Ruiz broke though the line on the next play and raced 78 yards to the end zone, but it was called back due to an illegal block near midfield. On the next play, Corral went back and found Adrian Navarez open deep, as cornerback Drake Bradley fell down, giving Navarez an open path to the end zone. The 63-yard play made it 21-0 midway through the second period.

Navarez would catch another TD pass from Corral on the next series, but pushed off cornerback Lucas Macha to do so and the play was called back. Corral would then miss two passes and be sacked by Travis Walker on third down, forcing a punt by Fort Stockton.

Zubeldia had been sacked and could only complete a four-yard pass to Timo Reyes on the series before that, but after taking over at the 36 the sophomore found Robert Nunez along the Panthers’ sideline for a 13-yard gain, then went deep to Jeremy Martinez, who was able to wait for the ball and still elude defensive back Manny Olivas for a 51-yard TD with 1:51 left in the half.

Rivera would pick off Zubeldia just before halftime to end another scoring try, and as the second half opened, overthrew Martinez on a slant patter on a 3rd-and-14 from the 30. Punter Kenny Rayos then had problems fielding a low snap, and while trying to avoid the Panthers’ rush, punted the ball sideways and out of bounds at the 26. Fort Stockton then needed just three plays to get their fourth touchdown, this one a 19-yard run by Frankie Ruiz with 9:06 left in the period.

Pecos would pick up a couple of first downs through the air on their next series, but saw that drive end on a 4th-and-4 when a snap out of the shotgun got by the Eagles’ quarterback, who had to fall on it for a 17 yard loss. Fort Stockton then went deep again to Navarez, but this time Bradley was able to steal the ball away from the receiver for an interception and return it to the 23. The Eagles then pulled off a flea-flicker on a fake reverse, with Zubeldia passing to Reyes for 32 yards.

A facemask call on a run by Ortega followed, and Zubeldia then found Reyes again on a throwback to the right side, and he went untouched into the end zone. But the sophomore was also flagged on the play for taunting, forcing him to try a 35-yard extra point kick that was short.

Down 28-13, Pecos would stop Fort Stockton’s next drive and then use a mix of runs and passes to drive 66 yards for their third touchdown. Zubeldia eluded Fort Stockton’s pass rush to hit Rocky Lozoya for 17 yards on a 3rd-and-6 play to open the drive, Ortega would find an opening for a 22-yard run on 3rd-and-5, and Zubeldia then connected on a 14-yard pass across the middle to Martinez on a 4th-and-12 that set Pecos up with a 1st-and-goal at the 7. Ortega would gain five yards on the next play, then score from two yards out with 8:53 to play, but was stopped short on an ensuing two point conversion run.

Pecos’ defense would stop Fort Stockton again, after a first down run by Ruiz, when Corral overthrew an open Rodriguez on fourth down. But after hitting Martinez for an 11-yard gain, Zubeldia was hit while trying to go deep to the receiver, and the ball was picked off by Olivas. Corral was then able to elude a sack attempt by Walker and run for 25 yards, and two plays after Rivera found an opening on the right side and scored to make it a 34-19 game.

Down 15 with 2:36 to play, Zubeldia found Martinez on a pair of sideline passes for 21 yards, then connected with the sophomore on a 24-yarder on third down. Fort Stockton then was flagged for a personal foul on a late hit on Ortega after he caught a six-yard pass, and Zubeldia then found Reyes on a 12-yard completion to the 1.

Ortega scored on the next play ad Reyes added the extra point to make it 34-26 with 1:31 to play, and the Eagles stopped the Panthers on the next series. But Pecos had just two time-outs left, allowing the Panthers to kill 1:11 off the clock. Zubeldia hit Martinez twice around a nine-yard pass to Lozoya, but Pecos was out of time-outs, and a pair of offsetting personal fouls against players from both teams ended the game at the Panthers’ 44-yard-line.

It didn’t end the problems, though, as the Eagle and Panther head coaches would get into an argument at midfield after the game, which followed Fort Stockton assistant coach Charles Hammond being escorted out of the press box at halftime by police, after witnesses said he tossed a chair on the second floor area and then got into an altercation with Pecos assistant coach Art Rios.

“They had kids kicking our kids and hitting them after the play,” said Henson, who coached some of the Fort Stockton players when he was an assistant coach for the Panthers under Gary Roan three years ago. “I told the refs they needed to get it under control, because something was going to happen, and it almost did.

“Jesse Hanks was knocked out of the game when they hit him as he was walking off the field after the play (a second quarter kickoff) was over, but it wasn’t called,” he said. “In no way did the officiating determine the game, but things almost got out of control”

Fort Stockton’s win improved their record to 7-2 and 4-1 in district, and also clinched a playoff berth for Clint, which remained tied for second with the Panthers after a 36-6 win over Fabens.

Pecos fell to 2-3 in district and 4-5 on the season. The Eagles will need a win avoid their first losing season since 2001, while Ortega will need 291 yards rushing to finish with 2,000 total years on the season. His 93 yards on Friday increased his rushing total to 1,709 yards going into the final game of the season this Friday at Tornillo. The Coyotes fell to 3-5 on the season and 0-5 in district on Friday with a 56-6 loss at Monahans, which officially clinched the District 1-3A title with their victory.

Pecos’ loss also clinched a playoff spot for Clint, 36-6 winners over Fabens. The Lions travel to Fort Stockton on Friday to decide second place in the 1-3A standings, but win or lose, the Panthers will be the Division I representative out of the district in the Class 3A playoffs and will face Andrews or Lubbock Cooper, while Clint will be the second place qualifier behind Monahans in the Division II playoffs.

Cougars outlast Bears, score 74-61 victory


Score. Score. Score. Score

And so it went Friday night as the Balmorhea Bears hosted the top-ranked Dell City Cougars in District 1-A six-man football in a game that saw a total of 135 points scored.

Unfortunately for the Bears, they were not the only team doing the scoring, in a 74-61 loss to the Cougars, but they did score first.

After kicking off to Dell City, the Bear defense forced a fumble on third down at midfield.

Three plays later the Bears faced fourth-and-ten and converted when Jose Rodriguez tossed a line-drive pass to Ryan Woodruff for first-down yardage.

On the next play Rodriguez connected with Jonothan Carrasco for the touchdown. The points-after kick failed and the Bears led 6-0.

Friday night was the first night Carrasco had played since hurting his shoulder earlier in the season. “It was good to have Jon back,” Head Coach Debiasie Mendoza said. “He had three touchdowns and you could feel his presence.”

A kickoff and four plays later the Cougars connected on a pass from midfield, successfully converted the extra-points kick and took the lead 8-6.

On the next series of downs the Bears were forced to punt and the Cougars took the ball at their own 20-yardline.

First down was one of those plays that six-man football is famous for.

Under tremendous pressure from the Bear defensive line, the Cougar quarterback pitched the ball back to his running back who, after a brief scramble, was also in the grasp of Bear defenders when he tossed a wobbly pass to midfield to the Cougar center who had worked his way behind the Bear safeties.

The Cougar lineman won the footrace to the end zone, and then kicked the points-after. “We basically spotted them 24 points early in the game by letting them get behind us,” Mendoza said. “Other than that, we played very well on both sides of the ball.”

“Dell City has a great running back, and several times early in the game we got sucked in and let them get behind us,” Mendoza said.

On the next set of downs the Bears took three plays before Rodriguez again found Carrasco in the end zone. The Bears missed the extra points kick again and trialed 16-12.

With 8:07 left in the second quarter the Cougars had run their lead to 30-12.

Then the Bears mounted a short drive and Brandon Mendoza punched it in on right-side sweep from the 14-yardline. Another failed points-after kick left the score at 30-18.

The teams traded touchdowns for the rest of the second quarter and at halftime the Cougars led by 10, 44-34.

It was a rejuvenated Bear team that took the field for the second half and after seven minutes of play the Bears had pulled to within six points.

The Cougars were marching however when Russell Garlick picked off a Cougar pass deep in Cougar territory.

On fourth-and-goal Woodruff got the call and found the end zone.

The points-after attempt was either a busted play or a fake but when the scrambling was over Carrasco had the ball in the end zone and the Bears led 47-44.

But not for long. Twelve ticks of the clock later the Cougars were back on the board.

Sixteen seconds later Woodruff took the handoff at his own 36-yardline, started left, cut back right, stiff-armed a Cougar, twisted free and took off down the left sideline. The Bears converted the points-after kick and took the lead back, 55-53.

The Bears then spotted the Cougars a couple of touchdowns, and played comeback ball, again.

With five minutes left the Cougars led 68-61, and the Bears were kicking off.

The Bears tried an onsides kick, the Cougars recovered the ball on the Bear side of midfield, and then mounted a seven-play drive that ate most of the remaining clock.

The Cougars finally scored with 1:10 left to play. The Bears managed to block the points-after attempt and trailed 74-61.

Brandon Mendoza returned the kickoff to the Cougar 27 and first down Rodriguez connected with Russell Garlick who managed to get out of bounds after a seven-yard gain. Then, on second-down-and-eight the center fumbled the deep snap and the Cougars recovered.

“That was very disappointing,” Coach Mendoza said. “We were driving and with a score, then it all comes down the onsides kick.”

Despite the close loss Mendoza said he was pleased with his players.

“Our guys played hard the whole game. The line did an excellent job opening up holes and the defense, except for a few missed assignments, played very well,” Mendoza said.

This coming Friday the Bears travel to Sanderson to take on the Eagles in a do-or-die game that could send either team to the playoffs. A win by Balmorhea and a loss by Sierra Blanca to Dell City would leave the Bears, Eagles and Vaqueros all with 1-2 district records, leaving head-to-head point totals as the playoff tiebreaker.

“It’s a tough place to play and if they win they go to the playoffs. I think we have to win by 17 points for a shot at the playoffs,” Mendoza said.

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