Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, November 10, 2006
Eagle swimmers hosting large field for Pecos Invitational
The Pecos Eagles swim team will be playing host to schools from across West Texas on Saturday, when they host the annual Pecos Invitational, beginning at 11 a.m.
Coach Terri Morse said 340 swimmers are entered from 17 teams. Diving will take place on Friday starting at 5 p.m., while the swim finals are expected to last about 7-7 1/2 hours on Saturday.
Pecos’ boys won the Big Spring Invitational two weeks ago, while the girls placed fourth. However, Saturday’s field will feature much tougher competition, Morse said.
“There will be four Lubbock schools, two from Midland, Abilene High, Abilene Cooper and Wylie, plus Big Spring, Andrews, Fort Stockton, Monahans, Pampa, Seminole and Clovis,” she said. “Lubbock High will have about 40 kids swimming.”
Morse moved some of her swimmers around last Thursday, when Pecos won a dual meet over Monahans. This week, she said, “They will pretty much swim the events they’re used to swimming.”
The boys will go in seeded first in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay, though by only a half-second over Odessa High. Individually, senior Matthew Oglesby is seeded first in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly, while senior Kyle Winkles is seeded first in the 50 freestyle and the 100 free.
The girls’ best individual seeding going into the meet is a sixth by Cassandra Mata in the 200 medley, while the 400 yard freestyle relay team is seeded sixth.
Morse said she would have only one diver, Hector Ramon, participating on Friday, because the Eagles’ other 1-meter diver, Jose Gonzales, is moving. Ramon is seeded second in the 1-meter event.
Lady Eagles advance to Region 1-3A semifinals
The surprising trip through the playoffs continued for the Pecos Eagles volleyball team Tuesday night in Midland, and will be headed to the Rip Griffin Coliseum in Lubbock on Friday, after Pecos advanced to the Region I-3A semifinals with a four game victory over the Lamesa Golden Tornadeos.
The Eagles advanced to their first ever regional tournament with their first playoff win over Lamesa since their 34-0 state championship season in 1987. And they did it for the second match in a row by going overtime to get their first two victories.
The Eagles downed the Tors in Game 1, 27-25, saw Lamesa come back to tie the match with a 25-18 win in Game 2, then took Game 3 by another 27-25 score and survived an ankle injury to senior hitter Brittany Rodriguez in Game 5, winning by a 25-17 score.
The win moves Pecos into a 5 p.m. match Friday against the Canyon Eagles, which defeated Dalhart to advance to the I-3A tourney. Canyon advanced with a 25-21, 25-17, 25-15 win over Dalhart.
The winner there will face either Gainesville or Monahans in the regional championship match on Saturday. The Loboes, who are seeking their fifth consecutive Region I-3A title, swept Lubbock Cooper, 25-20, 25-21, 25-15 to earn their spot in the semifinals.
“Lamesa had some very good players, and I thought they were going to serve us out. We were playing out of a hole, but I guess at the end their kids got a little nervous,” said Eagles’ coach Helen Kimbrough.
As they did in their opener of their sweep of District 1-3A champ Sweetwater last Saturday, the Eagles rallied from a mid-game deficit to win the opening game. The Tors took an early 3-1 lead only to see the Eagles rally to tie and then go up, 5-4, on a spike by Jasmine Rayos. But the lead would change hands three more times before Lamesa used a block and a dink by Shanequia Hawkins, and a kill by Kim Reese to take an 18-14 lead.
Pecos would stop that run with a spike by Adriana Armendariz, and would tie the game at 20 on a Gabby Garcia kill. Lames would lead twice more, before the Eagles went up 23-22 on a spike by Armendariz and would get to game point on a bad hit by Hawkins. But Reece then re-tied the game at 24-all with a spike and a mishandled serve by Rayos got the Tors to game point.
However Kelsey Cope was unable to get a pair of kills down, hitting one into the net and one out, before Lamesa led an over-the-head dink over the net on a third hit by Rayos fall in-between the back line players, giving the game to Pecos.
Lamesa cut down on their mistakes in Game 2, while the Eagles’ errors increased. The Tors would take the lead for good at 8-7 on a bad hit by Armendariz, and Kimbrough was unhappy enough with her team’s shot selections that she gave freshman setter Ayleen Rayos her first playing time on the varsity midway through the match.
Kimbrough said part of the problem was the Eagles’ setters were not going to the right hitters enough, but Pecos also had to readjust their plans when the Tors’ changed their defense to better cover the sidelines.
“They picked it up and figured out what we were doing,” she said. “They started picking it up, and I told them to keep going there, but also try to go to the middle, but when 35 (Hawkins) was in, it was hard to go over the middle.”
But Pecos’ problems continued. The lead was only 15-12 when Rayos missed on a hit, Hawkins blocked a spike by Garcia, and Lamesa went on an 8-3 run to take a 23-14 lead. The Eagles would briefly stay alive, before the Tors ended it on a spike by Shanna Miller.
Lamesa continued their run into Game 3, scoring the first four points before the Eagles finally got on the board on a spike by Ashley Orona. Pecos then trailed 6-2, when they went on a five-point run to take the lead, with Rayos scoring off one spike and Garcia getting two during the run.
From there, the lead would change hands four times, while Lamesa would come back to grab the lead four other times after Pecos tied the score. The Eagles would finally go up 19-17 on a pair of Lamesa errors, but then saw the Tors go on their own 5-0 run to take a 22-19 lead. Miller has a spike and a block of Armendariz during that run, but it would end with a bad serve by Ali Borrego, and Jasmine Rayos followed with two kills to tie the game.
Lamesa would get to game point first, at 24-23, on a spike by Miller, but Rodriguez came back with a kill, and Cope would miss a shot to give Pecos a one-point lead. Lamesa tied it on a spike by Garcia over the back line, but Pecos then came back to win off kills by Rayos and Armendariz off Hawkins.
Borrego’s serve problems would magnify for Lamesa in Game 4, but not before the Eagles had their own major problem, when Rodriguez hurt her ankle while trying to block a spike attempt by Reece. She was helped off the court, but was able to walk without limping by the end of the game, and was back at practice on Wednesday.
Her replacement, Cheyenne Carrasco, would come in and later get a pair of kills to give the Eagles a 12-9 lead, and would add two more later, the final one getting the Eagles to match point.
“My bench is going to be just as good as the people starting. The only reason they start is because we’re running a certain offense,” Kimbrough said. “Jenny Palomino came in and played back line and did a good job picking up balls, and Cheyenne came in and she did what I was telling all of them to do, she came in and hit it under the block.”
Lamesa would break Pecos’ serve several times during the game, but would serve the ball either into the net, over the back line or over the side line four times, compared to just one service error by the Eagles.
Pecos would lose one point due to a bad rotation, but by then, the Eagles still held a 22-14 lead. They would allow one more point before Garcia scored on a spike off Miller, who would come back to score on a kill. But after Carrasco’s spike was followed by a kill by Cope, Rayos ended the match with a spike off the hands of Paige Prather.
The win improved Pecos’ season record to 27-9, while Lamesa ended their season at 20-16.
Pecos’ opponent on Friday, Canyon, won the District 5-3A title and are 28-9 on the season. That group of purple-and-white Eagles will present a tougher challenge for the front line, with five players on the roster at 5-foot-10 or taller.
Noni Valdez, Dana Stephenson and Cherilyn McMenamy are the leading hitters for the Eagles. Valdez had 15 kills in Canyon’s win over Dalhart, while Stephenson had 10 and at 6-foot-3 figures to be the tougher blocker for Pecos’ hitters to deal with.
Canyon lost in the regional quarterfinals a year ago to Monahans, and assistant coach Tammy Walls said, “Brittany Hughes shut them down … they’d try and do a triple block on her, and she’d just dink the ball over the net, and then they had to back off to a double block. We’ve just got to be smart and not hit into the block, but try to work around or over it.”
Kimbrough said she would switch up her front line a bit to try and deal with the taller front line of the other group of Eagles. “We will have Brittany and Jasmine blocking there, and then on their shorter rotation, we’ll have Adrianna and Gabby.”
Aside from being taller than any team the Eagles have faced, Kimbrough expects Canyon to run a faster-paced offense. “Panhandle ball has always been fast, and kind of like the way coach (Patty) Dominguez runs her office at Monahans,” she said. “They’re going to mix it up and we’ve got to be there to block.”
Monahans’ playoff with Gainesville will be at 4 p.m., before the Pecos-Canyon match-up. The Loboes are seeking their fifth straight Region I-3A title, and a match-up in the finals would be the first between Pecos and Monahans since 1982, the first year more than one team from each district qualified for the playoffs. Dominguez was a player on that Eagle team that earlier in the season had handed Monahans its only loss, but saw Monahans rally to win the Region I-4A title match and go on to win the Class 4A state championship.
Eagles seek win for break-even season
The Pecos Eagles’ playoff hopes are over for the 2006 football season, but they do have a few team and individual awards they can get this Friday night, when they close out the year with a trip to Tornillo to face the Coyotes.
The Eagles can equal their victory total for the last three seasons combined with a win over Tornillo, which will be trying for its first district win after going unbeaten in pre-district play.
“They’re a young team. Probably not as young as us, but they’ve got three sophomores and a freshman and the rest are juniors and seniors,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “They’re a scrappy team. They’re not big, but they’re fast.”
Tornillo lost last week at Monahans by a 56-6 score, but the Coyotes did become only the second team in District 1-3A to score on the Loboes, thanks to a 46-yard fumble return for a score by Abel Rodriguez. “I thought our linebackers pursued well, but we’ve got to get better defensive play out of our defensive front,” said Coyotes’ coach Don Benson. “Our secondary also has been inconsistent. We’ve had some games where they’ve played well and some where we’ve had some problems.
“I thought our kids played hard against Monahans, but we don’t have much depth,” said Benson, who added that like other lower valley towns, the population and enrollment numbers in Tornillo are growing, even though the number of high school students is still around the 250 level. “We had some good practices this week, and right now we’d like to get some things going and eventually get our program to their (Monahans) level.”
The Coyotes’ main weapon on offense is quarterback Carlos Ortiz, who Benson said was brought up last season to start in an emergency situation against Crane, then played tailback for much of this year while Rene Hernandez was at quarterback.
“He’s a good pass-run threat,” said Benson. “Rene Hernandez was our quarterback, but he’ll be concentrating mainly on playing in the secondary.”
“He scrambles and runs good, and they try to take advantage of his speed,” said Henson. “They run four-wide, five-wide and try to get running lanes, and he’s a quick kid.”
Rodriguez at fullback has been the team’s main runner other than Ortiz, though combined the two have only run for 496 yards, and the Coyotes are averaging less than 150 yards per game on offense.
Pecos saw its playoff hopes ended last week with their 34-26 loss to Fort Stockton. The Eagles fell behind again by double-digits, only to see a fourth quarter comeback come up short, as quarterback Paul Zubeldia threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns and Jeremy Martinez caught nine of his 21 passes for 163 years.
Senior Luis Ortega already has the District 1-3A rushing title sewn up, but his hopes for a 2,000-yard rushing season took a hit last week when he was held to 93 yards by Fort Stockton. It left him with 1,709 yards rushing for the season, 291 short of 2000. Martinez (28 catches, 575 yards) and Zubeldia (61-for-112, 998 yards passing) also have chances to win the 1-3A passing and receiving titles, but Henson said he wasn’t going to worry about individual numbers on Friday.
“We’d like to get him 2,000 yards, but that’s not our goal this week. We’re trying to get a district win and end up at 5-5 and .500 for the season,” he said. “We’ll run the regular offense and want to end up with a balanced attack and build on next year.”
However, he added, “We’re going to try and get some of the younger kids and the ones who are seniors who haven’t played much a chance to get it. If we can get a lead early, there will be a lot of subbing.”
One player who may get to see more time on the field than planned is sophomore Joseph Ontiveros. He was brought up last week as back up at linebacker, after sophomore Hector Ramirez was hurt falling out of a pickup on Oct. 29. Timo Reyes started in Ramirez’s place last week, but now Henson said his status is questionable due to a swollen arm, while Ramirez suffered more headaches this week while trying to return from his injury.
A .500 record for Pecos this season would be the Eagles’ first non-losing season since 2001. Pecos had won just five games the past three seasons and just six in the last four years, not counting a 2002 forfeit win over Presidio.
Friday’s game will also be the first for the Eagles in Tornillo, which along with Anthony petitioned to play a 3A schedule despite Class 2A enrollment. The Wildcats’ field is located two blocks south of State Highway 20, and one block east of the main road into town from the Tornillo exit (Exit 55) off Interstate 10. It’s a 170-mile drive from Pecos and is 25 miles east of El Paso.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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