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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, October 20, 2006

Swimmers in Big Spring for first invitational

The first official invitational meet of the 2006-07 season for the Pecos Eagles’ swim team will be this Friday and Saturday in Big Spring, and coach Terri Morse expects most of the Eagles’ District 4-4A rivals along with several Class 5A schools to be in attendance.

Swimming finals will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday for the Big Spring Invitational, with diving scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday. It’s the first regular meet for the Eagles, who defeated Fort Stockton in a dual meet in Pecos last month, and then competed two weeks ago at the Lubbock Relays, with the boys placing second and the girls 10th in the 19 school field.

Morse said as of Wednesday she’d hadn’t received the full list of teams entered in the meet, “But I’m guessing all the district teams will be there. Most every year they do come, and I would guess Seminole will be there, Odessa High and Odessa Permian, and maybe even Abilene High and Abilene Cooper.”

She said most of her returning swimmers from last year would be entered in their regular events, though some of the team won’t be around for the full meet, due to the UIL area marching competition at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa on Saturday.

“Three of them will be leaving the meet early to go over and be with the band. They’ll swim in the first half of the meet,” Morse said. Diver Hector Garcia will compete on Friday, but won’t make the trip back to Big Spring on Saturday for the swimming events, she added. This weekend’s meet is the only one for Pecos over a four-week period. The main portion of the Eagles’ pre-Christmas schedule gets underway the first week of November when they host Monahans, followed by the Pecos Invitational on Nov. 10-11.

Runners prepare for district cross-country

The Pecos Eagles’ cross country team did a lot of driving, but no running, this past weekend, but will be doing a lot less of the first and a lot more of the latter this coming Monday, when they compete in the District 2-4A Cross Country meet at the Ward County Golf Course in Monahans.

Coach Rudy Jurado said the team wasn’t informed that this past Saturday’s scheduled meet in San Angelo had been cancelled until after they arrived and spent the night there on Friday. As a result, the Eagles will go into Monday’s meet having not run since Oct. 7, when they competed in Alpine.

At that meet, Jurado said Ray Gonzales placed sixth with a 20:48 time for the three-mile race, and was followed by German Rodriguez, 16th with a 21:59 time; Gus Mendoza, 20th in the 23:25 time; Stephen Apolinar, 24th with a 23:25 time; Maurice Johnson, 32nd with a 23:51 time, and Austin Vernon, 43rd with a time of 24:55.

Only two girls competed in Alpine; Kathryn Lamka and Heather Lamka, who placed 16th and 17th with 17:54 times for their two-mile race. But Jurado said he expects to have more runners out on Monday for the district meet.

“We should have a full varsity girls squad and we’ll definitely have a full varsity boys’ squad,” Jurado said.

On the junior high level, he said he won’t have any boys running in Monahans, but will have a full girls team. Three of those ran at Alpine, with Kayla Natividad winning the race with a 17:42 time, followed by Toiya Ghant in 12th place with a 24:55 time and Alexsandra Guerrero, 13th with a 25:01 time.

Jurado said the district meet will start about 9 a.m. with the junior high girls’ race, followed by the boys’ race at 9:30 a.m. and the high school girls and boys’ races at 10 and 10:30 a.m.

Eagles place 16th in Santa Teresa golf

The Pecos Eagles boys golf team got in 54 holes of play in two days this past weekend in southern New Mexico, as they competed at the Santa Teresa invitational, their only varsity tournament of the fall season.

Pecos finished 16th out of 18 teams at the tournament, shooting rounds of 386 and 358 on Friday at the Yucca Course in Santa Teresa, N.M., and a 361 the following day on Spanish Dagger.

“After the first two rounds, we shot a 744 and were quite a bit out of the lead, but the positive was you could see quite an improvement in the boys’ scores the second time they went around the course,” said new Eagles’ golf coach Pat Gent, who took five golfers to the suburban El Paso tournament. “I was real proud of the boys, because for two of these guys it was their first high school tournaments.”

Heath Armstrong shot an 89-88 at the Yucca Course, and shot another 88 on Saturday at Spanish Dagger for a 265 score over 54 holes of play. Nathan Duke shot a 91-88-91-270, Drake Bradley had a 96-89-90-275, Richard Dutchover shot a 110-93-92-295 and Mateo Tarango shot a 125-119-118-362.

“We were the only Class 3A school there out of 18 4A and 5A schools,” Gent said. “The first day we were two shots behind Odessa High, which was the team they were shooting force since they’re out of this area, and after Saturday we finished 16th, 14 shots ahead of Odessa High.”

“They got stronger as they understood the course,” Gent said. “For my freshmen, Richard cut 17 strokes off from round one to two, Mateo cut six strokes, and all the others took strokes off from the first round.”

El Paso Hanks won the tournament with a 906 score, seven shots ahead of Midland Lee ‘A’, while Lubbock Coronado’s ‘A’ team was next, with a 919 score.

Gent said former coach Gaylon Doan has been helping out with the golf team while he’s been involved with Pecos’ football team, while Bradley also has been mostly in football in the run-up to last weekend’s tournament, which fell during the bye week for Pecos’ football squads.

Gent said the next tournament for Pecos’ varsity won’t be until the first weekend on February in Monahans, but his junior varsity golfers will compete in a one-day tournament on Nov. 30 in Andrews.

Eagles, Lions seek rebound from bad loss

Someone is going to bounce back from a big loss to the Monahans Loboes on Friday night, when the Pecos Eagles play host to the Clint Lions starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Eagles and Lions will likely be playing for a spot in the Class 3A playoffs when they meet for the first time since 2001. Clint is 6-1 on the season and 2-1 in District 1-3A play, while Pecos is 3-3 and 1-1. Both teams come off bad losses to Monahans - the Eagles on the Loboes’ home field two weeks ago by a 52-0 score, while the Lions fell at home this past Friday to Monahans, 48-6. Both are trying to stay close to the 2-0 Loboes and 2-0 Fort Stockton, which travels to Anthony on Friday.

Pecos had this past Friday off, and coach Chris Henson said the week off gave several Eagles time to heal up, though they did lose defensive back Lucas Macha to an ankle injury during a pick-up basketball game.

“Everybody else is healthy,” Henson said, while adding the extra week off has give the Eagles some time to work on their blocking, after being held under 100 yards in offense in their loss to Monahans.

“Our offensive line is doing better talking to each other out there and getting their assignments down,” he said. “We’re getting closer to where we want to be with this offense, and we’re communicating better than we have all year.”

The Lions were able to move the ball slightly better than the Eagles did against Monahans’ defense, but were out of the game faster. Monahans scored on their first possession, then scored after Clint fumbled the ensuing kickoff and were up 21-0 by the end of the period. Pecos trailed Monahans by just a 3-0 margin with seven minutes to go before halftime, but then saw the Loboes score seven touchdowns in just over 15 1/2 minutes to blow the game open.

Pecos has had two weeks to recover from their loss, while Clint will be trying to bounce back in what will be the Lions’ first football trip out of the El Paso area since their last visit to face the Eagles five years ago. But Lions’ coach Rosvel Martinez said his team didn’t seem to have any after-effects from the defeat.

“They all showed up on Saturday morning and still have high hopes of making the playoffs, but we’ve still got to take care of business,” Martinez said.

Clint is averaging about 100 yards more per game on offense than Pecos, and both teams allowed three touchdowns to Anthony, their other common opponent this season. The Eagles had to rally to beat the Wildcats, 31-21 in their district opener, while the Lions downed Anthony the following week, 47-22.

“We did the same things last week we’ve tried to do, but Monahans just put a stop to it,” Martinez said. “We’re just going to do what we do best and see where we can go from there.”

Against Monahans, Clint had some success running the ball with backs Justin Powell, Manny Rodriguez and Tony Rivera, along with quarterback Jaime Pena. But their biggest plays came on passes from Pena to Powell, who was able to outfight the Loboes’ defensive backs for the football. With the Eagles’ problems at times defending the pass this season, the senior figures to be a target for Pena several times on Friday.

“They work out of the wishbone option, so we’ve got to play good assignment football,” Henson said. “We’ve had a chance to work on that, so we should be ready for them. But I know we’ll see an entirely different team than we saw against Monahans.”

Powell has run for 625 yards and eight touchdowns, while catching eight passes for 221 yards and another two scores. “He’s an all-around athlete and a good receiver. If they want a big play, they move him outside and throw the ball.”

Pena has thrown for 500 yards and four touchdowns while running for another 459 yards and seven TDs. “He’s got a good touch, and he’s quick on his feet,” Henson said.

“Rodriguez also runs the ball hard. He’s a good four-yard back who puts his shoulders down when he runs the ball.

They go for it a lot on fourth down when they’re within four yards. They like to run doubles and hand Powell the ball,” he added. “They’re offensive line is not small. They’re not huge like Monahans, but their offensive line explodes off the ball.”

Clint’s main concern will be containing Eagles’ running back Luis Ortega. He averaged over 200 yards in Pecos’ first five games, but was held to only 52 yards by Monahans, which controlled the line and limited the senior’s ability to gain any forward momentum. “We’re going to focus on him, but they also have that other good running back (tailback Hector Ramirez), and at times he does a good job back there running the ball, so we can’t just prepare for Ortega,” Martinez said.

Henson said Rodriguez at middle linebacker and Powell at free safety are a couple of the two-way starters for the Lions.

“They move (Powell) around a lot. They blitz him a lot and walk the linebacker outside and put Powell at linebacker,” he said. “Anthony threw the ball better than they ran it, and some of their counter plays worked, so we may try a lot of counters with Hector and Rocky Lozoya at wingback.”

Henson said one change the Eagles would be making in special teams would be to replace Ortega as punter with Kenny Rayos. “He gets the ball off pretty quickly, so we can move him up to 12 yards (behind scrimmage), so we don’t have to get a 15-yard punt snap,” he said, adding that they would also be dropping the man-in-motion on the punt snaps in favor of a more traditional formation.

“Our punting problems have really hurt us. We gave Monahans short fields to work with,” Henson said. “If we can put them back deep and make them drive the length of the field, we’ll have a great shot at them.”

Loboes add to sweep streak, thwart Pecos’ comeback try

Since the start of the 2002 volleyball season, the Monahans Loboes not only have won every district match they’ve played, the Loboes haven’t lost a game in any match during that span. The streak stood at 36 matches without a loss going into Tuesday night’s contest against the Pecos Eagles, and match No. 37 wasn’t any different. But the Eagles did make the Loboes work to keep their impressive streak of sweeps alive.

Monahans clinched the District 2-3A title, pulling away from Pecos in Game 1 before winning 25-16, then overcoming a mid-game slump to win Game 2, 25-14, after seeing a 12-1 lead cut at one point to 16-12. The Loboes then had to hold off a couple of rallies by the Eagles in Game 3, before clinching the victory with a 25-21 win.

“The key tonight was blockers and dinks,” said Eagles’ coach Helen Kimbrough.

“They’ve got good blockers; their elbows were above the net. We needed to set it off the net and hit it away from the blocks, so we looked for the edges and corners. But we didn’t execute today.”

Monahans setter Katlin Mitchell helped the Loboes offset a strong start by Pecos’ hitters, who were able to find the holes in the early going. Mitchell scored several points on her own with dinks over Pecos’ front line, aside from setting up kills by Catherine Cutbirth and Bailey Marcum and Jordan Latham.

“She’s doing such a fantastic job,” said Loboes’ coach Patty Dominguez. “She’s matured so much this season stepping in and taking over the role. Her decision-making on the court has come a long way, and I’m excited about what the future holes because of her understanding.

“She teamed up with Catherine on the net, and Catherine carried us,” Dominguez said. She would have a kill and a block of Gabby Garcia, after the Eagles opened with kills by Jasmine Rayos, Brittany Rodriguez to grab a 2-0 lead.

The score was 10-8 after a spike by Claire Weinacht when a dink by Mitchell started Monahans on a 10-2 run, which included a couple of kills by Cutbirth and ended with another Mitchell dink over Pecos’ blockers.

“That’s the kind of team they are. They get that lead and it kind of affects you, and my players start thinking they can’t catch up,” said Kimbrough. “That’s why I had to called a time out and told them they were working too hard to speed things up. I told them not to try to play as fast as Monahans. We’re trying to get to that level, but we’re not there yet.”

Cutbirth and Latham would have kills early in Game 2, while the Eagles committed a series of unforced errors, including several net violations, to give the Loboes a 12-1 lead. Then it was Monahans’ turn to make several mistakes, as a spike by Rodriguez started a 10-4 run by Pecos that got them to within four points of the Loboes.

“We had some bad decision making,” Dominguez said. “We just got a little lazy and Pecos took advantage of it. We had some blocking errors, hitting errors and service reception errors, and that’s very uncharacteristic of us.”

A spike by Weinacht got the Eagles to within 16-12, but the Eagles then missed a serve and followed that up with a spike into the next and a net violation. Bethany Willmon and Latham then had kills to widen the margin back to nine points.

In Game 3, the lead changed hands three times in the early going. Monahans would go up 6-4 on kills by Cutbirth and Latham, but spikes by Weinacht and Adrianna Armendariz and a couple of bad hits by Marcum allowed the Eagles to grab 7-6 and 8-7 leads. Two more Latham and Cutbirth spikes would put the Loboes ahead to stay, and the lead would reach as many as five points, at 18-13 and 20-15. But a block of Willmon by Armendariz and a couple of errors by the Loboes would get the Eagles back to within two, at 21-19.

A tip over the block by Cutbirth and another dink by Mitchell stopped the run, and while Pecos would get two more points on a bad spike by Cutbirth and a serve into the net by Mitchell, a block of Rayos by Latham and a net violation by Rodriguez would close out the match for the Loboes.

The win improved Monahans to 5-0 in district and 36-3 on the season, while Pecos drops to 3-2 in district and 23-8 on the season. Presidio clinched the final playoff spot in District 2-3A on Tuesday with a sweep of Fort Stockton, and can force a playoff for second with the Eagles if they can win next Tuesday night in Presidio.

The Loboes, meanwhile, will be trying to complete another undefeated district season on Tuesday, when they host Fort Stockton in their final regular season home game. Monahans has scheduled a playoff practice game for Halloween night against Denver City on the Mustangs’ home court, on the night Pecos and Presidio will be playing their bi-district volleyball matches against Fabens, Anthony or Tornillo.

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