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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Garcia happy with Eagles’ effort in scrimmage

New Pecos Eagles’ girls basketball coach Debbie Garcia is still waiting for most of her old players to arrive, but said those that she did have on Saturday did well in the team’s scrimmage against the Kermit Yellowjackets.

Garcia moved from head volleyball to head basketball coach this season, taking over from Lisa Lowery. But most of Lowery’s returning players also are on the Eagles’ volleyball team, which had a second place playoff on Saturday against Presidio and which will face Tornillo in the bi-district round of the playoffs Tuesday night.

“Chantel (Mazone) is the only returning starter we have right now. Everybody else is on the volleyball team,” Garcia said. She added that the scrimmage consisted of 15 minute periods of man and zone defense, and 15 miuntes under regular game conditions.

“I thought the zone defense look good, and our defense looked good overall. We’re trying to play a faster game this year, and Chatel adjusted well,” Garcia said. “I thought Brittany Palomino did a good job handling the ball. Crystal Ikeler did well and Brittany Quintana did good on the wing.”

The Eagles’ 2006-07 season won’t get started until Nov. 10, when they go to Alpine to face the Bucks. Pecos’ boys won’t have their first scrimmage until Nov. 7 at Odessa Permian, and start their season a week later by hosting Odessa High.

Eagles escape Wildcats, stay in playoff race

One thing you can say about Pecos Eagle games in Fabens -- they’re never boring. Even when they should be.

The Eagles, who’ve had a number of previous tough games in Fabens, saw the Widlcats rally once in the first period from a seven point deficit, almost do the same in the second quarter and then come close to wiping out a 21-point Pecos lead in the second half, before the Eagles escaped with a 35-28 victory, to keep their playoff hopes alive.

A Jaime Garcia touchdown off an interception by Isaac Trevizo in the third quarter gave the Wildcats new life, after Luis Ortega’s second touchdown of the night a 24 seconds earlier had made it a 28-7 game. New quarterback Adrian Solis would then connect with Mark Miller for a 43-yard touchdown as time expired in the third period to make it a one-touchdown game, but the Eagles then went on a 5:50 second drive, most of that on the ground via Ortega, until Paul Zubeldia hooked up with Jeremy Martinez on a 26-yard touchdown pass, the second of the night for both sophomores.

“Jeremy came to me and said he could beat the kid, who was playing him inside,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “Jeremy said ‘just throw me the ball, and I’ll get it’, and he dd. The ball was a little under thrown, but Jeremy came back and got it.”

Defensive back Travis Garary had a shot at the ball, but Martinez was able to steal it away from him as both players fell to the ground in the end zone. Timo Reyes added the extra points, and the Eagles would then hold on to win by recovering an onsides kick, after a 4:55 second drive by the Wildcats that ended with Solis’ one-yard quarterback sneak for a score. Both teams relied heavily on their sophomores in the game, with both good and bad results. Aside from the Miller-Solis connection, Fabens got two scores from Garcia, who led the Wildcats with 31-yards rushing, while Dan Esqueda, who was called up along with Solis this week by coach Mike Martinez, ran for 27 yards on Fabens’ final scoring series. But Garay was beaten twice by the Eagles’ sophomore passing combination, while Hector Ramirez ran for 86 yards on 12 carries.

Ramirez also had a 34-yard pass reception, but will miss the final two regular season games after falling out of the back of a pick-up truck on Sunday. He was transported to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, but was released when the injuries were less serious than first suspected, and was back in school on Monday, Henson said.

“Timo Reyes will start in his place,” he said. “The hard thing about that is we found out Sunday night, after we had put in a whole game plan around Hector. So we stayed later and figured out something else we could do.”

Ortega had 110 yards at halftime and finished with 224 yards on 24 carries, the latter number higher than Henson had hoped for going into the game.

“We were trying to get Hector more involved in the offense and save Cowboy’s legs for the Fort Stockton game,” he said. “We were hoping to limit him to 20 carries, but every time we’d do something good, we’d shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Ortega’s first score came on the first offensive play of the game for Pecos, a 52-yard run over the right side of the Eagle line. It was set up by a minus-5 yard punt by Garcia, who had to run backwards and collect a high snap from center after the Wildcats drove into Pecos territory following a failed onsides kick by the Eagles to start the game.

Fabens would fail to move the ball on their next series, but a botched handoff would help kill Pecos’ next drive, and two plays after Adrian Estrada returned Kenny Rayos’ punt to near midfield, Solis connected with Johnny Briones, who outraced Drake Bradley down the right sideline for a game-tying 38-yard TD.

The Eagles would see their next series drive inside the Fabens 25, only to end when Ortega was stripped of the ball after a 7-yard run, with Estrada recovering at the 32. Pecos’ defuse would stop Fabens on downs following the turnover, and after Ortega picked up 15 yards and a first down. Ramirez almost scored his first touchdown of the season, on a counter play over the left side for 36 yards. He lost the score when the Eagles were flagged for an illegal block at the 2--yard-line, but two plays later he would get the ball back into the end zone on a nine-yard run and put Pecos ahead to stay midway through the second period.

Fabens had their shot at tying the game on the next series. After recovering another short kick by Albert Lopez, Solis would run for a first down, and then on 3rd-and-8 from the 33 the Wildcats tried an option pass off a reverse using their former starting quarterback, Daniel Cordero. But he waited too long to get the ball off to Sergio Ceballos, and Martinez was able to step in front of him at the 6 for the interception, and returned it 62 yards to the Wildcats’ 32. Pecos then ran for a first down, survived a fumble by Ramirez and on the ensuing play, Zubeldia hit Martinez on a 26-yard pass that Garay failed to make a play on. A two-point run by Ortega made it 21-7 with 30 seconds left before halftime.

Fabens almost scored on the final play of the half, as Ceballos eluded several Pecos tacklers before being brought down at the Eagles’ 26-yard-line. And then the Eagles lost a touchdown to start the second half, as a holding call wiped out a 13-yard TD run by Ortega set up by a 51-yard pass from Zubeldia to Martinez. Pecos would add two more penalties and ended up instead with a Zubeldia quick kick, but on their next series the Eagles would drive 54-yard on six plays to take a 21-point lead.

The big play was a 34-yard run by Ramirez, off what was supposed to be a lateral off an option play by Zubeldia, but ended up as a shovel pass when the quarterback underhanded the ball forward to his running back, while just behind the line of scrimmage. The play got the ball down to the 7, and Ortega got it into the end zone two plays after that.

Fabens would then be flagged for its lone penalty of the night, for 1 1/2 yards on the extra point try, while Pecos was hit with nine penalties in the game, a disparity that Henson wasn’t happy about.

“We were fighting them all night,” he said. “They were doing stuff like holding and illegal blocks that is not allowed by Permian Basin referees that they let them get away with. But the officials weren’t the reason they stayed in the game. We just make a lot of mistakes.” The Eagles had a chance to seal the victory right after Ortega’s score, when Xavier Tersero picked off a long pass from Solis meant for Ceballos at the Pecos 26-yard line. But on the next play Zubeldia was pressured as he rolled out on a pass and didn’t see Trevizo, who picked off the ball at the 30 and ran it back 24 yards. Garcia went around right end one play later for the score, and the Wildcats were back in the game.

Fabens’ Jaime Silva would stop Tersero behind the line for a loss to kill Pecos’ next drive, and after Solis recovered his own fumble on the Wildcats’ next play, he would toss a pass to Miller on the left sideline, and he would break a tackle by Reyes and race 47 yards to the end zone as the quarter came to a end.

Suddenly up by just seven, the Eagles would go back to a steady diet of Ortega. The senior carried the ball seven times after Pecos took over at their own 5-yard-line following another holding call, gaining 33 yards on his first two carries and then getting a key two yards on a 4th-and-1 at midfield. He would then gain 14 yards each on two carries before Zubeldia’s TD pass to Martinez, on a 2nd-and-13 play with 6:50 left in the game. Reyes’ kick made it 35-21, and the Eagles were able to make Fabens use up most of the clock before they scored with 1:35 to play, then ran out the clock after Ramirez fielded Garcia’s line-drive onsides kick at the Pecos 45-yard line.

The win got Pecos back to .500 for the season and in district, at 4-4 and 2-2, while Fabens fell to 1-4 in district and 2-7 on the season. The Eagles were helped out by Monahans, which all but clinched the 1-3A title with a 35-0 win at Fort Stockton, putting the Loboes at 4-0 and the Panthers at 3-1 going into their game this Friday at Pecos.

The Eagles can assure themselves of a playoff spot with a win of eight points or more over the Panthers, and a win in their final game of the season over Tornillo. Fort Stockton can clinch a playoff berth with a win, while the teams could end up in a three-way tiebreaker with Clint for the final two playoff berths, depending on the outcome of this week’s games and the Lions’ final regular season game at Fort Stockton.

Pecos girls to face Tornillo after 2nd place playoff win

The highs weren’t as high for the Pecos Eagles on Saturday against the Presidio Blue Devils, but the lows weren’t as low as their match four days earlier had been, and the result was a win in a playoff for second place in the District 2-3A volleyball standings.

The Eagles, who scored a couple of convincing wins over Presidio on Tuesday, only to see the Blue Devils win three close games to take the match and force a second place playoff, reversed those results on Saturday at the Gallego Center in Alpine. They shook off poor performances in the first and third games to defeat Presidio, 22-25, 25-17, 16-25, 25-20, 15-11, to advance to a bi-district game against Tornillo at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Van Horn. “We started out slow,” said Eagles’ coach Helen Kimbrough, whose team will be making their first trip to the playoffs in three years. “We haven’t been here in a while and we were so nervous, we forgot our game plan.

“The difference between this and the other game was in practice, we practiced offense, offense, offense, and we knew what we were supposed to do and finally started doing it,” she said. “But for a while we never got into it, except for the second game. Then in the fifth game, we executed the offense, but then we backed off an started playing not to lose.”

Pecos only lost the opener by three, but the game wasn’t close until the end, when a series of Presidio mistakes allowed the Eagles to cut a 22-12 deficit to 23-21. Pecos had problems getting any kind of offense going at the outset, while struggling against the Blue Devils’ Vanessa Armendariz, who had six kills for points early in the game. The Eagles would get a couple of points off hits by Brittany Rodriguez and Amber Pando during their 9-1 run, along with a block by Rodriguez and an ace by Pando, but two kills by outside hitter Arcely Levario allowed Presidio to escape with the win.

In Game 2, the Eagles went up to stay at 4-3 on a block by Gabby Garcia. She and Claire Weinacht would have two kills and Adriana Armendariz would have a block of as part of a 14-6 run by Pecos. The Eagles would get their biggest lead at 20-10 on a block by Rodriguez of Yubia Zubia, and finished off the game with a kill by Jasmine Rayos.

But the Eagles couldn’t carry their momentum into Game 3. Pecos held a 7-5 lead, but was then outscored 17-5 over the next few minutes. Levario tied the game at 7-7 with a kill and a bad spike by Rodriguez would put Presidio ahead. The Eagles had several other unforced errors for points, while Levario and Zubia found openings against the Eagles’ defense.

Pecos would take the lead for good in Game 4 on a bad tip attempt by Levario. It put the Eagles up by a 6-5 margin at the time, but unlike the first three games, neither team was able to stage a major run. The biggest streak was a 6-2 run by Pecos midway through the game that widened a 12-10 lead to 18-12. Garcia and Rodriguez had blocks for points and Rayos had a kill during that run, and the Eagles were able to maintain at least a three point margin the rest of the way, before winning on a spike by Pando.

Pecos never trailed in Game 5, going up 2-1 on a Rayos kill, and eventually taking a 10-4 lead off spikes by Adriana Armendariz, Garcia and a block by Rodriguez on Vanessa Armendariz. But the Blue Devils would wipe out all but one point of that lead, as Pecos’ hitters and setter Ashley Ornelas had some communications problems before Kimbrough called a time-out.

“They just had to realize where to hit the ball, and when they did that, the girls pulled it out,” said the Eagles’ coach, who added her team was trying to avoid their problems from last Tuesday, when they tried to hit the ball too hard and sent it out of bounds.

“They don’t know how to off-speed hit, but that’s what we were supposed to do. Off-speed hitting does not mean not hit it hard, but means placing it in a certain area of the court,” she said.

After the time-out, the teams would trade points, before the Eagles would win the game off a kill by Armendariz, a couple of bad hits by Levario and a tip by Weinacht that Presidio’s Maria Morales was unable to handle.

The win improved Pecos’ record to 24-9 on the season and 4-3 in district, while Presidio falls to 19-17 and 3-4 going into their playoff match-up with Fabens. Those teams will play in Van Horn at 5:30 p.m., with the Eagles’ match against the Coyotes to follow at 7 p.m., or when the Blue Devils and Wildcats finish their match. Fabens placed second and Tornillo third in District 1-3A, which was won by Clint.

“I think this will help Pecos for our next match, by beating Presidio,” Kimbrough said. “It will help their confidence, and make them a little less nervous. Most of these girls haven’t been in this situation before this year, and going to the playoffs for them is a little bit mind-boggling.”

The winner of the Pecos-Tornillo match will advance to the area round later this week, against District 3-3A champion Sweetwater, at a site and time to be determined. District 1-3A champ Monahans drew a first round bye and will play a practice game in Denver City on Tuesday, while awaiting the winner of the Andrews-Brownfield bi-district game.

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