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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bears down ‘Horns in volleyball opener

The Balmorhea Bears opened their 2006 volleyball season on Monday by rallying to win a five-game match in Imperial over the Longhorns.

After losing their first two games by 25-22 and 29-27 scores, the Bears came back to win the final three games, 25-9, 25-17, 16-14.

“We’ve got a good team, and have got some good experience coming back,” said coach Mary Garcia, who has nine returning players off last year’s team, and 19 out overall this season.

The Bears will play a non-district game against District 2-A rival Marathon on the Mustangs’ home court this Friday. Marathon, Marfa and Fort Davis are Balmorhea’s district rivals this season, and Garcia, “We’ve got three going to the playoffs this year out of the district, so we’re working to be in the Top 3.”

Balmorhea’s home opener is next Tuesday, against Buena Vista and Grandfalls.

Pecos falls to Wink in season opener

Consistency, a problem for the Pecos Eagles volleyball team for the past two seasons, was a problem again on Tuesday, this time for new head coach Helen Kimbrough, in the Eagles’ season-opening loss to the Wink Wildcats.

The Eagles lost at Wink by 25-23, 25-13, 25-12 scores, and will now take on Midland High on Friday morning, in the opening round of the Monahans Sandhills Tournament. That match is set for an 11 a.m. start; with two more matches later that afternoon and evening to determine seeding for Saturday’s championship and consolation finals.

Maintaining momentum has been a problems for Pecos while missing the playoffs the past two years, and Kimbrough said Tuesday’s match wasn’t any different.

“In the first game we were went out and were hitting,” she said. “We were on top of things, attacking and having fun. Then it seemed like all of a sudden we realized we were playing in a game and got jittery and started losing our composure.”

“It wasn’t the things they (Wink) were doing, we were making mistakes. We were in the net about 10 times,” she said. “We did really good on the (defensive) covers, but on hitting we were off. We were trying to kill the ball and kept hitting it out, hitting it out, and the setters kept setting the ball to same hitters.

“I understand the setters wanting to go back to the hitters, but you’ve got to give them some time to regain their confidence. Right now, when things go wrong, they don’t know how to compose themselves,” said Kimbrough, who added she plans to focus more on the basics in the next few days.

“I’m going to stop coaching and start teaching. I need to teach them the fundamentals and what I want them to do out there,” she said.

Pecos will face a Midland High team that dropped their season opener in five games at home to the Eagles’ district rival Monahans, by scores of 13-25, 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 16-14. The winners of their match will advance to the championship bracket seeding semifinals against either Seminole or Midland Christian, at 2:30 p.m., while the losers between those teams will be in the consolation bracket seeding semifinal, at 3 p.m.

The tournament is divided into two brackets on Friday, which will determine the top seeds on each half of the brackets in championship and consolation round play starting Saturday morning. Quarterfinals in both brackets will start between 8 a.m. and 12 noon at the Larned Special Events Center or at the old Monahans High School gym.

Along with Monahans, Fort Stockton is the other District 2-3A team entered in the tournament. They face El Paso Montwood in their opener, while the host Loboes opener is against El Paso Bowie. Frenship plays Van Horn and Sierra Blanca takes on Dalhart in the other matches on Monahans’ side of the bracket, while the other two games on Pecos’ half of Friday’s bracket match Lubbock Trinity against El Paso Ysleta and Andrews against Alpine.

The Eagles’ junior varsity also will play in Monahans this weekend, with their first tournament game set for 4 p.m. on Friday versus Midland Lee. That division of the tournament will be a regular 16-team bracket, though with only 14 teams entered, a loss would drop the JV into a consolation semifinal match at noon on Saturday. A win would put Pecos into a 7 p.m. match Friday versus Midland High gold, which drew one of the opening byes.

The Eagles’ JV opened their season on Tuesday by rallying for a 19-25, 25-23, 25-13 victory over Wink, while the ninth grade Eagles swept their opener over the Wildcats by 25-19, 25-15 scores. The ninth graders are off until next Tuesday, when all three Pecos teams face Van Horn and Fort Davis.

Eagles to test new offense against Indians

The Pecos Eagles go into the 2006 season with a new coaching staff and some high hopes after a string of four straight low-win seasons. And Saturday morning, they’ll return to the site of one of their lowest moments from a year ago, when they travel to Seminole to scrimmage the Indians.

It will be the debut for new head coach Chris Henson, with the varsity expected to start sometime around 11:45 a.m., after the junior varsity and freshmen teams hold their scrimmages at 10:30 a.m.

Henson takes over an Eagle team that posted back-to-back 1-9 seasons, and who are 6-33 over the last four seasons, with last year’s record including a 35-0 loss at Seminole. Pecos was only able to suit up 22 players that night, and saw Seminole quarterback Eric Boyd run for 145 yards and two touchdowns, while passing for another 145 yards and two scores.

Boyd is back, along with several of his receivers and running backs Corbin McDaniel and Manny Gonzales, while the Eagles will debut their “old style” wing-T offense, after going with one-back and spread offenses similar to Seminole’s attack over the past few seasons. “Seminole runs a wide-open offense. They work out of the shotgun every time and never take a snap under center,” said Henson. “They spread the field and use 3-4 receivers every time, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. The defense has got to be ready.

“As many teams that we play who run the spread, this will be a good game for us,” Henson said.

Henson said the Eagles struggled working with their new system on Monday in practice, but looked better during drills on Tuesday.

“We’re putting in so many new formations and plays, sometimes they’re thinking too much. But when they review and get after it, they’ll be fine,” he said. “Thursday is the last day we’ll be putting in new stuff. I think after that, they’ll get better and better.”

Eagles’ running back Luis Ortega gained 131 yards last year in the loss to Seminole, and returns most of his offensive line, while Henson said sophomores would be starting in several key positions on offense Saturday.

“Paul Zubledia will be the quarterback for us,” he said. While two other sophomores, tailback Hector Ramirez and split end Jeremy Martinez, will also be the starting lineup for the opening 20-play series. Henson said Martinez would split time with juniors Jeremy Dunlop and Drake Bradley at receiver, while Xavier Tercero would be at wingback.

The line will be all seniors, in tackles Michael Lee and Chris Navarette, guards Mason Baeza and Albert Lopez, and center Ruben Salgado, while senior Robert Nunez will start at tight end.

Defensively, Henson said Navarette, Baeza and Nunez also would be starters on the line. Aaron Navarette would be the other starter, at defensive end, while Wayne Sparkman, Jesse Hanks and Kenny Rayos would start at linebacker, Tercero and Aaron Urias at free and strong safety, and Timo Reyes and Eric Pena at the corners.

Henson said both he and Seminole coach Chris Burtch agreed to hold back their defenses a little in the first scrimmage of the season to protect their quarterbacks. “We agreed to run line stunts, but we won’t be sending our linebackers,” he said.

The teams will run 20 plays with their first team offense and defense, then 15 plays with their second team units. The two groups will then get one more chance apiece, during four 10-play series that close out of the scrimmage. The JV and ninth graders will have 20 plays on offense and defense with their first team units, and 15 plays each with their second teamers.

Saturday’s scrimmage will be the first of two for Pecos against former district rivals. They’ll go to Greenwood next Thursday to scrimmage the Rangers, then open their 2006 season on Sept. 2 with an afternoon game at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa against Alpine.

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