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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Eagles’ tennis openers cancelled

The Pecos Eagle tennis team’s season opening matches scheduled for this past weekend in Fort Stockton were cancelled, coach Bernadette Ornelas said last week.

“They’ve got a new coach down there, and they’re just getting things organized,” said Ornelas, who took over as head coach for the Eagles this season, after serving as head coach back in the late 1990s.

Pecos’ 2006 fall season opener is now scheduled for Sept. 9 in Monahans, when they’ll take on the Sweetwater Mustangs. They’re scheduled to go to Fort Stockton three days later, for a dual meet against the Panthers.

Jurado satisfied with results from cross-country opener

The cross-country season opened for the Pecos Eagles this past Saturday in Monahans, where the Eagles picked up a few Top 10 finishes in their divisions and the first place trophy overall in the junior varsity division of the Monahans Invitational.

Ray Gonzales took fifth for the varsity boys in their division, while German Rodriguez was second, Edward Rodriguez fourth, Jesse Juarez fifth and Stephen Apolinar sixth in the JVB bracket, coach Rudy Jurado said.

“I didn’t know what I had, because I have a lot of new runners coming in, but after this, I think we have a real good chance of competing this year,” said Jurado, who did not have enough varsity runners on Saturday to qualify for a team score in the meet, which featured six other schools.

Gonzales ran a 17:50 time for his fifth place finish over the three-mile course, while Gus Mendoza was 15th for the varsity with a 19:25 time and Aaron Mendoza was 16th, with a time of 19:50. In the JV division, German Rodriguez’s time of 18:50 was good enough for second, while Edward Rodriguez had a 19:35 time, Juarez had a 19:37 time and Apolinar had a time of 19:44. Austin Vernon was the other runner for the JV, and placed 14th with a time of 22:42.

On the girls’ side, Jurado said, “I only had the Lamka twins running for me Saturday.” Kathryn Lamka had a 15:56 time over the two-mile course for a 22nd place finish, while Heather Lamka ran a 16:10 time and was 24th.

Jurado said he had four girls competing in the junior high division at Monahans, two of whom finished in the Top 10. Kayla Natividad was fourth, with a time of 15:25, while Carissa Cerna was eighth, with a 16:21 time. Anna Cerna, with a 19:09 time, and Sabrina Moya, with a 19:27 time, were the other junior high runners.

The Eagles will have their second cross country meet of the season this coming Saturday in Seminole. “The JV guys who got first place, I’m going to throw them in with the varsity at Seminole, and see how good we are,” Jurado said.

Late effort is bright spot for Pecos at scrimmage

Normally, when you’re having a day like the Pecos Eagles’ football team was having against the Greenwood Rangers, you can’t wait for the game to get over. However, in the case of the Eagles’ final pre-season scrimmage, they’re glad they hung around for the 12-minute timed quarter against the Rangers Thursday night.

Greenwood’s Michael Washington and Lane Flowers ran at will on Pecos during the first 15-play series, and things weren’t much better for the Eagles’ second team defense during their series against the Rangers. Greenwood scored four touchdowns and gained over 300 yards during that first series, and scored twice more with their second team against the Eagles.

Pecos still had its problems stopping the Rangers’ running game during the live quarter of play, but Greenwood also ran into problems stopping the Eagles’ attack. Greenwood scored on their first and final possessions, while running back Luis Ortega gained 98 yards and had a 10-yard touchdown run for Pecos, a score that followed an interception by Timo Reyes, one of the Eagles’ few defensive highlights of the night.

“The effort was there during the live quarter, not during the scrimmage,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “We got our heads down.”

Henson added that the Eagles only worked for a couple of days on defending the Rangers’ wishbone style offense. “We’ve been getting ready for Alpine, and they don’t do much of that,” he said.

The Eagles face Alpine this coming Saturday at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa in their 2006 season opener.

Pecos moved the ball at times with their first-team offense during their initial 15 plays on Thursday, but saw two drives halted by busted plays. However, on their first offensive play the Rangers ran Flowers through the middle of the Eagles’ defense 70 yards for a score. They then needed three plays to score another touchdown, this one on a 27-yard pass from Washington to Flowers, and two plays after that Washington went 70 yards for the third score.

“It was just busted assignment after busted assignment. We’d have two people on the pitch and no one on the dive, or two on the dive and no one on the pitch,” Henson said.

Washington replaced Colton Wilbur at quarterback for Greenwood, after Wilbur suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Rangers’ scrimmage the previous Saturday against Monahans. But the senior already had spent a year as a starting quarterback, playing for Stanton in 2004, before transferring to Greenwood last season. “He’s a pretty shifty runner,” said Henson.

Greenwood added one more touchdown on a 20-yard Flowers run before the first series was over, and in the second series would score twice more with their second unit, though that group was also plagued by a series of fumbles.

On offense, the Eagles’ second team line struggled to hold off the Rangers’ line, which made things rough on quarterback Paul Zubledia.

“Aaron (Urias) injured his thumb in practice, so Paul took all the snaps,” Henson said of the sophomore. “I thought Paul threw the ball well and made some good reads. He got a lot of pressure on him, but he stayed in the pocket and took some big hits.”

The live quarter began with an 11-yard run by Ortega, followed by a 22-yard pass from Zubeldia to Hector Ramirez. But after a busted play led to a sack, a Zubledia pass was intercepted by Greenwood at their own 30. Two plays later Washington ran a 25-yard option play before pitching the ball to Bryce Williams, who went the final 45 yards for a touchdown.

Ortega would run 36 yards on Pecos’ next play from scrimmage, but that drive would be stopped on a Zubeldia sack, and Greenwood took over on their own 12 after an Ortega punt. Another 15 yard gain followed, but when the Rangers tried a pass to the left side it was picked off by Reyes, who returned it from the 41 to the Greenwood 35.

Ortega would take it 24 yards to the 11 on the second play from scrimmage, and two plays after that, went around the right side 10 yards for the score.

The Rangers would answer back with their only long drive of the night in terms of plays, an eight-play 70-yard series that ended with an eight-yard TD run by Washington with 47 seconds left to play. Ortega would run for 12 more yards on two carries after that to close out the scrimmage.

Despite the overall result, Henson said, “We’re ahead of where I thought they’d be, and I’m pleased with their attitude.”

Pecos’ junior varsity ran into similar problems handling Greenwood’s option attack, falling in their scrimmage to the Rangers by a 5-1 score. Pecos’ touchdown came on a 70-yard run by Gabe Bailey on the first series. The Eagles’ freshmen fared much better, beating Greenwood, 2-0, with both scores coming on the second series. Nick Granado scored from one yard out after a 69 yard run, and a 65-yard run by Jake Varela set up Pecos’ other score.

The JV starts its season at home this Thursday night against Alpine, while the ninth graders will begin their season against Fort Stockton on Thursday night.

Eagles stage comebacks to win Cantaloupe title

The second week of the 2006 volleyball season for the Pecos Eagles was highlighted by late game comebacks, including a pair of rallies that helped the Eagles earn first place Saturday night in their own Cantaloupe Classic Volleyball Tournament.

The Eagles rallied after dropping their first two games in the finals to District 2-3A rival Presidio, coming back from match point in Game 3 to beat the Blue Devils, 23-25, 13-25, 26-24, 25-6, 15-8. That came after Pecos rallied in the tournament’s semifinals for a 23-25, 25-16, 25-23 victory over the Marfa Shorthorns.

Presidio had advanced to the tournament title match by rallying to defeat Fort Stockton, 24-26, 25-20, 25-20 in the other semifinal, and had won six straight matches against Pecos, dating back to the middle of the 2004 season. The Blue Devils looked as if they were going to make it seven in a row on Saturday, before the Eagles came back.

“It was 24-21 in the third game. They had match point four times, but we came back and then we thumped them in the fourth game,” said assistant coach Tammy Walls. “Amber Pando played awesome in the last match and Jasmine (Rayos) got MVP.”

She said after missing their chance for a sweep, the Blue Devils fell apart in Game 4. “We served them off the court. They really lost their composure.”

Along with being their first win over Presidio since the first half of district play in 2004; it was also the first win by Pecos over any district team since that time. The Eagles lost a playoff for third place to Presidio two years ago, and went winless in district play last season.

“They really stepped it up and I was proud,” said Walls. “In the past, they wouldn’t have been able to do something like that.”

Pecos had opened Saturday with a 25-21, 25-19 win over Van Horn, a team they had lost to in two games a week earlier at the Sandhills tournament in Monahans, before beating in a comeback effort last Monday in Van Horn.

In both those games, the Eagles were able to pull away towards the end of the game, breaking a 14-all tie in the opener and then an 18-18 tie in Game 2. But things were different against Marfa, as Pecos had problems in the opening game with Shorthorns hitter Leia McWilliams, before winning Game 2 and then rallying from a 20-17 deficit to take the deciding game of the match.

“I told the hitters we’ve got to hit the ball, and not hit floaters,” said head coach Helen Kimbrough. “We’ve got to hit the ball, and when we do hit, the game opens up for us. “They’ve got one good hitter, and when she’s on the back line, we’ve got to take advantage,” Kimbrough said. “Ruth (McWilliams, Marfa coach)’s daughter is awesome, but I think I’ve got four good hitters. Today, Amber, Brittany (Rodriguez) and Jasmine hit the ball for us, and we played good defense, or we wouldn’t get where we are.”

Rayos and Orona had kills in Pecos 7-0 run that took them from three points down to match point. But the Eagles the had to survive a Shorthorns comeback on hits by Adella Medrano and Brittany Serrano that got them to within one point, before a spike by Serrano went into the net to end the game.

Against Van Horn, Rayos and Orona led the Eagles’ Game 2 rally that brought them from an 18-13 deficit to win, while Gabby Garcia closed out the first game with a spike off Edith Urias, after the visiting Eagles had cut their 24-19 deficit to 24-21.

Pecos advanced to that match with a sweep of two matches on Friday over Fort Davis. The Eagles and Indians were scheduled to play pool round matches against El Paso Parkland, but the Matadors cancelled out of the tournament at the last minute, forcing the teams to play a pair of matches before both advanced to the championship bracket.

Rodriguez and Amalie Herrera were named to the All-Tournament team for Pecos along with Rayos, McWilliams, Presidio hitters Cynthia Corrales and Vanessa Armendariz and Van Horn’s Anna McBirnie.

The weekend wins lifted the Eagles’ season record to 9-4, following a 1-4 start. That record will get a test on Tuesday, when Pecos makes their second trip of the season to Wink, to face the Wildcats and Alpine Bucks starting at 4 p.m.

Pecos was swept by Wink back on Aug. 15 in their regular season opener, and finished behind Alpine that weekend at the Monahans Sandhills Tournament. The Eagles then return home for a 4 p.m. match on Friday against Dell City, a varsity-only contest.

Pecos’ junior varsity and ninth grade teams ended up second in their divisions of the tournament. The ninth graders lost in the finals to Monahans by 25-23, 25-23 scores, while the JV was beaten by Odessa High, 25-15, 25-13. Both the JV and freshman squads also will face Wink and Alpine on Tuesday.

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