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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, November 7, 2008

Eagles’ basketball seasons set to start

With the Pecos Eagles’ volleyball team in the playoffs and the Eagles’ football team headed there next week, Pecos’ basketball teams could be a little shorthanded, when they open their 2008-09 seasons over the next 10 days.

New girls’ coach Brent McWilliams will start off the new season at home this coming Tuesday night against the Wink Wildcats, while boys’ coach Sammy Soliz’s team starts off its 2008-09 season on Nov. 18 at home against the team the Eagles could be facing four days earlier in the Class 3A football playoffs, Monahans.

Pecos’ girls won their first-ever outright district title in 5-on-5 girls basketball and their first outright title overall since 1970 last season, before losing to Seminole in the area round of the Class 3A playoffs. But almost all of McWilliams’ returning players are currently with his wife, Ruth, and the Eagles’ volleyball team, which opens the Class 3A playoffs on Saturday with an area round match against Abilene Wylie.

If Pecos wins, they’ll be playing Seminole or Brownwood in the Region I-3A quarterfinals either next Monday or Tuesday night. The volleyball playoffs could also affect Pecos’ first two games, next Friday at Kermit and on Nov. 18, at home against Midland Lee. The Eagles’ football team will face either Monahans or Greenwood in the bi-district round of the playoffs. If they win and advance to the area round, it could affect both the basketball home opener against Monahans and their scheduled first road game, on Nov. 21 in Jal, N.M.

Pecos’ girls will have all their players out by the time they’re scheduled to face Seminole on Dec. 2, in a rematch of last year’s playoff contest. That’s followed up by their only varsity tournament of the season, at Greenwood on Dec. 4-6, and District 4-3A play starts a week later against the Clint Lions, who won the District 1-3A title last season while the Eagles were claiming the District 2-3A championship.

As with the girls’ volleyball schedule, the Eagles will play most of their district games on weekends due to the travel between Pecos and the El Paso area. The exceptions are a pair of Tuesday night match-ups against Fort Stockton, including their final regular season game on Feb. 10 on the Panthers’ home court. The open Tuesday dates during district play will be filled with home games against Kermit, Sweetwater, Greenwood, Jal and Presidio.

The boys haven’t had a winning season in 13 years and went winless in district play last year, but for the first time in four years have several starters coming back from last season, which ended with a loss to Monahans that left Pecos with a 5-21 record.

After their game against the Loboes, the Eagles have another home game before Thanksgiving against Presidio, then go on the road for a month before their next home contest, a pre-Christmas match-up against Lamesa. In-between, Pecos has two tournaments, at Alpine and Monahans, and will open district play at home on Jan. 3 against Tornillo.

That’s also the first of eight district doubleheaders for the Eagles, with the boys playing their varsity games following the girls’ varsity contest.

Seven of Pecos’ 10 district games on the boys’ side will also be on Friday, with the two exceptions being their home-and-home games on Jan. 13 and Feb. 10 versus Fort Stockton, and the Eagles’ final regular season game, which will be a 230-mile trip to Anthony on Tuesday, Feb. 17.

Rec department starts youth hoops sign-ups

The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department has begun signing up elementary-aged boys and girls for basketball off-season workouts, which will begin in mid-November and continue through mid-December, and for its winter basketball and fundamentals program, which will start in early January.

Off-season program coordinator Danny Rodriguez said the sign-up period started this past Monday and runs through next Friday, Nov. 7. There is no fee to register for the off-season program, which will be held at the Austin Elementary School gym on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from Nov. 17 though Dec. 19 after school, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

The program is for children currently enrolled in second through sixth grade. Forms were given out to students at school, or are available from Rodriguez , at his RCCRD office in the racquetball courts next to the old Pecos High School gym or in the main RCCRD office in the gym lobby.

For further information, call Rodriguez at either 447-0303 or (432) 230-9461.

The basketball and fundamentals program is open to boys and girls five years old and going through those currently in sixth grade. Sign-up fee is $10 per player, with a deadline of Friday, Dec. 19 for the fundamentals course and Friday, Jan. 9 for league play.

Late registration for league play only will continue through Jan. 16, with a late sign-up fee of $25 per player. Forms are available at the RCCRD office in the old PHS gym, and returned forms must have both parents’ signatures and a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

For further information, call the RCCRD office at 447-9776.

Pecos JV boys take first in Sweetwater golf

A couple of Pecos Eagle golfers who had good days last weekend in Andrews in varsity tournament play did well again on Monday in Sweetwater, as Pecos’ boys placed first in a one-day junior varsity tourney.

Sophomore Coe Duke placed first and freshman Josh Aguilar was second in the medalist competition, while the Eagles overall shot a 346 to beat out Abilene High’s Black team for first place in the JV Tournament. Coach Gaylon Doan said Duke shot a 77 and Aguilar had an 80, while Larry Martinez, shot an 89, Robert Carrasco had a 100 and Bryce Deitiker shot a 104 for Pecos’ other scores.

“Two years ago our varsity couldn’t break 350, so you can see there’s improvement,” Doan said. “It’s not grip-and-rip any more. The kids are learning to play the game the way it should be played.”

“The younger ones understand staying in the fairway is good. Some of my older ones think you’ve got to hit a 400-yard drive,” he added. “You can hit a 250-yard drive and still be in good shape, if you keep it in the fairway.”

Aguilar had shot a 147 over 36 holes at Andrews, including a 69 score on Saturday that was the low round for the tournament, while Duke’s 78 on Monday came after rounds of 79 and 77 in Andrews, where Pecos placed fifth with a 623 score.

“With the wind, and considering the shape of the golf course, I thought all of them did excellent,” Doan said of Monday’s tournament.

The host Mustangs were third in the tournament with a 353 score. Abilene High Gold, Abilene Cooper’s Red and Blue teams and Colorado City were the other teams competing in Sweetwater.

Seniors Heath Armstrong and Nathan Duke and junior Richard Dutchover are the other golfers out right now, and played in the Andrews Tournament. “In the spring I expect to have 15, and I have eight right now, so we should get seven more out,” Doan said. He said right now the Eagles have one more fall round tentatively set for next Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Reeves County Golf Course. It would be a three-way meet instead of a regular tournament.

“I’ll have Lamesa coming over, and I’m trying to get one other team,” Doan said. Pecos’ winter-spring season will open up on Feb. 6-7 in Monahans, with District 4-3A play scheduled for April 6 in Pecos and April 14 in El Paso.

Pecos’ girls team all to run at regional meet

Finishing third at the District 4-3A cross country meet in El Paso last week didn’t cost the Pecos Eagle girls cross-country team a trip to Lubbock as it turns out, and all five Pecos runners will be there on Saturday for the Region I-3A meet, along with two members of the Eagle boys’ cross-country team, though as of Thursday only one was scheduled to run.

Coach Rudy Jurado originally thought only three of his five girls would make the trip to Mae Simmons Park for the regional meet, after last Saturday’s District 4-3A meet at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso. Clint won the team title with 34 points to 41 for Fabens and 47 for the Eagles, while Pecos runners Kayla Natividad, Kristal Carrasco and Aileen Rayos automatically qualified for regionals by placing in the Top 10.

However, on Thursday, Jurado said his other two runners, Ashley Jasso and Sabryna Moya, would also be able to make the trip. “The top three teams go, so the whole girls team goes to regionals,” he said. “Hopefully, because the race was so close last week, maybe we can catch Fabens.”

“We had good times a month-and-a-half ago when we ran in Lubbock, so hopefully running there again where we had some of our best times we can catch Fabens, and then we’ll just see where we are in the standings,” he added.

In last week’s race, Natividad and Carrasco were fifth and sixth with times of 14:12.68 and 14:12.93 for the two-mile course. Rayos placed eighth, with a 14:39.15 time, while Jasso and Moya, finished 12th and 16th with times of 15:13.48 and 15:27.95.

Back in late September at Mae Simmons Park in the Class 3A division, Carrasco placed sixth with a 13:34.8 time, while Natividad was 12th with a 13:50.1 time. Jasso was the only other girl to run for the Eagles in Lubbock, and was 33rd, with a 14:49.7 time.

The late-morning race will be one of two post-season events on the day for Rayos, who will then make the 115-mile trip south to Big Spring, for Pecos’ 7 p.m. area round volleyball playoff match Saturday against Abilene Wylie. Jurado originally said if the Eagles didn’t qualify as a team, it wouldn’t be as important for the junior to compete at regionals. The five girls Pecos has running are the minimum required for a team score.

The boys will take two runners to Lubbock, but only Gus Mendoza is assured of running. “One will go to run, Gus, and Edward (Rodriguez) will go as an alternate,” Jurado said. Pecos only had four boys running at district, one below the five needed to qualify for a team score.

Mendoza placed eighth at district with a 17:28.45 time, just over a minute in back of winner Fred Cordero of Clint. Rodriguez ended up as regional alternate with an 11th place finish in El Paso, with an 18:17.53 time.

Back in September, Rodriguez placed ahead of Mendoza running in Lubbock, covering the three mile course in 17:38.9 to take 10th place, while Mendoza was 17th that day, with an 18:09.5 time.

Jurado said the girls’ race on Saturday would start at 11 a.m., while the boys would begin at 11:30 a.m. The Top 10 finishers at regionals will advance to the Class 3A state finals, scheduled next weekend in Georgetown.

Eagles, Lions play for second in final District 4-3A match-up

A trip to Midland or a visit to Monahans is on the line for the Pecos Eagles Friday night, along with second place in the District 4-3A standings, when they close out their 2008 regular season by hosting the Clint Lions in a 7:30 p.m. start.

The Eagles, who advanced to the Class 3A playoffs with their 47-17 victory a week ago at Anthony and will make their first post-season appearance in seven years next week, will be trying to snap a two-game losing streak to Clint, which last advanced to the post-season two years ago when they won in Pecos, and also clinched a post-season berth a week ago.

The two teams are tied for second place with 3-1 district records behind 4-0 Fort Stockton. For Pecos the wins came after six straight losses to open the season, while Clint comes in with an overall 6-3 mark, but the teams’ results against common opponents are almost identical.

Both the Eagles and Lions saw second half rallies fall short in district against Fort Stockton – Pecos losing by a 27-26 score at home and Clint by a 30-20 margin in Fort Stockton – both teams also routed Fabens and were routed by Alpine, struggled early before coming out on top in Anthony and jumped out to big early leads before cruising to wins over Tornillo.

The Eagles also struggled on defense in a pre-season scrimmage against Seminole, getting outscored six touchdowns to two, while the Indians went to Clint in late September and routed the Lions, 68-0. So Friday’s game should pit two evenly-matched teams, though their offensive styles are a little different.

“It should be a pretty good ballgame. I’m just glad we’ve got them at home and not on the road,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. Last year in Clint the Eagles fumbled the ball away four times, including two inside the 20 in the opening period, and one in the third quarter that was returned for a touchdown by Anthony Aguilar to stop a Pecos comeback attempt, as the Lions scored a 37-22 victory. Aguilar, who also had three receiving touchdowns and a field goal in the game, has graduated, but Clint has a few starters back on offense, including Edgar Martinez, who ran for 71 yards against the Eagles a year ago.

“”He scared us on both sides of the football,” Henson said. “At tailback, he lines up on the strong side and they like to run lots of leads with him.”

Martinez is actually Clint’s third leading rusher, behind Thomas Witter and Chris Villalobos, who took over at running the Lions’ wishbone attack for head coach Rosvel Martinez this season.

“We went all the way back two years ago to the first time we played them, and they’re pretty much running the same offense and the same defense,” Henson said. “They play four downs to make a first down. If it’s 4th-and-3 or less they’re going to go for it, so we’re concentrating on first and second down at trying to stop them from getting yardage so they don’t have something makeable.”

“Their line averages about 200 pounds, so they’re about the same size as us. They fire off extremely well. It’s not a deal where they’re going to try and fool you. They’re just going to come right at you, and then they try and lull you to sleep with the run and throw the ball on you, “ he added. Clint stayed exclusively on the ground last week, in their win over Tornillo, but Villalobos has throw for 678 yards and seven touchdowns, with five interceptions. Four of those scores have gone to wide receiver Jonathan Meza, who has 12 catches overall for 252 yards this season, while Henson said Joseph Castro and Willie Chavez are Villalobos’ other main targets.

Eagles’ quarterback Paul Zubeldia had five touchdown passes in last week’s win at Anthony. But the senior didn’t make it through last year’s game at Clint, as the Lions knocked him out in the first half with an injury, to go along with their four takeaways in the victory. They also held the Eagles’ quarterback, and running backs Hector Ramirez and Timo Reyes to a combined 88 yards rushing in that game.

Martinez and Daniel Huerta at linebacker and Witter and Joseph Castro at nose guard and defensive end have been Clint’s leading tacklers so far this season.

“In the second half (against Fort Stockton on Oct. 24) they controlled the ball and did a good job of stopping Fort Stockton’s offense,” Henson said. “They don’t make many mistakes.”

The Eagles will face either Monahans or Greenwood next week, in the bi-district round of the playoffs, depending on both the outcome of the Pecos-Clint game and the Rangers’ home game against the Loboes. Henson said a Pecos-Monahans match up would be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14 on the Loboes’ home field, while the Eagles would face Greenwood at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland.

“The kids are excited. Usually this week they’re talking about this being the last Monday of practice, so it’s kind of a nice feeling not knowing when your last game will be,” Henson said.

Meanwhile, if the Lions win or lose against the Eagles, they’re looking at a return trip to Pecos next week, if Clint ends up facing Greenwood in the bi-district round. Henson said if the Eagles wind up playing next Friday night in Monahans, the Lions will take on the Rangers at 7:30 p.m. next Saturday at Eagle Stadium.

Pecos wary of first-year Wylie squad in area playoffs

The Pecos Eagles did a lot of things this volleyball season for the first time in a long while. But on Saturday, they’ll be playing a team that’s already recorded two first-ever achievements and will be trying for their first-ever area round win, when the teams meet in Big Spring.

The Eagles will face the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Big Spring Junior High School gym on East Sixth Street, two blocks north of the Big Spring High School baseball field and the Big Spring YMCA pool.

Pecos will be trying to advance to the Region I-3A quarterfinals for the second time in three years, while for the Bulldogs, it would mean a trip to the quarterfinals in their first season of varsity competition. However, Eagles’ coach Ruth McWilliams said while the Bulldogs are new to varsity volleyball, they’ve had a program in start-up for the last couple of seasons.

“I have a lot of people tell me ‘They’re a first-year team’. No, it’s a 3-4 year old program. This is just their first year of varsity,” McWilliams said. “They’ve been playing together. It’s just like me moving kids up to the varsity level. They’ve had some experience.”

Wylie placed third in District 2-3A, beating out Graham for the final playoff spot behind Brownwood and Sweetwater. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs made it 1-for-1 in playoff matches, as they swept the Borger Bulldogs at Lubbock Coronado High School, 25-23, 25-22, 25-16.

“They looked pretty good, and did a good job with their assignments and played hard,” said McWilliams, who scouted Wylie on Tuesday. “I think Borger was a little tight and played tight throughout the match.”

In their win over Borger, Wyile got most of their kills from outside hitters Bailey Wilson and Natalie Davis, while Laruen Walker and Allison Phillips had seven blocks in the three-game win.

“They’ve played one playoff game and won one, so we’ve got to be ready,” said McWilliams, who added that the Eagles’ front line should match up evenly with the Bulldogs.

“We’re pretty comparable. They’ve got some big girls up front, and we’ve got some big girls,” she said.

Pecos has been off since closing out District 4-3A with a win on Oct. 28 over Fort Stockton. It allowed the Eagles to win their first district championship since 2000, and finish 4-3A play with a 10-0 record, their first undefeated district season since 1990.

Pecos advanced to the Region I-3A semifinals two years ago with playoff wins over Tornillo, Sweetwater and Lamesa. Last season, they again downed Tornillo in the bi-district round, then lost a five-game match in the area round to Andrews.

The winner of Saturday’s match will play either on Monday or Tuesday in the Region I-3A quarterfinals against Seminole or Brownwood. The Maidens advanced with a win over Pecos’ district rival Clint on Tuesday, 25-21, 28-26, 25-21, while Brownwood drew a bye after winning the District 2-3A title.

Seminole was second behind Monahans in District 3-3A while Clint placed third in District 4-3A this season. Fabens, the 4-3A runner-up to Pecos, fell at Alpine to Andrews, the third place team out of 3-3A, in a five-game match, 25-27, 25-14, 20-25, 25-13, 15-10. The Muistangs face Dalhart in their area match-up, and the winner there takes on the winner between Monahans and Lubbock Cooper next week.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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