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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pecos hosts Frenship, Canutillo in Class 4A playoff

The Frenship Tigers and Canutillo Eagles will face each other this Saturday at Eagle Stadium, in a Class 4A-Division I area round football playoff game starting at 2 p.m.

Canutillo routed El Paso Andress by a 48-7 score in their bi-district playoff match, and goes into the game as the District 1-4A champion with a 9-2 record. Frenship captured the District 3-4A title and is undefeated, with an 11-0 record, after their 29-7 bi-district victory over Amarillo Palo Duro.

Two other Class 4A area round games Pecos had been hoping to get instead will be played in Midland and El Paso. San Angelo Lake View will face El Paso Parkland at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, while Big Spring will travel to El Paso Riverside to face the Rangers in an 8 p.m. game on Friday.

Also in Midland on Saturday will be the Class 3A-Division I playoff between Seminole and Abilene Wylie, and in Division II, Snyder and Monahans will have their annual playoff meeting on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Mustang Bowl in Andrews.

Pecos puts eight on 4-3A volleyball team

Pecos Eagles senior Leia McWilliams was named as the Most Valuable Player in volleyball for District 4-3A, while four other Eagles were chosen to the first team in voting by the district’s coaches.

The team was selected last Wednesday, following Pecos’ loss to Brownwood in the Region I-3A quarterfinals. The Lions went on this weekend to beat Wimberly and Fredericksburg to advance to win the Region I-3A title and advance to the Class 3A state tournament.

Along with the five first team picks, three other Eagles were named to the second team and one received honorable mention, coach Ruth McWilliams said, after Pecos went 10-0 in district and won their first title since the 2000 season.

This was the first season in Pecos for both the Eagles’ coach and her daughter, and Leia McWilliams led the Eagles in kills and also served as one of Pecos’ two main setters while claiming one of the two top awards won by the Eagles. The other, for Outstanding Defensive Player, was shared by senior Kristen Ikeler with Fabens senior Joelene Lettunich, while senior hitters Jasmine Rayos and Gabby Garcia and junior setter Aileen Rayos were also chosen to the first team squad.

Pecos’ second-team selections were junior outside hitter Ally Salcido, senior outside hitter Claire Weinacht and freshman outside hitter Marissa Tarango, while senior Brittany Palomino, who shared time with Ikeler at libero on the back line, was an honorable mention selection.

McWilliams had previously earned all-district honors playing for Marfa, while Rayos was chosen for the third year in a row as middle hitter to the all-district squad for Pecos, after sharing Newcomer of the Year honors as a freshman. Rayos was the second-leading hitter this season for the Eagles, while Garcia was third in hitting, and earned first team all-district honors for the second year in a row.

Ikeler and Rayos were both first time selections both to the first team and to the all-district team overall, in their first year as regular starters for Pecos. For the Eagles named to the second team, it was the second year in a row for Weinacht, while Salcido was chosen after earning Newcomer honors in 2007. Tarango was chosen after moving up from the junior varsity midway through the district schedule, while Palomino was an honorable mention pick for the second straight year.

Another freshman, Clint’s Jessica Alvarez, was chosen as the 2008 Newcomer of the Year, while the third place Lions and second place Wildcats both had two of the other individual honors.

Along with Lettunch, Fabens also had senior Mandy Sepulveda named the district’s Outstanding Setter, while Clint sophomore Madelynn Cera was chosen as 4-3A’s Outstanding Hitter, and her teammate, senior Liana Renteria, was picked as the Outstanding Blocker.

The rest of the first team was made up of Clint sophomore Krysta Arnold, Tornillo senior Jissell Reyes, Anthony senior Lourdes Ramirez and two Fort Stockton seniors, Karin Acosta and Irma Garcia.

The other second team picks included Fabens senior Jackie Spence, Clint junior Stephanie Garfield, Tornillo junior Marian Valenzuela, Fort Stockton sophomore Alaina Granado and Prowlers junior Bri Granado.

Missed extra points end Eagles season

About the only time the Pecos Eagles or the Greenwood Rangers were able to stop each others running games Thursday night was when they stopped themselves.

Unfortunately for Pecos, the Rangers were also able to stop Pecos’ extra point tries better than the Eagles could stop Greenwood kicker Mark Burfiend from making his extra points, and that turned out to be the difference in the game

Bevan Moody was able to break through and block Junior Carrasco’s extra point attempt 57 seconds into the game, and Kelby Winn knocked away a two-point conversion pass meant for Carrasco at the end of the quarter, and that turned out to be two-thirds of the Rangers’ margin of victory, as Greenwood ended Pecos’ 2008 football season with a 35-32 win in their Class 3A bi-district playoff game at Midland’s Grande Communications Stadium.

“We just didn’t convert those extra points, and that turned out to be the difference,” said coach Chris Henson. “But our kids never gave up, and the biggest thing I can say about that is I was proud of their attitude.”

The block came after the Eagles successfully ran the halfback option pass with running back Timo Reyes at the start of the game for the second time this season. It went for an 86-yard touchdown to Luis Morales against Denver City; this time, Carrasco was at the far end of Reyes 2nd-and-1 pass and went 72-yards for the score.

The Eagles then stopped Greenwood on downs and picked up two first downs on their next series before being stopped, and after a punt to the Greenwood 40 the Rangers got their running game going.

Kinsey Williams broke free for 28 yards, to start off a 212-yard rushing night for the senior. Quarterback Black McCulloch then ran 17 yards on a quarterback keeper, which set up Williams’ first touchdown of the game, a nine-yarder with 3:13 left in the period.

The Eagles, who ended up outrushing the Rangers by 19 yards and outgaining them by over 100, answered with their own 70-yard scoring drive, most of that by Reyes, who had 40 of his 112 yards rushing on a pitch around the left end. That set up the first score of the night for Hector Ramirez, who went over on an 11-yard run 28 seconds before the end of the period to put Pecos back on top.

The Eagles again were able to stop the Rangers after their score, but one play after taking over at their own 25 Ramirez fumbled on a run up the middle, with Zac Kraft recovering for Greenwood at the 23. McCulloch immediately dumped a pass off to wingback Adam Norris for 15 yards to the Pecos 8, and two plays later goal line running back Stacey Smith score the first of his two TDs on a four-yard run, giving the Rangers back the lead.

This time, it was Greenwood stopping Pecos after their touchdown, and the Rangers then needed just four plays to go 60-yards for their third touchdown. Williams got it from a yard out with 4:17 left in the half, after a 44-yard run on the previous play.

Up by nine, Greenwood coach Steve Taylor lost a big gamble on the Rangers’ next series to get Pecos back in the game. A 58-yard punt by Carrasco pinned the Rangers back at their own 1, but after Williams went for nine yards on the next play, McCulloch was almost picked off by Carrasco on a deep pass to Dax Riley, and after Williams was stopped at the line on 3rd down, Taylor elected to go for it on 4th down at his own 10, only to see McCullouch fumble the snap and get tackled at the nine.

Reyes then needed two runs to get into the end zone with 1:08 left in the half, but Pecos couldn’t get to within two when Carrasco’s kick sailed wide to the right.

Carrasco would get one more chance to kick before the half was over, when Ariel Salgado didn’t bite on a play-action fake by McCullouch and picked off his deep pass for Brandt Cox at the Pecos 39 one play after the kickoff. Quarterback Paul Zubeldia then hit sideline passes to Reyes and Jeremy Martinez, the last getting Pecos to the Greenwood 25 with eight seconds left, where Carrasco ended up trying a 42-yard field goal, which was on-target, but short.

“The thinking there was he was in range. He had been hitting it from there in practice, and we were just trying to get it a little bit farther downfield,” Henson said. “We wanted to get it to the 25 to try it, but about five more yards and he would have had it.”

Greenwood didn’t do much to change up their offense in the second half, continuing to go to Williams while also catching a big break late in the third quarter. Backup quarterback Trey Edwards, who was in only for the first play on offense for the Rangers during the first half, a dropped pass by Williams. This time, he dumped off a pass to Kraft, who went 26 yards to the Pecos 22. That set up another run by Williams down to the 1, and another short TD run by Smith, with Burfiend’s kick upping the lead to 28-18.

Greenwood did change up their defense at halftime to contain the outside running of Reyes, who had 70 of his 112 yards by halftime. But just as with Clint a week earlier, the move opened things up for Ramirez, who ran for 107 of his 152 yards in the final two periods.

“Coach (Derrick) Price did a great job putting in a lot of audibles for Paul, and he was calling them all night,” Henson said. “When he would see something out there, he’d get us into the right offense.”

Pecos needed 5:05 to go 72 yards for their fourth touchdown, with Ramirez going up the middle for 20- and 27-yard runs. Reyes would then go up the middle for three yards on a 4th-and2 play from the five, and then went over on the next play. Morales, who started the season as the Eagles’ kicker, then converted the extra point try to make it 28-25.

Greenwood would then go on their own time-consuming drive, which included the big break of the second half, again with Edwards in at quarterback. He fumbled an attempted handoff on a 2nd-and-1 play from the Rangers 42, only to see it bounce right back up to him off the Astro-Play surface – due to be replaced in two weeks because of hardening of the rubber padding – which allowed him to scramble around left end for 26 yards.

“They made some plays, and the ball bounced the right way for them,” said Henson. “I told the coaches coming down here we’d be right with them if the ball would bounce our way a couple of times, but it didn’t.”

Williams would pick up another first down, and then on 4th-and-3 from the Pecos 20 McCulloch escaped the Eagles’ rushers behind the line and scrambled 13 yards down to the 7. A Williams’ TD run as the quarter ended was wiped out by an illegal formation call, but the Eagles weren’t able to capitalize on that mistake, as runs by Williams and Smith got the ball down to the 1, where on fourth down Riley scored with 10:36 left in regulation.

“Just the size of their offensive line just eventually wore us down defensively. Our guys were just up against 300-pound kids all night and it tired them out,” Henson said.

Down again by 10, the Eagles saw their own gamble on fourth down fail, as Carrasco was stopped on a 4th-and-10 fake punt run at the Rangers 36. “Ernesto (Jaramillo) was supposed to go out and Junior could throw the ball to him, but they held him and he didn’t get a chance to get out there,” Henson said.

No holding was called on that play, but the only holding call of the night followed a few moments later against Greenwood, and another dropped pass by Williams forced the Rangers to put with just under seven minutes left in the game.

Taking over at their own 23, the Eagles got as 17-yard run by Ramirez, then converted a 4th-and-3 play on a nine-yard run by Reyes. Zubeldia found Martinez for 12- and 7-yard completions after that to get inside the 10, where Stephen Apolinar couldn’t hang on to a pass at the goal line, then got a second chance on the next play and scored with 1:28 left.

Morales’ kick got Pecos to within three, but Edwards would then fall on the Eagles’ onside kick attempt at midfield, and on 2nd-and-7 Williams would go for six yards. Facing a 3rd-and-1, McCulloch was able to get three yards on a quarterback sneak, which gave the Rangers a first down and allowed them to run out the clock.

The loss ended Pecos’ season with a 4-7 record and snapped the four game winning streak the Eagles had to close out the regular season. Greenwood improves to 7-4 and moves on to face District 2-3A runner-up Sweetwater, 30-0 winners over Dalhart, in the area round of the Class 3A playoffs, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in Abilene.

The Eagles fared better than their two District 4-3A rivals, who had a rough time as expected with Monahans and Seminole, which shared the District 3-3A co-championship with Greenwood. Monahans traveled to Clint and scored eight touchdowns in the first half, on the way to a 70-6 win over the Lions, while Fort Stockton suffered through a series of turnovers against Seminole on Thursday at Ratliff Stadium, and were beaten by the Indians for the second time this season, 62-26.

Eagles host Rebels in girls hoop opener

The Pecos Eagles’ girls basketball team will get a tough test in their 2008 season opener on Tuesday night, when they host the Midland Lee Rebels in a 6 p.m. game at the Pecos High School gym.

The Eagles were supposed to have begun their season a week earlier in Wink. But with almost all of Pecos’ varsity players still involved with the Class 3A volleyball playoffs, that game, along with Friday’s scheduled game against Kermit, were cancelled.

The Eagles return all but one of their players off last year’s squad, that went 13-13 overall while winning Pecos’ first outright district title in girls basketball since 1970, and the first ever for the Eagles since Texas went to 5-on-5 girls basketball in 1977.

The Eagles have a new coach for the third straight season, with Brent McWilliams replacing Donna Gent. McWilliams, who coached at Marfa last season, will face the task of replacing all-district point guard Diana Parada, while competing in the new District 4-3A, which figures to be tougher overall than District 2-3A has been the past two seasons for the Eagles, when they lost to Snyder and then Seminole in the area round of the playoffs.

“I like what I see so far. I like the effort and how they’re picking things up,” McWilliams said.

Pecos returns their two leading scorers from last season in Gabby Garcia and Jasmine Rayos, and should be strong up front this year, while the big hole to fill will be Parada, who returned to Pecos last season after three years at Midland Lee and helped the Eagles handle breaking full-court presses more effectively than in recent years.

“We’ll be looking at Brittany Palomino, Aileen Rayos and at Kristen Ikeler, too,” McWilliams said. “In the system we’ll run we kind of have two guards who are interchangeable, so they’ll bother handle the job.”

“I have 11 suited up with the varsity,” McWilliams said. Along with his daughter Leia, he said junior Olivia Castilleja, sophomore Carissa Cerna and freshman Emily Rodriguez are the others new players to the varsity this season.

He added that because this coming Friday’s game against Presidio also has been cancelled, he may have a couple of junior varsity players also in Tuesday night’s game, following the Pecos-Lee JV contest set for 4:30 p.m.

Midland Lee already is 2-2 on the season, having opened with a win over Abilene Cooper, then falling to Canadian and Levelland at this past weekend’s Frenship Tournament, around a victory over Post. Audra Howard, who hit four 3-pointers against Pecos last year’s 47-21 win by Lee in Midland, has been the Rebels’ leading scorer so far in the early going this season, including a 17-point game last week against Cooper.

District play will open for the Eagles in three weeks, with a Dec. 12 home game against Clint, which won the District 1-3A title last season and won the district title three out of the four seasons Pecos and Clint were members of District 2-4A between 1999 and 2002.

“I’m thinking in district Clint ought to be pretty tough,” McWilliams said. “When I was in the district with them (at Alpine), they were usually pretty tough.”

The Eagles’ first road game will be Nov. 25 at Jal, N.M. Pecos’ boys, who had their season opener on Tuesday against Monahans cancelled due to the football playoffs, are scheduled to be in Jal this Friday night, for their 2008-09 opener.

Eagle swimmers score Pecos Invitational title sweep

It’s been a while since Pecos Eagles swimming coach Terri Morse has gotten throw in the pool by her team for something other than a district or regional title. But the Eagles coach and assistant Joan Capshaw were dunked Saturday afternoon, after both the girls and boys teams came away with first place finishes at the Pecos Invitational. Pecos’ girls racked up 278 points, well ahead of runner-up Clovis, which finished with 152 points in the 18-team field. The boys’ results were a little closer, but the Eagles still had a comfortable victory margin, scoring 228 points to 164 for runner-up Pampa.

“We had a great meet. We moved up in spots and cut seconds off our times, mainly in the relays,” Morse said. “The 200 (freestyle relay) moved up and surprised me on both the boys and girls sides.”

Neither relay team was seeded at the top, but the girls’ 200 free team of Anatalia Hernandez, Lauren Elliott, Alexcia Mendoza and Adrianna Roman won first with a 1:54.98 time, beating out Clovis by .19 second. The boys’ team of Edward Navarro, Frankie Morin, Gus Mendoza and Derek Teague couldn’t hold off Big Spring at the end, but still managed to place second to the Steers in the race, with their 1:41.12 time coming in just over a second behind Big Spring.

“I think we were more rested this week than we were at Midland (on Nov. 8 and two days after a dual meet at Andrews). That helped, and we were swimming at home, so the kids were really excited,” Morse said.

The win in the 200 free allowed Pecos’ girls to score a sweep of all three relays on Saturday. Roman, Elliott, Conner Armstrong and Alyson Reynolds close out the meet with a win in the 400-yard freestyle, while Saturday’s races opened with a win by Armstrong, Reynolds, Mendoza and Hernandez in the 200-yard medley relay. They had a 2:04.71 to beat out Lubbock High by 2 1/2 seconds, while the 400 team also beat out Lubbock High, this time by 4 1/2 seconds, winning with a 4:06.11 time.

Elliott also earned a first place in the 200-yard freestyle, with a 2:12.81 time for the other first place finish for the Eagles. She later placed fifth in the 100-yard free.

“Lauren Elliott had a great meet. It’s hard to say overall who did the best, because a lot of people came through in different things, but she won a race she wasn’t supposed to win,” Morse said.

The girls had several other second or third place finishes. Mendoza, who along with Elliott is two of the three freshmen swimmers for Pecos’ girls, took second in the 200 individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly; Reynolds placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke and third in the 500 free and Armstrong took second in the 100 backstroke.

Armstrong was also fourth in the 100 freestyle, while Anatalia Hernandez was fourth in the 200 medley and fifth in the 100 fly and Roman was fourth in the 500 free and seventh in the 50 free. The other finishes for Pecos included Dakota Hegar, sixth in the 50 free and ninth in the 100 free; Maggie Hernandez was seventh in the 100 fly and ninth in the 200 medley; Victoria Machuca, 15th in the 100 fly and 19th in the 100 breaststroke; and Tiffany Hunter, who was 23rd in the 100-yard backstroke and 25th in the 200 free.

The girls also had ‘B’ teams in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Machuca, Hunter, Hegar and Maggie Hernandez finished eighth in the 200 free, and the same four were ninth in the 400 free relay.

The boys had one less relay victory but two more individual wins. Carlos Navarro placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:09:34 time, while Josh Elliott took both his events, winning the 100-yard backstroke with a 58.61 time and taking the 200 individual medley with a 2:09.16 time. Navarro’s other finish was a fourth in the 100-yard freestyle.

Elliott, Mendoza, Teague and Carlos Navarro made up the 200 medley relay team that won with a 1:51.02 time, while Morin, Elliott, Carlos Navarro and Edward Navarro took the 400 free with a 3:38.76 time. Pecos’ ‘B’ team in the 400 freestyle of Gregory Roman, Tye Hegar, Clay Teague and Abraham Lujan finished 12th, while Lujan, Hegar, Roman and Austin Demor were 17th in the 200 medley relay and Demor, Clay Teague, Luis Villescas and Chase Price were 18th in the 200 free relay.

The other finishes for the boys were a fourth by Edward Navarro and an eighth by Morin in the 200 free; a third by Mendoza and a 16th by Demor in the 200 medley; a 12th by Derek Teague, a 24th by Roman, a 44th by Price, a 50th by Villescas and a 54th by Clay Teague in the 50 free; a seventh by Mendoza, a 19th by Lujan and a 20th by Demor in the 100-yard butterfly; a 22nd by Hegar and a 40th by Villescas in the 100 free; a second by Edward Navarro and a seventh by Morin in the 500 free; a 25th by Lujan and a 27th by Teague in the 100 backstroke; and a fifth by Derek Teague, a 17th by Hegar and a 28th by Price in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Roman on the boys’ side was the only diver for Pecos on Friday, and ended up finishing fourth in the 1-meter event. Lubbock High’s girls, with 148 points, and Big Spring’s boys, with 131 1/2 points, were the third place finishers in the meet, which featured all seven of Pecos’ District 4-4A rivals. The highest finisher on the girls’ side was their newest 4-4A opponent, Abilene Cooper, which took fourth with 102 points. After Big Spring for the boys, Monahans was next among the Eagles’ district rivals, finishing seventh with 78 points.

Pecos will be in Monahans this weekend for the Monahans Invitational, which usually features teams from both the El Paso area and southeastern New Mexico the Eagles normally don’t see at other times during the regular season. Morse said as is normally the case on the final weekend before Thanksgiving, she’ll be missing several swimmers due to 4-H/FFA agriculture events this coming Saturday.

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