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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

JV, freshmen split football season openers

The Pecos Eagles’ junior varsity and freshmen football teams ended up on the opposite sides of shutout games in their season openers, held on Thursday and Saturday at Eagle Stadium.

Pecos’ JV started their season off Thursday evening with a 48-0 win over the Alpine Bucks, while the ninth graders lost their season opener Saturday morning to the Iraan Braves’ JV, by a 24-0 score.

The JV scored early and often in their win, opening with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Dominic Bejarano to Arthur Navarrete, and a five-yard run by Ramiro Pinales following an Alpine turnover. Bejarano then connected with Cesar Lascano for a 35-yard TD on his only other attempt of the game, and that TD was followed by Donovan Rodriguez’s 74-yard touchdown run, and an 11-yard score by Mark Martinez in-between two more touchdowns from Pinales, on 23- and 27-yard runs.

The ninth graders saw a turnover inside the 15-yard-line take away their best chance to score against Iraan, after the Braves scored once in the first half and then added two more touchdowns in the final period.

Both the JV and ninth graders will play their first road games of the season this Thursday night in Kermit against the Yellowjackets, starting at 5 and 6:30 p.m.,while the Eagles’ junior high teams will open their 2008 seasons on Saturday at home against Kermit. The seventh grade game is set for a 12 noon start, while the eighth graders will kick off their season starting about 2 p.m.

Eagles can’t beat the spread, fall to Bucks

The spread offense was a problem in 2007 for the Pecos Eagles’ defense, and 2008 started off the same way for the Eagles on Friday night, in their season opener in Alpine.

The Bucks spread the field on the Eagles and then proceeded to run out to a 28-0 lead with just over 6 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter. Pecos then got its offense going and was able to cut the lead down to 14 with 10 minutes to play, and then had two chances to cut the lead to seven but couldn’t move the ball out of deep in their own end of the field, and the Bucks would take advantage with their final touchdown of the night in the closing minutes of their 41-21 victory.

“It’s something we’ve got to get fixed, because we’re facing so many spread teams,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “We didn’t do a good job in any part of it against them.”

Quarterback Dominic Scott ran 72-yards for a touchdown on Alpine’s first offensive play and finished with 105 yards rushing and three scores to go along with 156 yards passing and one TD, as the Bucks completed over 80 percent of their passes against the Eagles for the second year in a row.

“We knew going into the game we were going to have to stop Dominic Scott, but their line did a great job all night keeping us out,” Henson said. “We were giving up about 40 pounds all across the line on offense and defense, and I thought the weight training during the summer would help us to get our wheels going, but tonight it just didn’t work out.”

The Eagles started the game off on the wrong foot, muffing the opening kickoff, and then couldn’t take advantage of a muffed punt by Tony Alvarez, that gave Pecos the ball near midfield. The Eagles front line was unable to open any holes early for its running backs, and lost starter Hector Ramirez after the opening series, when he reinjured an Achilles strain he suffered a week earlier in Pecos’ scrimmage at Greenwood.

Henson said Reyes injury was the less serious of the two. “He could have gone back in by the end if we needed him and the game was closer,” he said, while Ramirez could be sidelined for at least several games.

Passing also was a problem for Pecos early, as the Eagles had two drops and quarterback Paul Zubeldia couldn’t connect with receivers on several early long passes. The Eagles’ defense did hold Alpine on their second offensive series, but again were unable to move the ball, and the Bucks would score on a one-yard run by Skylan Green, set up by a 34-yard pass from Scott to Alvarez.

Zubledia would try to go deep to Luis Morales on the Eagles’ next series, and was intercepted by Alvarez, giving Alpine back the ball near midfield. This time, it took the Bucks 12 plays to score, on a 3-yard run by Scott early in the second period, a drive helped out by a personal foul call against Pecos.

The Bucks didn’t have to go very far or wait very long for their next score, which was set up by a high snap over the head of Pecos punter Junior Carrasco. Jeff Raatz recovered at the 4-yard-line and Scott scored again on a quarterback keeper over the left side and Green’s extra point made it 28-0.

The Eagles’ only two first downs up to that point had come from wingback Timo Reyes, and he and Zubeldia would hook up on a 17-yard pass after Zubeldia was sacked for a 14-yard loss. Joseph Ontiveros then gained 10 yards on a fourth down draw to keep the drive going, and Pecos would get three more first down runs from Zubeldia and Reyes to get deep into Alpine territory in the closing seconds of the half.

The officials then gave both teams something to complain about, failing to throw a flag when Carrasco was bumped trying to go for an attempted fade pass by Zubeldia in the right corner of the end zone, and then flagging Alpine for holding on a fade pass to Carrasco in the other corner that Bucks’ coach Shad Hanna said was uncatchable. That set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Patino with eight seconds left in the half, but Alpine then stopped Pecos’ try for two off a fake kick, leaving the score at 28-6.

The Eagles would open the second half with Zubeldia picking off a Scott pass deep in Pecos territory, but couldn’t move the ball, and saw the Bucks go 59 yards in seven plays to up their lead to 35-6. Scott had three of his 17 completions on the drive, which was capped by a seven yard score to Alfredo Armendariz with 6:19 left in the quarter.

All the running and throwing by Scott seemed to tire the junior out after that. After gaining 129 yards on 16 carries, he was sacked and stopped for losses on his final four attempts and eventually had to leave the game with an injury.

Pecos, meanwhile, would come back after Alpine’s score with their second TD, a 10-play 65-yard drive that was capped by a 30-yard touchdown by Reyes, who took a center screen pass from Zubeldia and break three tackles along the way. Zubeldia then found Ontiveros for a juggling two-point catch to make it 35-14 with 3:09 left in the period, and Pecos then cut the lead to 35-21 at the 10:01 mark of the fourth quarter, though by then they had lost Reyes for the night when he reinujred an ankle hurt two weeks earlier.

The injury came after he caught back-to-back passes from Zubledia for 24 yards and got the ball inside Alpine’s 20. The Eagles’ quarterback was able to scramble for another first down a few moments later, but for the rest of the night had trouble moving the ball on offense. They would get a first down at the 4-yard-line when Alpine was called for interference on a pass to Jeremy Martinez, on another call disputed by Hanna, and then after Patino was stopped for a loss Zubeldia found Joseph Rodriguez for a 5-yard score.

Alpine would drive the ball inside Pecos’ five on the next series, before a holding call and a fourth down stop on Scott gave the Eagles the ball back with 5:43 to play. But moments later, Zubeldia’s pass to Jonathan Dominguez was picked off by Brandon Portillo, who returned it to the 15. Again the Bucks went backwards, losing Scott when he was sandwiched by Isaiah Vela and Joseph Tarin, and eventually ended up having to punt. This time, the Eagles got a first down run by Zubeldia, but then went backwards, turning the ball over at their own 20, and one play after Armendariz was caught behind the line for a seven-yard loss he took an inside handoff and went around the left side 27 yards for the final TD of the game.

The loss sends the Eagles into their home opener at 0-1 against Kermit, which routed Pecos’ District 4-3A rival Fabens, on Friday night in the Yellowjackets’ home opener, 53-20.

“They ran a little spread against us last year, but this year, after looking at this tape, they’re probably going to run a lot against us,” Henson said.

Fabens was one of five district teams to lose their season openers. Clint was the lone team to score a victory, 33-29 over El Paso Jefferson, while defending district champ Fort Stockton fell by an 18-14 score on Thursday to Greenwood, Anthony lost to Horizon City, 24-19, and Tornillo was shut out by Cloudcroft, N.M., 50-0.

Pecos sees home opener moved back to Saturday

Sometime this week, the Pecos Eagles varsity volleyball team will get to play a home game. But Tuesday is not that day.

The Eagles, who traveled 2,500 miles over the first three weeks of the 2008 season, were scheduled to play their first home match of the year Tuesday night against the Midland Christian Mustangs. The only problem is, Midland Christian also has the match scheduled for their home court.

“I don’t want to cancel the game, but they don’t want to travel,” said Eagles Coach Ruth McWilliams, whose team went 3-3 this past weekend at the Frenship Tournament, and open District 4-3A on Saturday against Clint – a game that will be played at home, though as of Tuesday morning, McWilliams said both teams had different ideas on the scheduled starting time.

“Clint says they’re supposed to start at 2 p.m., and our schedule says 11 a.m.,” she said.

The revised plan for Tuesday was for the Eagles to travel to Midland to face the Mustangs, if a bus was available. If not, McWilliams said the teams would try to reschedule for Thursday night in Midland.

The Frenship Tournament was Pecos’ sixth trip of 200 miles or more this season, and the Eagles ended up going 2-1 in their pool round matches and then 1-2 in the championship bracket of the tournament. They opened with their second win of the season over El Paso Americas, 25-21, 21-25, 25-19, then lost to Canyon Randal, 25-7, 25-15, before closing out pool play with a 25-17, 25-14 win over Brownfield.

That put them into a quarterfinal match against the host Tigers Friday evening, which the Eagles lost by 25-22, 25-13 scores. Then in the consolation semifinals on Saturday, Pecos lost McWilliams’ daughter Leia to an injury late in the first game of their rematch with Americas, and then lost to the Trailblazers by 22-25, 25-22, 25-12 scores, before coming back to beat Abilene Wylie by 25-23, 25-20 scores.

“It was 25-17, when she went up to hit the ball and came down on the other girls’ foot and twisted her ankle,” McWilliams said. “She sat out the next two games and we kind of lost our composure. It was a game we should have won, but we were kind of shook up by the injury and by changing up the lineup and adjusting to new people on the floor.

“But we regrouped against Abilene Wylie, stepped up and played excellent defense,” McWilliams said. “We played well the whole tournament, except against Canyon Randall, the last two games against Americus and at the end against Frenship. I didn’t feel like got up for that game the way we should, and when you don’t get up for a team you’re chances of winning are pretty slim.”

McWilliams said she hoped to get her daughter back in time for Saturday’s district opener against Clint. District play is starting a month earlier than in the past four years because of the expansion of Pecos’ district from four to six teams and the decision to have all matches for Pecos and Fort Stockton against their El Paso-area rivals played on Saturdays this season.

Pecos’ sub-varsity teams were in Fort Stockton this past weekend and took home both the junior varsity and the freshman tournament titles, while the Eagles’ JV ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams facing each other for the tournament championship. Both the JV and the ninth graders were scheduled to face Midland Christian as well on Tuesday, before their 4-3A openers against Clint.

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