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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, September 5, 2008

No practice, no play for some Pecos starters against Kermit

If there’s one common complaint shared by Pecos Eagle head football coaches for the past 20 years, it’s been players who fail to show up for practice during the week before a game.

Current Eagle coach Chris Henson is no exception to that, and after 10 starters missed at least one day of workouts this week, before Pecos’ home opener against the Kermit Yellowjackets, he’s taken action to try and get those players’ attention.

“We went through some discipline problems this week. We had five kids who failed to show up on Saturday and Monday for practice, so they’re suspended for this game,” Henson said. “We’ve just got to get them to start attending all of the practices. We’re trying to teach technique and put in some new things, but we can’t do that, because they’re not here.

“If it’s going to cost us this week, then we’re going to lose with the kids who’ve been here all the time,” he added.

Along with the five suspended for missing two practices, five other starters missed one practice and will also face punishment. “They will not start, but the five will come into the game at some point,” Henson said.

As a result of the changes, Henson said two players, sophomores Donovan Rodriguez and Larry Sparkman, were being brought up from the Eagles’ junior varsity for Friday’s game, at wingback and linebacker. Rodriguez will start, while another player who started the year down on the JV before moving up to the varsity, Chris Martinez, would start at the outside linebacker position on Friday.

All this comes as the Eagles try to bounce back from a 41-21 season-opening loss at Alpine against a Kermit team that opened its 2008 season at home on Friday with a 53-20 win over Pecos’ district rival, Fabens.

“We’ll have a very tough Kermit team coming to town, so this is not a good time to be facing this, but we’re going to go back to basics and let them play,” Henson said.

One of the things he said the Eagles did this week was to try and work on improving their defensive effort from a week ago, where Alpine ran for 183 yards and five touchdowns, while completing 18-of-22 passes for another 149 yards.

“We’ve changed some stuff up with our linebackers and their keys,” said Henson, after Pecos’ linebackers and defensive ends had problems containing Alpine’s counter and quarterback keeper plays last week. “We went back to work this week, and you should see a completely different team as far as those two positions.”

The Eagles will face a Kermit team that didn’t have to complete a pass to score eight touchdowns a week ago, three in a 6 1/2 minute span of the first quarter when they went out to a 21-0 lead.

Jackets’ head coach Gary Grubbs, who spent three seasons as Pecos’ head coach, and dealt with some of the same practice participation problems, has a veteran offense in his fourth season in Kermit, led by his son Austin at quarterback, one of two former Pecos players in the starting backfield. Senior Phillip Williams is the other. The two had 77 and 66 yards rushing respectively in last week’s win, while halfback Chris Pando led all runners with 115 yards.

“They looked good. They’ve got some huge kids, who average about 40 pounds and about three inches bigger across the board on the line, but that’s going to be our situation all year,” Henson said.

Grubbs’ son only threw the ball four times last week, with no completions, but he said, “We had two good scrimmages where we threw the ball well.”

Grubbs added that the Jackets have operate out of both the wishbone and the spread offense this season.

“We did both together well (in the scrimmages). We threw the ball well and ran the ball well. Against Kermit, we ran mostly bone because we were able to establish the run and because of the wet conditions in the game,” he said.

“There were a couple of times we struggled in the scrimmages. It was early, and we do have four new starters on the offense line,” Grubbs added.

“They played a little more bone this past week against Fabens, but they didn’t have to do much else,” Henson said. “Kermit was a lot quicker and a lot stronger throughout the game. Fabens only success came when they were throwing the ball.”

Grubbs said Williams and Steven Alvarado at linebacker both had strong games a week ago in the win over Fabens.

“Pando is doing a great job running the ball, and Brandon Arnsworth at fullback is a big kid who runs the ball hard,” Henson added. “They run the mid-line with him and (Austin) Grubbs, and if you don’t play assignment football, he’s going to beat you.” In last year’s 28-8 win by the Jackets in Kermit, the Eagles allowed several big plays for scores, including a 51-yard run by Pando, who finished with 115 yards, and a second quarter TD pass from Grubbs to tight end Trevor Leeson, who also returns for Kermit this season.

Eagles down Mustangs in final pre-district game

The Pecos Eagles moved back to the .500 mark Tuesday night in their final game before the start of district play, as they went on the road for a game they originally thought would be played at home and came away with a four-game victory over the Midland Christian Mustangs.

The Eagles fell behind early in the opener and lost to Midland Christian by a 25-18 score, before coming back for 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 wins. That put them at 11-11 on the year going into Saturday afternoon’s District 4-3A opener against Clint, which will also be the first home match for Pecos this season.

“We played very good defense,” said Eagles’ coach Ruth McWilliams, whose daughter Leia sat out the game after injuring her ankle last Saturday in the Frenship Tournament. “We started off slow in the first game, but as the match wore on we started getting better and better on defense.”

“The other girls stepped up and played well, and the subs came in and really played hard,” she said. “Aileen (Rayos), Brittany Quintana, Talia Castillo, Destiny Simmons and Kristen Ikeler all came in and got after it.”

The Eagles district opener against the Lions will start about 3:15 p.m., with the freshman match set for 1 p.m. and the junior varsity at 2 p.m. It’s the first district match between the two teams since 2001, which also was the last year Pecos won a district volleyball title.

Clint comes into the match with a 12-7 record after beating Chaparral, N.M. on Tuesday by 25-16, 25-16, 25-18 scores. “We haven’t seen them this year, but I talked to some other coaches and they told me they play very good defense and have one or two big hitters,” McWilliams said. Madeline Cera had 10 kills, Stephanie Garfield seven and Crystal Arnold six in Tuesday’s win for Clint, which captured the District 1-3A volleyball title the past two seasons.

McWilliams said she expected to have her daughter back in the middle hitter’s position for Saturday’s match. “I think she’ll be OK to go on Saturday, but if not, then we’ll go with what we’ve got,” she said.

Pecos’ sub varsity teams split their matches at Midland Christian on Tuesday night. The JV won their match by 27-25, 25-18 scores, while the freshmen fell to the Mustangs, 25-7, 22-25, 15-12.

Cross-country opener for Eagles moved to Saturday

The Pecos Eagles’ cross-country team saw the start of their 2008 season moved back a week, and will see the final meet of the regular season moved back by 10 days from the original schedule.

Pecos had been scheduled to travel to Seminole a week ago to start the season, but coach Rudy Jurado said that the meet date was changed, and Pecos instead will start their 2008 season this Saturday in San Angelo.

“We were going to go last week, but they changed their meet to this week, and we always go to San Angelo,” said Jurado, who added there would be two other changes later this season to Pecos’ schedule.

“We were going to go to Odessa on the 11th (of October). Instead, we’ll go there on the 9th, which is a Thursday,” he said. The biggest change will be for the District 4-3A meet, which originally had been scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 22 in El Paso. Instead, that meet will be held on Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Chimizal National Park off U.S. 54 in El Paso, a week before the Region I-3A meet in Lubbock.

Pecos will run in the Lubbock Invitational later this month, while their next meet will be on Sept. 20 in Wink. That will also be the first of three meets for Pecos’ junior high cross-country runners this season.

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