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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eagles again end lost streak with rout of Wildcats

For the second year in a row, the Pecos Eagles ended a long season-opening losing streak in emphatic fashion against the Fabens Wildcats, as they went to Fabens and came away with a 61-14 victory.

The win was the first for Pecos after six losses to open the season, and evens their District 4-3A record at 1-1 going into this coming Friday’s homecoming game against Tornillo, which lost on Friday night in Fort Stockton by an 83-0 score.

The Eagles had gone into last season’s home game against Fabens with an 0-7 record and minus starting quarterback Paul Zubeldia, but scored 34 points in the first half on the way to a 41-8 victory. Hector Ramirez ran for over 200 yards in that game and on Friday, the Wildcats set up their defense to contain Pecos’ running backs, but were burnt for 269 yards passing and three touchdowns by Zubeldia, two of those coming on trick plays.

Receiver Luis Morales stayed close to the sidelines and out of the huddle after first down running plays by the Eagles in the first and third quarters and was left uncovered by Fabens, allowing Zubeldia to connect with Morales on 76- and 59-yard scores. The Eagles’ quarterback also hooked up in the first quarter for a 17-yard TD pass to Timo Reyes, who would run for another TD in the second quarter and return a punt 72 yards for a score in Pecos’ 27-point third period.

“They stacked the box against us with 7-8 people, so we knew we were going to have to throw the ball to win,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “We hit some early passes, but they still stacked the box, even when we went to the shotgun offense.”

The second of the sidelines plays to Morales, just over a minute into the third period, led to protest by Fabens coach Jose Martinez to referee Benny Bel Hierio, since Morales did not break the huddle with the other 10 players. But Henson said they had checked with the officials prior to the start of the game to make sure they knew the play was within the rules.

“As long as he doesn’t leave the field when the (previous) play is over, he didn’t have to come inside the numbers,” he said. “I told the officials before the game we were going to line up and run it. It’s a very legal play.”

Morales ended the night with three catches for 164 yards, but ran about another 250 yards on five other long pass attempts. Pecos opened the game trying to run the option pass from Reyes to Morales they scored on against Denver City, but Reyes overthrew the receiver. In the second period, Morales couldn’t hold onto another option pass from Reyes, while he was overthrown twice and had one drop on three other deep passes from Zubeldia when the senior had gotten behind the Wildcats’ defense.

“If he had been able to hold onto a couple of those, he probably would have been player of the week,” Henson said. “With his speed, they couldn’t stay with him, and with single coverage we were going to keep throwing to him and just took what we could get.”

“Paul did a good job recognizing the defense and made some good throws tonight,” he said. “He only had one bad throw (a near-interception in the first quarter), and I told him when you’re under pressure like that, throw it into the stands or take the sack instead of throwing it into the middle of the field.”

His first TD pass came after Pecos had stopped Fabens on their opening series, but gave the ball right back on a fumble by Ramirez. Enrique Nunez then broke outside on the next play for a 46-yard run, down to the Eagles’ 15 yard line, but on a 3rd-and-4 play from the 9, Larry Sparkman was able to drag down Travis Garay on a counter play for a four-yard loss, and Michael Tarin sacked quarterback Adrian Solis for a seven-yard loss on the next play, giving the ball back to Pecos at the 20.

Ramirez gained four yards on the next play, with Morales remaining near the Pecos sideline and then took a 20-yard lob pass from Zubeldia and outraced the Wildcats’ defense the rest of the way.

Pecos’ second score was set up on what looked like a first down play by Fabens, as Solis hit Garay over the middle for 13 yards. But the receiver was hit and lost the ball, with Reyes picking it off in mid-air at the Wildcats’ 42. Runs by Ramirez and Reyes, and a 16-yard completion to Ramirez got the ball to the 15, and after Reyes was stopped for a two-yard loss, he took a short pass from Zubeldia on second down and was able to sidestep two tacklers and make it into the end zone for his eighth touchdown in the past four games.

A try for two failed after Morales had missed his initial extra point try, leaving the score at 12-0 going into the second period. Pecos would go 55 yards in seven plays on their first possession of the period to make it a 19-0 game on Reyes’ four-yard TD run. The big plays on the drive were a 2nd-and-15 scramble by Zubeldia for 13 yards to set up a first down run by Ramirez, and a 16-yard slant pass from the quarterback to Jeremy Martinez that got the ball down to the four.

Nunez would take a flair pass from Solis on the next series and go 76 yards to the end zone, only to see a holding call wipe out the touchdown. The Eagles then saw most of a 28-yard run by Reyes wiped out by a hold, stalling their next series, but would stop the Wildcats after Nunez picked up 19 yards on the same pass play that was called back, and Pecos then needed 79 seconds to go 61 yards for their fourth touchdown.

Ramirez would score it, his first of the season, on a one-yard drive, set up by his own 12-yard run and three first down passes by Zubeldia, two to Ariel Salgado and the other a dump pass over the middle to Reyes. Zubeldia then hit Junior Carrasco in the corner of the end zone to make it a 27-0 game at halftime.

That lead grew to 34-0 with the second TD pass to Morales, before the Eagles lost their shutout 61 seconds later on a 30-yard TD run by Nunez. That capped a four-play drive that covered 63 yards, and featured a 13-yard run by Solis and a 17-yard pass from the quarterback to Garay. However, on the extra point the Wildcats would lose kicker and linebacker Jaime Garcia, when he suffered an ankle injury trying to chase down a bad snap.

Pecos then needed just 67 seconds to get their TD back, going 61 yards on just three plays for the score. The first of four sideline warning penalties against Fabens started the drive, which featured Morales’ best catch of the night, a 29-yarder with cornerback Jose Garcia closely defending, and ended with a 23-yard scoring run by Ramirez.

It would take almost two minutes before the next touchdown, but the Eagles would then get two in a span of 15 seconds. The first was Reyes’ punt return, as he broke one tackle at the Pecos 35 and went untouched the rest of the way, while the second came two plays after the ensuing kickoff, when Carrasco stepped in front of a Solis pass to Garay along the left sideline and ran it back 38 yards to the end zone.

Morales’ extra point made it 54-6, but Fabens would then cap a run of 41 points in a span of less than 7 1/2 minutes when Garay was able to spin away from a quartet of Pecos tacklers on a 4th-and-7 pass play at midfield, and race down the sidelines to the end zone. Solis then ran the two-point conversion to make it 54-14.

“Going into the second half we wanted to get everybody playing time,” Henson said. “We had shut out Fort Stockton in the second half last week and had a shutout in the first half. We lost that and made a couple of mistakes, but we were mixing in a lot of kids who don’t normally get a chance to play.”

Omar Medina replaced Zubeldia at quarterback after that, and Ramirez and Reyes came out at the start of the fourth quarter, as Pecos’ reserves got their first extended playing time on offense this season. The Eagles would lose the ball once on a mix-up that caused a fumble, but would go on a 14-play, 80-yard drive that lasted over nine minutes for their final touchdown.

The drive started in the third period after a Morales interception of Solis. Medina had 12-yard run, and Reyes and Ramirez had runs of over 10 yards before being replaced by Nick Granado and Lucas Chavez.

Medina was able to recover a bad pitch to Granado, and Chavez then ran 11-yards for a first down. The quarterback would then have another first down run on 3rd-and-7, and then on 3rd-and-15 connected with Eric Salcido on a 28-yard pass to the 10. Two plays later Granado scored his first touchdown of the season on a 4-yard run with 3:17 to play.

Pecos ended up with 496 yards total offense on the night, while holding Fabens to just 130 yards rushing and 131 passing. “Coach Hughes had a great game plan for the defense tonight, and that was against the spread we’ve had trouble with, so our kids did a good job,” Henson said.

The Eagles will now host 0-7 Tornillo, which lost by a 72-14 score last season in Pecos. The Coyotes had been scheduled play on their home field this past Friday night, but were paid by Fort Stockton to give up their home game and play on the Panthers’ home field. “Fabens said they tried to them to change their (Oct. 31) game and wanted to pay them to come over there, but they said no,” Henson said.

At 0-2 in district and 1-6 overall, Fabens probably needs wins at Anthony this week and over Fort Stockton next week to keep their playoff hopes alive. Clint stayed tied for first with Fort Stockton after winning at Anthony on by a 34-21 score. Pecos plays at Anthony on Halloween night and then hosts Clint in their final regular season game.

Eagles able to corral Coyotes to remain unbeaten

The Tornillo Coyotes looked more like the team that had caused problems for the Pecos Eagles in the playoffs the past two seasons on Saturday afternoon than they did when the teams met for the first time as district opponents last month, while Eagles’ coach Ruth McWilliams said her team didn’t look nearly as good as they should, even though Pecos was able to come away with a three-game sweep of Tornillo.

Pecos watch Tornillo take six leads in Game 1 Saturday on the Coyotes,’ home court, then after the Eagles took the lead fought off game point four times before Pecos finally came away with a 28-26 victory. Things were a little easer in Game 2 and Game 3 for the Eagles, but both times they had to rally from early deficits before scoring 25-19 and 25-18 wins to remain unbeaten in District 4-3A play.

“We were kind of down, but I was proud of the girls, especially in the first game,” McWilliams said. “We didn’t play very well, and Tornillo got a lot of balls up. We were making hitting errors, setting errors and serving errors, but rather than give up, we hung tough and won the first game.”

She said while the Eagles had many chances in the three games, they also failed to capitalize on free balls or failed to set their hitters up right a number of times. “We were just not passing well, and our sets were either too close to the net or too far off the net.”

In the opening game, the Eagles jumped out to three point leads three times in the early going, only to see the Coyotes rally and eventually take their first lead, at 11-10. Pecos would immediately tie the game four times without taking the lead, but then three unforced errors in a row put the Eagles in a 17-14 hole.

Two blocks by Jasmine Rayos on Arilu Nunez and Jissel Reyes helped Pecos tie the game once more, and four straight Tornillo errors would allow the Eagles to later go up 23-21. A Rayos spike got Pecos to game point at 24-22, but Tornillo then got a kill from Maryann Valenzuela and a game-ending spike by Leah McWilliams was wiped out by a net violation that tied the game.

McWilliams would connect on two kills after that, but a bad back line hit by Rayos and a bad serve by McWilliams kept Pecos from closing things out until Lucy Calsada missed a serve with the game tied at 26-26, and Rayos then dinked a shot over the Coyotes’ blockers to end the game.

“I’ve been in a lot of places where a team comes in not ready to play the first game and they just given up and lose it, but the girls fought back,” Ruth McWilliams said, and while Pecos would struggle some more at times in the next two games, they were able to gain control of both midway through the contest.

An 11-3 run in Game 2 turned an 11-all tie into a 22-14 Pecos lead. Leah McWilliams, Rayos, Claire Weinacht, Gabby Garcia and Marissa Tarango all had kills during that run, and while Tornillo would cut the eight-point deficit to four, at 23-19, Pecos finished off the game with a Rayos spike and a bad set by Tornillo’s Lucero Alvarez.

In Game 3, the Eagles took the lead for good at 16-15 on a spike by Ally Salcido and closed the match out with a 6-1 run, with McWilliams and Salcido adding spikes and Weinacht at McWilliams finishing things off with soft shots over the Coyotes’ front line.

The win improved Pecos’ record to 26-12 and was their 15th in a row going into their final home match of the 2008 season, this coming Saturday against Fabens, while Tornillo saw their hopes for another trip to the playoffs ended by their loss and Clint’s 25-16, 25-14, 25-19 win over Fort Stockton, which clinched the third and final District 4-3A playoff spot for the Lions.

Clint is 5-3 while Fabens stayed a game in back of Pecos in the district standings on Saturday at 7-1 with a win over Anthony. The Eagles can clinch their first district title since 2001 win a win over the Wildcats this coming Saturday. Pecos also won Saturday’s junior varsity match by 25-22, 25-21 scores, while the Coyotes took the freshman match in three games, 7-25, 25-23, 25-17.

Sub-varsity squads score wins over Fabens, Stockton

The Pecos Eagle sub-varsity teams did a little bit of mixing and matching on Thursday, while coming away with three wins, two in Fort Stockton and one at home over the Fabens Wildcats.

Pecos’ freshmen played Fabens’ JV, but with no game on Thursday some of the JV Eagles also ended up scoring touchdowns in a 40-8 win over Fabens. Down in Fort Stockton, Pecos had a few ‘A’ team members suited up for their ‘B’ games against the Panthers, and scored a 44-8 win in the seventh grade contest and a 12-0 win in the eighth grade game.

The freshmen got on the board with a Rudy DeAnda touchdown run in the first period, while JV players Maurice Johnson and Arutro Munoz would score two touchdowns apiece for the Eagles. Johnson went 65-yards in the first period off a bad lateral and caught a 58-yard TD pass from Chase Price just before halftime. Munoz had a seven-yard TD run in the second period and scored the only points of the second half on a 13-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Fabens got to within 14-8 in the second period on a 35-yard TD pass, before Price connected with Luis Villescas for an 18-yard touchdown prior to the second quarter touchdowns by Johnson and Munoz. The win evened the freshmen team’s season record at 4-4.

The junior high teams were playing the Panthers for the second time in as many weeks, after beating Fort Stockton at home a week earlier, and will face the Panthers again in Fort Stockton this coming Thursday. In the two wins the Eagles had three second half fumble returns for touchdowns.

Two came in the seventh graders’ win. Jay Hinojos returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown and David Valenzuela returned a fumble 25 yards for a score for Pecos. The Eagles’ other four touchdowns came on a 29-yard run by Luis Villapando, a 52-yard run by quarterback Mario Gallardo, a 14-yard run by Pony Palomino and a four-yard run by Christopher Rodriguez.

Zack Gomez, Juan Ramirez, Gallardo and Hinojos had two-point conversions for the Eagles, who improved to 5-0 on the season.

The eighth grade ‘B’ team is 3-3 after their win, with both touchdowns coming after a scoreless first half and a 2-0 win by the ‘B’ team over Fort Stockton the previous week. Joey Villanueva ran 45 yards for a touchdown in the third period, and Steven Soto had a fourth quarter fumble recover for Pecos’ other points.

Both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ junior high teams will face the Panthers in Fort Stockton this coming Thursday, while the freshmen and JV squads will host Fort Stockton after losing on the Panthers’ home field by 9-0 and 22-0 scores two weeks ago.

Pecos swimmers place second behind Central

The Pecos Eagles boys and girls swim teams both came away with second place finishes on Saturday at the Abilene Invitational, their first regular meet of the 2008-09 season.

Pecos finished second to San Angelo Central on both sides Saturday. The girls ended up with two first place finishes and 188 points overall, 10 1/2 points more than Amarillo High School, while Central won with 303 points. On the boys’ side, Central won with 375 points to 217 1/2 for Pecos and 148 for third place Pampa, whom the Eagles will see at regionals in February.

The Eagles will see another district and regional rival at home on Tuesday, when Pecos hosts Monahans in a dual meet, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Pecos High School pool. Diving competition will get underway around 4:30 p.m. The girls picked up wins from sophomore Allyson Reynolds in the 500-yard freestyle and from the 400-yard freestyle relay team, while the boys’ lone win came from Josh Elliott in the 100-yard backstroke.

Reynolds, who advanced to state as a freshman in the 500 won the race with a 5:45.80 time, while she, Adriana Roman, Conner Armstrong and Lauren Elliott took first in the 400 free with a 4:06.17 time. Armstrong, Reynolds, Anatalia Hernandez and Dakota Hegar opened up the meet with a second place finish in the 200-yard medley relay, while in the 200 free relay Roman, Hernandez, Hegar and Elliott placed fifth.

Reynolds also placed second in the 200-yard freestyle, while Hegar was fifth. Elliott was third, Anatalia Hernandez fourth and Maggie Hernandez 10th in the 200 individual medley; Armstrong was ninth and Roman 11th in the 50 free; Anatalia Hernandez was fifth and Maggie Hernandez 10th in the 100-yard butterfly; Roman was fifth, Elliott seventh and Hegar 11th in the 100 free; and Armstrong took third in the 100-yard breaststroke.

On the boys’ side, Elliott’s winning time in the 100-yard backstroke was 57.98, and he earlier took second in the 200 individual medley and was part of the 400 free and 200 medley relay teams that also finished second. Carlos and Edward Navarro and Derek Teague were the other members of both the 200 medley and 400 free relay team, while the 200 freestyle relay team of Frankie Morin, Tanner Hardwick, Gregory Roman and Derek Teague placed sixth.

Pecos also had three ‘B’ relay teams on the boys’ side, with the 200 medley ‘B’ team of Morin, Hardwick, Roman and Tye Hegar placing 10th, the 400 free relay team of Lujan, Roman, Hegar and Austin Demor taking 13th, and the 200 free relay team of Demor, Clay Teague, Luis Villescas and Abraham Lujan taking 16th.

In the other individual events, Edward Navarro was fifth and Morin eighth in the 200 free; Lujan was eighth in the 200 medley; Derek Teague was sixth, Chase Price 32nd and Villescas 45th in the 50 free; Hardwick was sixth, Lujan 10th and Demor 11th in the 100 fly; Carlos Navarro was third, Hegar 17th, Clay Teague 30th and Villescas 34th in the 100 free; Edward Navarro was third and Morin was fourth in the 500 free; and Carlos Navarro was third, Hegar 19th, Clay Teague 25th and Price 29th in the 100-yard breaststroke.

On Friday, Hardwick was second and Roman fourth in the 1-meter diving competition.

Four of Pecos’ seven district rivals also competed in Abilene. Wylie took fifth on the girls’ side with 124 points, while new district opponent Abilene Cooper was eighth with 77 points and Big Spring ninth with 65. On the boys’ side, Big Spring was fifth and Wylie sixth with 105 and 101 points, while Cooper was eighth with 85 points.

Tuesday’s dual against Monahans will be the first of four between the Eagles and Loboes this season. They’ll also swim against Monahans and Andrews next month in the Mustangs’ new pool and then have two duals in December with Monahans and Fort Stockton in the Loboes and Panthers’ pools. Pecos’ next invitational meet will be on Oct. 31-Nov. 1 in Big Spring.

Runners earn 3rd, 4th finishes in Monahans

The Pecos Eagles cross country team got in their last meet before District 4-3A competition on Saturday, with a limited number of runners at the Monahans Invitational.

The Eagles had three runners apiece in the boys’ and girls’ divisions at the high school level, along with one boy and one girl running in junior high. The best finish on the day came from Krystal Carrasco, who took third place in the high school girls’ division, with a 12:51.69 time. She was followed by Ashley Jasso, 18th with a 113:31.38 time and Sabryna Moya, 21st with a 13:42.34 time. Greenwood’s Savannah Morales placed first out of 60 runners with a 12:1915 time over the two-mile course.

On the boys’ side, the best finish came from Gus Mendoza with a ninth place, covering the three-mile course in 17:28.12. Edward Rodriguez was 12th with a 17:47.72 time and Dario Morales was 35, with a time of 19:20.09. Andrews’ Toni Lee Lloyd won the race, with a 16:20.88 time.

In the junior high races, both Eagle teams had only one runner and both finished fourth. Katrina Maldonado had a 13:22.18 time over two miles and out of 27 runners, while Anthony Nativiadad ran the boys’ two-mile race in 12:34.72 to place fourth out of 38 runners.

Pecos’ next meet will be the District 4-3A race, which is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso. It will be the Eagles’ first district meet in El Paso since 2001. Pecos won the District 2-3A boys and girls titles last season, running in Monahans.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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