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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pecos survives early scare to clinch 4-3A title

The three games that made up Fabens Wildcats and the Pecos Eagles’ second match of the season on Saturday were the reverse of the way the games in their first match had gone month earlier in Fabens – as far as how tough they were for the Eagles. But in the end the final result was the same and Pecos was able to clinch its first district title in seven years in their final home game of the 2008 season.

The Eagles, who swept Fabens in September but had to win a 33-31 game to finish off the match after two easier victories, started out having problems on Saturday with the Wildcats, who were looking for a win to tie Pecos for first in the District 4-3A standings. Pecos led by as many as four points twice, only to see Fabens come back to take the lead once and tie the game four times, the last at 23-all, before the Eagles were able to pull out a 25-23 victory.

Things went easier for Pecos in Games 2 and 3, as this time they were able to pull away in the middle of both matches and kept the Wildcats from coming back, scoring 25-16, 25-17 wins to go 9-0 in district with one match to play.

“In the first game we came in a little nervous,” McWilliams said. “It was a big game, and any time you come out and play for a district championship, you’re going to be a little nervous.”

Both teams struggled with unforced errors to open the game, including back-to-back missed serves. Gabby Garcia had two kills and a tip over Fabens front line and Jasmine Rayos added a kill to put Pecos ahead, 9-5, but the Wildcats’ Jolene Lettunich would lead a rally that would eventually tie the game at 13-all.

Both Lettunich and Irma Garcia were able to hit around Pecos’ blocks several times in Game 1 and find openings on the floor. “We helped them out. We missed some assignments that might have made the first game a little bit closer,” McWilliams said.

Fabens would eventually take the lead at 17-16 off a bad pass by Rayos, but she would come back with a tip and a spike to give Pecos the lead. Fabens would knot things up again before a 5-1 run by the Eagles put them ahead 23-19. Ally Salcido, Leah McWilliams and Rayos would score during that run, but two kills by Lettunich and a block by Amber Cebral helped tie things up again. But Claire Weinacht would then connect on a deflected spike and Cebral was called for a net violation on a block attempt, giving the game to the Eagles.

Pecos took the lead for good in Game 2 at 7-6 on a spike into the net by Lettunich, and would go up early by a 12-8 score. It was 16-12 when Lettunich missed another hit, and after a time out, McWilliams had an ace serve to give Pecos their first six-point lead of the match. That would grow to as many as nine points on kills by Salcido and Rayos, and a spike by McWilliams would finish things off.

In Game 3 McWilliams had almost as many points on defense as on offense, with a series of blocks that helped turn a 16-14 lead into a 24-15 advantage.

“She had about four blocks to prevent the ball from coming over the net,” the Eagles’ coach said of her daughter, who had five kills in the final match to go along with her blocks. “When you get a big hitter on offense and they try to hammer the ball, and you stop it or even score, it can be a detriment to their confidence.” Salcido also had two kills in the late game run, while Garcia finished things off with a spike for the Eagles, who won their 15th match in a row.

Fabens lost for the second straight time after falling in a non-district contest last Tuesday to El Paso Jesus Chapel. Saturday’s loss kept them from having a shot at a playoff for first, while they’ll try to avoid a playoff for third with Clint on Tuesday, when they face the Lions to close out regular season play.

Pecos will end their regular season in Fort Stockton against the Prowlers. It will also be the Eagles’ last match for at least nine days, as they await the winner of the bi-district playoff series between Borger and Graham in the area round of the playoffs, on the weekend of Nov. 6-8.

Tuesday’s game against Fort Stockton will put Pecos at the limit of regular season games they’re allowed to play, McWilliams said, because they ended up playing an unplanned match in late August against Water Valley in Sweetwater that will keep them from having a playoff practice game before the area round match.

“We’ll just use that (Tuesday’s match) as our practice game as much as we can,” McWilliams said.

She added that the match would start about 6:30 p.m., with the freshman and junior varsity teams both scheduled to face the Prowlers at 5 p.m. Pecos’ ninth grade and JV squads both won their games on Saturday over Fabens, the freshmen by 25-19, 25-23 scores and the JV by 25-19, 25-12.

JV, JH football squads post wins over Panthers

There was only one change from two weeks ago in the results of the sub-varsity football games between the Pecos Eagles and Fort Stockton Panthers, as the teams switched home sites for their Thursday rematches.

Playing at home, the Eagles’ junior varsity was able to shut out Fort Stockton, 21-0, after being shut out by the Panthers on their home field two weeks earlier, while the freshmen were blanked for the second time in three weeks by Fort Stockton, this time at Eagle Stadium by a 12-0 score.

The junior high ‘A’ teams, who swept their games at home two weeks against the Panthers did so again on Thursday playing on the road, with the seventh grade ‘A’ winning by a 14-6 score and the eighth grade ‘A’ by a 24-6 margin, while the junior high ‘B’ teams won for the third week in a row over the Panthers, the seventh graders by an 18-0 margin and the eighth graders by a 12-0 margin.

The JV improved to 5-3 with their win and after their 9-0 loss on Oct. 16 in Fort Stockton, as they scored on the game’s first offensive play, a 52-yard pass from Dominic Bejarano to Justin Ybarra, t hen added two second half touchdowns, on a seven-yard run by Arturo Munoz and a 16 yarder by Ramiro Pinales. Pinales also a two-point conversion run and an extra point kick after the second half scores.

The ninth graders are now 4-4 after their loss to the Panthers, who scored once in each half against the freshmen. The freshmen lost earlier by a 22-0 score in Fort Stockton.

The eighth grade ‘A’ team had four touchdowns in their win. Bradley Shaw had touchdown passes of five yards to Devante Jenkins and 35 yards to Justin Thornton, while Zack Ramirez had a 45-yard touchdown run and caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Jenkins. The ‘A’ team evened their season record at 3-3 with the victory.

The ‘B’ team ended their season with a 4-3 record after getting touchdown runs of 45 yards from Alvaro Ramirez and 30 yards from Tyler Davis. Elijah Jones had the two-point conversion run for the eighth graders’ other points.

The seventh grade ‘B’ team ended their season with a perfect 6-0 record following their shutout victory. Quarterback Jared Windham had touchdown runs of one and four yards and passed 28 yards to Phillip Ontiveros for Pecos’ other touchdown.

The seventh grade ‘A’ team is now 4-2 on the season after scoring late to earn the victory. “They tied us up in the last quarter and we drove it down their throats, with a 70 yard drive,” said coach Jerry Parent. Cesar Ortega capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion, while Roderick Renteria’s 35-yard score accounted for Pecos’ other touchdown.

Eighth grade coach Art Rios said with the ‘B’ teams’ seasons over, only the ‘A’ teams will be going to Midland this Thursday for Pecos’ final road game, against Midland Christian, at 4:30 and 6 p.m. The Eagles will host Midland Christian to end their season, while the JV and freshmen teams will be home to Midland Christian this Thursday, at 5 and 6:30 p.m., then end their seasons on Nov. 6 against the Mustangs in Midland.

Netters beat Owls to stay unbeaten on year

The Pecos Eagles tennis team was scheduled to close out the fall portion of their 2008-09 season on Monday afternoon, with a match in Fort Stockton against the Panthers, after they remained unbeaten in the fall last Tuesday with a win in Monahans over the Reagan County Owls.

Coach Bernadette Ornelas said the Eagles won for the second time this season over Reagan County, this time by a 16-9 final score. “We were clear winners on the girls’ side, while on the boys’ side we gave up a few matches,” she said, as the difference was in the bottom seeds on the boys’ side.

Pecos swept all 11 girls singles and doubles matches, while Reagan County won the no. 1-6 seeds in boys singles and the top three in doubles, but saw Pecos win four singles matches and a doubles match at the lower seeds.

“Big Lake has two solid senior boys, and our 1-2, Geronimo (Ornelas) and Derek (Barron) matched up pretty well,” the Eagles’ coach said. Ornelas dropped an 8-5 match to Anthony Subia and Barron lost a 10-8 tiebreaker to Noel Contreras.

Juan Carlos Munoz and Mateo Tarango won both their singles and doubles matches for the boys, while on the girls side, Meagan Fuentes and Dakota Long won their singles matches after winning at No. 1 doubles, as did the No. 2 team of Priscilla Sotelo and Jessica Muniz, the No. 3 team of Doni Marquez and Janette Perea and No. 7 singles player Mareem Maneje.

The Eagles were looking to end their fall season on Monday with a perfect 5-0 record when they faced Fort Stockton. “We’re making up our match against Fort Stockton from a couple of weeks ago, when they got a lot of rain,” Ornelas said. After Monday’s match, Pecos’ next tennis matches will begin with the winter-spring season in late January.

Boys Singles

Geronimo Ornelas lost to Anthony Subia, 8-5; Derek Barron lost to Noel Contreras, 10-8; P.J. Castillo lost to Stephen Aguilar, 8-2; Elias Alvarado lost to Fernando Rey, 8-2; Eddie Pando lost to Robert Wharton, 8-2; Avery Valeriano lost to Victor DelaRosa, 8-2; Juan Carlos Munoz defeated Frank Montalvo, 8-6; Allen Medina defeated Jacob Chappell, 8-1; Mateo Tarango defeated Chappell, 8-1; Medina defeated Mo Velez, 9-7.

Girls Singles

Meagan Fuentez defeated Yajaira Ramirez, 8-0; Dakota Long defeated Cassandra Ortiz, 8-4; Priscilla Sotelo defeated Krista Campbell, 8-1; Janette Perea defeated Cierra Hernandez, 8-2; Doni Marquez defeated Katey Dorsey, 8-4; Jessica Munoz defeated Katie Blackwell, 8-1; Mareem Maneje defeated Adrianna Hernandez, 8-3.

Boys Doubles

Barron and Ornelas lost to Contreras and Subia, 8-3; Alvarado and Castillo lost to Aguilar and Rey, 8-6; Pando and Valeriano lost to DelaRosa and Montalvo, 8-4; Tarango and Munoz defeated Lopez and Wharton, 8-6.

Girls Doubles

Fuentez and Long defeated Ramirez and Campbell, 8-4; Sotelo and Munoz defeated Ortiz and Hernandez, 8-0; Marquez and Perea defeated Hernandez and Dorsey, 8-1; Andrea Rodriguez and Maneje defeated Blackwell and Lawler, 8-6.

Eagles jump out early, cruise to 50-7 win over Coyotes

Just over 16 1/2 minutes into Friday night’s football game between the Pecos Eagles and Tornillo Coyotes, the Eagles were averaging almost 11 points per first down. Which meant that the four first downs at that point had gone a long way for the Eagles in their 2008 homecoming game.

Tornillo, which allowed 83 points at Fort Stockton a week earlier, had problems handling punts and with their offensive blocking, setting up two Pecos touchdowns inside the 10 yard line and a first quarter safety. Combined with three other touchdowns on only six plays, and they gave Pecos a 37-0 lead after one period despite only three Pecos first downs. They got their fourth, along with their sixth touchdown, early in the second period and saw that lead grown to 50-0 at the half.

By that time, the game was going on a running clock and the Eagles’ starters had long since headed to the bench. Combined with a muff of the second half kickoff by Pecos, that allowed Tornillo to score the second half’s only touchdown and get their rushing total from minus-45 at the half to plus-17 by the end of the 50-7 game.

“If it wasn’t for that one penalty (on a Timo Reyes touchdown run), we would have scored four touchdowns on four plays,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson, whose team won its second straight game after six losses to start the season, and are now tied for second in the District 4-3A standings with Clint, whom the Eagles will host in their final regular season game.

“We got a lot of people playing time on offense and defense,” Henson said. “We never intended on running the score up, and said if it got out of hand early we’d keep a running clock.”

The running clock began with Pecos’ fifth touchdown of the first half, a 38-yard run by Stephen Apolinar, who was brought up from the junior varsity for the game and had touchdowns on his only two carries.

“Stephen’s worked real hard all season. I don’t believe he’s ever missed a practice and has worked hard in the weight room, so it was good to see him score. He’s a very deserving kid,” Henson said.

The TD came with 15 seconds left in the period, though with the running clock, the ensuing kickoff started the second quarter. Before then, Pecos got their first touchdown on a four-yard run by Hector Ramirez, on his only carry of the night, after punter Pedro Elias dropped a snap and ended up falling on the ball at the four.

The Coyotes did hit an 11-yard pass from Cristian Trejo to Danny Garcia on their next series, but that came after a motion call, and Trejo was stopped for a loss by Alonzo Villanueva (?) on a 3rd-and-4 play. A hold wiped out most of a 48-yard punt return by Reyes, but on the next play, quarterback Paul Zubeldia connected with Luis Morales on a 59-yard touchdown pass across the middle, and Morales’ kick made it 14-0.

“On that pass to Luis we just wanted to see that to give them something to work on,” Henson said. “Paul put it right in there.”

It was 16-0 just under a minute later when Tornillo was set back by a holding call on the kickoff, and Trejo was then sacked by Isaiah Vela in the end zone for a safety. The Coyotes then kicked off to Pecos, and Reyes would see his 47-yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage wiped out by a hold, but on 2nd-and-13 he broke free around right end for 43 yards to the 7, and went the rest of the way on the next play.

Touchdown No. 4 came after another fumbled punt snap set Pecos up at the Tornillo 2. This time, it was Zubeldia getting his first score of the year on a quarterback sneak, with the extra point kick making it 30-0.

“We were really hoping to work the first group a little bit more, but it got out of hand so fast we had to pull our kids,” Henson said.

In the second period, Zubeldia was replaced at quarterback by Omar Medina after Tornillo was stopped on a 4th-and-2 at their own 27, and after a penalty, he went around right end 32 yards for his first score of the year, making it 43-0. Apolinar’s second TD came from seven yards out with 1:04 left in the half, after an 11-yard run by Lucas Chavez and a 47-yard run by Nick Granado.

Elias would get Tornillo’s touchdown, also on a seven-yard run, after picking up three yards on a 3rd-and-2 from the Pecos 12, on a drive that started on the 20 with the recovery of the muffed kickoff. Tornillo would get the ball once more after a Pecos turnover in the third period, and went on an 11-play drive that got inside the Eagles’ 10, but Elias would be dropped for a two-yard loss on a 4th-and-4 play to end that scoring threat.

Tornillo remained winless on the year at 0-7, and will play Clint this coming Friday, while the Eagles go to Anthony to face the Wildcats, who won at home over the Eagles last season when they placed third in district, but who need a win this week to keep Pecos from clinching their first playoff berth since 2001. The Wildcats lost to Fabens by a 29-27 score, while Fort Stockton clinched their fourth straight trip to the playoffs with a 30-20 win at home over Clint.

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