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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eagles reach San Angelo title bracket, then struggle

Saturday wasn’t a great day for the Pecos Eagles volleyball team at the Nita Vannoy Memorial Tournament in San Angelo. But coach Ruth McWilliams was happy that her team was in position to face the teams they did on Saturday, following Friday’s opening round play in the 40-team tournament.

Pecos opened up with victories over Odessa Permian and Miles, before losing to Taylor in the championship match of the Blue Division on Friday. Placing second allowed the Eagles to then advance to the Gold Bracket (championship division) of the tournament on Saturday, where they were swept by both Monahans and Kerrville Tivy, dropping the Eagles record to 6-7 on the season.

“I’d rather lose in the Gold Bracket and get no trophy than get a trophy in the other divisions,” McWilliams said. “We ended up finishing in the Top 8 out of 40 teams, but on the second day we just didn’t play well.”

The Eagles had edged Permian in scrimmage play at Monahans two weeks earlier, and opening up the tournament with a 25-9, 25-16 win over the Panthers. They followed that up with a pair of 25-18 wins over Miles, which beat San Angelo Lake View in their opening match. Pecos then won its first game over Taylor, 25-14, but saw the Ducks rally for 25-18, 25-19 victories.

On Saturday, the Eagles were beaten by the Loboes in their quarterfinal rounds match, 25-14, 25-15, then fell in the consolation semifinals to the Antlers, by 27-25, 25-20 scores.

“We really didn’t play good against Monahans,” McWilliams said. The Eagles were edged during scrimmage play two weeks earlier by the Loboes, who then lost in the semifinals to El Paso Coronado. San Angelo Central, which had beaten Monahans the past three years in the tournament title game, defeated Coronado to claim their fourth straight title.

The Eagles and Loboes weren’t scheduled to face each other this season after Monahans was shifted into District 3-3A with Andrews, Greenwood and Seminole. The teams had been in the same district for the past six years, with Monahans going undefeated during that time and losing only one game in any of their matches, last season in Pecos, and McWilliams said the domination of the Eagles by the Loboes in recent years is something Pecos will have to get past come November.

“It’s just a mental thing. If we want to go on (in the playoffs), we’re going to need to overcome that,” McWilliams said. “We looked really good in other areas, but there are some things we need to work on.”

“We had some spots where we did well, but we just couldn’t keep it together,” she added.

The Eagles’ next match will be on Tuesday and will be their fifth 200-mile trip of the season, this time to Sweetwater to take on the Mustangs. Sweetwater scored a 20-25, 28-26, 28-26 win over Taylor after falling to Central in the Gold Division of the tournament on Saturday, after also going 2-1 in their matches on Friday. Pecos then heads north to Lubbock for their final tournament on the season, in Frenship on Friday and Saturday.

Pecos’ junior varsity and freshmen teams played at home this weekend, at the Cantaloupe Classic Tournament, which was a mix of varsity, JV and ninth grade teams. The Eagles’ purple team ended up placing second overall, falling in the final to Odessa High’s JV, while the freshman gold team finished third in their division, beating Marfa’s JV in their final match.

The JV gold and freshmen purple teams failed to place in the tournament. JV and freshmen teams also will be making the trip to Sweetwater on Tuesday, and will have their third and final tournament of the season on Friday and Saturday in Fort Stockton.

Pecos downs Greenwood in final scrimmage

Things look a lot better for the Pecos Eagles football team after a trip out of town on Thursday, as the Eagles bounced back from a losing effort in their opening scrimmage game of the season to score a win in Greenwood over the Rangers in their final test before this Friday’s 2008 regular season opener.

Pecos’ first team, outscored 3-1 last week by Seminole, outscored Greenwood by a 2-1 margin in the opening 15 plays. Then, after the Rangers had the only touchdown in the second team portion of the scrimmage and both squads scored once in the goal line situation, the Eagles had the only touchdown of the 12-minute period, a 45-yard pass from Paul Zubeldia to Luis Morales, and then kept the Rangers out of the end zone after they reached Pecos’ 19-yard-line in the final 30 seconds of play.

“They showed a lot more intensity and enthusiasm than last time,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “I thought they were really coming off the ball better than last week.

“There are still a couple of things we need to work on. We were jumping offsides too much, but I feel a lot better about things now,” he said.

The touchdown catch in the game situation was the second of the night for Morales and the third TD pass for Zubeldia. The two connected for a 70-yard score on the fifth play of the scrimmage, and the Eagles’ quarterback closed out the 15-play series with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Eric Salcido.

Pecos opened up the scrimmage with a 34-yard run by Hector Ramirez, but the Eagles would turn the ball over three plays later, and by the end of the opening series were without both Ramirez and starting tailback Timo Reyes due to injury. Henson said Ramirez had tightness in his Achilles tendon after taking a hit on a first down run early in the scrimmage, while Reyes twisted an ankle.

The Eagles also went into the scrimmage without Reyes’ backup, Isaiah Patino, who sprained his ankle against Seminole, so Arturo Munoz and Joseph Ontiveros ended up getting most of the carries the rest of the way. Munoz would score from three yards out during the goal line portion of the scrimmage, where both teams ran four plays from the five-yard line.

Greenwood got its only touchdown with its first team on the opening series on a 16-yard run by Blake McCullough, who started off the series with a 12-yard run. The Rangers had three other runs of 10 or more yards in the opening 15-play series, but other than a 64-yard scoring pass allowed by the second team defense, things got better for Pecos as the game went on.

Pecos’ second team offense had its problems moving the ball, but did get a late 28-yard run by Nick Granado during their 15-play series.

“I thought our offensive line did a great job. Lomas Gonzales at center had a guy in front of him who was about 300 pounds all night and he did a good job controlling him,” Henson said. He said backup center Jake Varela and the other Pecos lineman also played well against the Rangers’ front line.

In the timed portion, Munoz and Ontiveros had first down runs just before Zubeldia’s touchdown pass, as the Eagles needed just 1:28 to go 70 yards for the score. They then stopped the Rangers short on their next series and forced a punt, but would turn the ball over on their next two possessions, on a fumble by Munoz and an interception at the goal line on a deep pass by Zubeldia.

“Paul threw the ball well. On that one, he just threw the ball a little late,” Henson said. “He knew what to run and made the right read, he just threw it late or it would have been a touchdown.”

Greenwood would fumble the ball right back to Pecos after Munoz’s turnover, but after the interception the Rangers would march from their 20 to Pecos’ 19 with 27 seconds to play while practicing their hurry-up offense. But after a first down spike a run by quarterback Trey Edwards gained one yard and after another spike, Kaden Hatley’s pass over the middle to Josh Cook was batted down by Omar Medina, giving the ball back to Pecos with one second to play.

In the earlier scrimmages, the Eagles’ freshmen, who also lost to Seminole last week, defeated Greenwood by a 2-1 score, while the Eagles’ junior varsity ended up in a 1-1 tie for the second week in a row.

Israel Espudo had a 12-yard run for the first team offense, and Arturo Villa added a five-yard score for the freshmen, while the JV’s touchdown came on a one-yard run by Ramiro Pinales.

All three Eagle teams will open their 2008 seasons on different days this week. Pecos’ varsity goes to Alpine on Friday for their season opener, at 7:30 p.m., a night after the Eagles’ JV hosts the Bucks in a 7 p.m. start. Then on Saturday, the freshmen team starts its season at home, with a 10 a.m. game at Eagle Stadium against Iraan’s JV

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