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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Swim team starts season in Stockton

The Pecos Eagles swim team will get the earliest start ever to their season this Saturday, when they travel to Fort Stockton for the first of 12 regular season meets before District 3-4A competition at the end of January in Abilene.

Fort Stockton is where the Eagles won both the boys and girls district swim titles this past January, and where they’ll open and close their pre-district competition, going back for the Coker Invitational on Jan. 15, though coach Terri Morse said for Saturday’s meet, “They’re going to try and do it at one of their outdoor pools. If not, we’ll use the indoor pool at the high school.”

The meet will also be a relay-only event. “We’ll be swimming three-man relays and some regular relays that will have four on it,” Morse said. She added that each swimmer can compete in a maximum of four events.

The relays for the girls will be relatively unchanged from a year ago, since the Eagles return all but two of their swimmers. But the boys graduated five seniors and will have almost all-new lineups for the ‘A’ relays, following last season’s fourth place finish at the Class 4A state meet.

They’ll also have fewer swimmers on the boys’ side, though Morse said, “We’ll have enough to have one relay in each event. For the girls, we’ll have some ‘B’ relays and for the boys, we may have one or two ‘B’ relay teams.”

Saturday’s meet will begin at 12 noon and Morse said originally, Odessa swimmers also were supposed to be entered. “It’s just us and Fort Stockton,” she said Monday, though the Eagles will get to see swimmers from Odessa and other area schools at their next meet, on Oct. 2 at the University of Texas-Permian Basin pool in Odessa.

Pecos will have three home meets this season, the Pecos Invitational on Nov. 13, and dual meets with Fort Stockton and Monahans on Oct. 7 and Nov. 4. the Eagles also have invitational meets in Monahans, Big Spring, Seminole and Lubbock, along with an October trip to Abilene before retuning their for district competition on Jan. 28-29. It will be the first time Abilene has hosted the district meet.

Lubbock will again host the Region I-4A meet, on Feb. 10-12, while the state meet will be held on Feb. 25-26 at the Jamail Center on the University of Texas-Austin campus.

Parade scheduled to start pee-wee football season

A parade along Eddy and Washington streets will be held Saturday morning for Pecos Eagle Pee Wee football players, prior to the start of their 2004 season.

The parade will begin at the La Tienda Thriftway parking lot and will travel to Eagle Stadium, where the three opening day games will take place, according to Michael Benavides. He said the event was scheduled to get underway at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

The games will be played on the new FieldTurf surface at Eagle Stadium, which is having final work done on it this week. Enough of the field was finished last week to allow the varsity Eagles to play their homecoming game against Kermit as scheduled on Sept. 10, but additional rubber and sand is being placed on the field this week, along with the installation of the final section of artificial turf, around the high jump pit area at the south end of the field.

Benavides said there would be seven teams again in the league this season, with three teams in the Grades 3-4 division, and four entered in the Grades 5-6 division.

Eagles struggle in pre-district loss to Prowlers

It’s more important to win the games in October than September this year, but the Pecos Eagles got their pre-district week of District 3-3A volleyball play off to a bad start on Tuesday, as they were swept in Fort Stockton by the Prowlers.

Pecos lost to Fort Stockton by 25-18, 25-18, 25-19 scores, after scoring a 25-17, 27-25, 25-18 win over Marfa. The Eagles will be on the road to play another district rival on Saturday when they go to Presidio for a non-district match against the Blue Devils and against Fort Davis’ district rival, Marfa, beginning at 11 a.m.

Fort Stockton, Monahans and Presidio are the only three teams in Pecos’ volleyball district this season, which as a result won’t start until October. Three of the four teams will advance to the playoffs, and while Monahans is favored to win the district, the Eagles, Prowlers and Blue Devils are expected to fight it out for the other two 3-3A berths.

Pecos split pool round play against both those teams two weeks ago at the Cantaloupe Classic Tournament, but on Tuesday coach Becky Granado said the Eagles were never able to get anything going at the Williams Center.

“We just didn’t have any kind of offense. It was not that Fort Stockton did anything to overpower us. We were just not into the match,” Granado said.

“We just were out there. We were satisfied with the way we were playing, so we never picked up any momentum,” she said. “We’d ace them, but there was no excitement. We have to improve on that and we have to learn to get more involved.”

“I told our hitters they’re going to have to start hitting the ball and stop tapping it over the net. I scolded my setters, too. I told them that by now they should have improved a whole lot,” she said.

“Defensively we got to most of the balls they hit, which is our strong point. It’s just the offense we need to work on,” Granado added.

Against Fort Davis, the Eagles avoided a second game loss to pick up the sweep of the Maidens, their third against Fort Davis this season, though Granado said the Maidens apparently were shorthanded on Tuesday.

“One of their main players did not play, and she had a bunch of new kids,” Granado said. “But they hung with us and gave us a run for our money. We just had a little more offense against Fort Davis than we did against Fort Stockton.”

The Eagles did sweep Tuesday’s junior varsity matches, beating Fort Stockton, 25-15, 29-27, and Fort Davis, 25-8, 25-11, while Pecos’ freshmen lost to the Prowlers, 26-24, 25-17. Granado said only the freshmen will play on Saturday with the varsity at Presidio, since the Blue Devils’ JV team will be competing in tournament play this weekend.

Pecos, Crane looking to cut down on errors

Big plays and turnovers were the lethal combination for both the Pecos Eagles and Crane Golden Cranes this past week. Friday night, both teams will try to avoid their first losing streaks of the 2004 football season, when the Eagles travel to Crane for a 7:30 p.m. game against t he Golden Cranes.

The Eagles had more turnovers but fewer big plays against them last Friday in their homecoming game against Kermit. But the Jackets used three big plays in the first half to score two touchdowns and took advantage of one of Pecos’ six turnovers in the second half to clinch their 23-8 victory that left the Eagles with a 1-2 season record.

“We had the momentum after we scored, and then we dropped the punt,” said Eagles’ coach Patrick Willis. “You can’t beat anybody with six turnovers. The defense played well for us for the most part, but we did give up a couple of big plays.”

Meanwhile, Crane turned the ball over immediately after giving up an opening score to Colorado City, and surrendered a second touchdown moments later before spending the rest of the night trading points with the Wolves coming away with a 42-28 victory, the Cranes’ first loss of the season.

Crane had only allowed one touchdown in their first two games, beating Wall and Grape Creek, before getting burned for over 430 yards by Colorado City, including 269 yards and five through the air.

“We just had a little trouble giving up the big play,” said Cranes’ head coach Randy Doege. “Generally if you can make a team drive the ball, you’ll be in good shape, but we gave up the big play.”

“They were down 13-0 before they had done anything on offense,” said Willis, “But they were still able to move the ball up and down the field.”

Last year’s game with Crane for Pecos was a lot like last week’s game against Kermit. Pecos fumbled the ball eight times, but was able to rally from a 10-0 deficit to take a 14-10 lead, before Crane rallied for a 17-14 victory.

Doege’s son, freshman Seth Doege, has taken the bulk of the snaps at quarterback this season for the Cranes, even though last year’s QB, Alfredo Franco, threw for over 1,000 yards, including 130 against the Eagles last season. The two alternated at quarterback against Grape Creek, while Doege did all the passing last week, throwing for 213 yards and two scores, though he did suffer a pair of interceptions.

“Their freshman, he’s true,” said Willis. “I didn’t think he’d be ready for this level this fall, but it looks like he is.”

“We’ve been playing both of them a little bit, getting them snaps so they’ll both be ready later in the season,” said Randy Doege, who added that aside from his son, the Cranes have several other underclassmen starting this season.

“Several of them are new, but they’re coming around,” he said. Size-wise, Doege said the Cranes are only average, but “We base everything mainly on quickness more than size, anyway.”

Running back Riley Roussaire gained over 100 yards last week in the loss, 83 of that on a pair of first half touchdown runs. “He’s our featured back,” Doege said.

The Eagles, who ran for 300 yards against Denver City two weeks ago, could never break a big run against Kermit. “Their linebackers had our kids confused and they forgot their blocking assignments. We’d have two guys blocking one man and would leave the other to run free,” Willis said. “On the series when we went down and scored and then got the two (conversion), we actually blocked a couple of people.

“We’ve got to come back to the basics, and see if we can get our running game going again,” he said.

“It’s going to be a lot like (Kermit). They’re going to be sending heat every play, and it’s just going to be up to us to get our blocks and bust a couple,” he said. “Once you get past the line of scrimmage when they’re sending everyone, you’re going to break a couple, and I know they’re going to send a lot of people after us, just like everyone else.”

Willis said the Eagles would probably try and use senior Booker Fobbs on defense some Friday, since he’s splitting time with sophomore Luis Ortega at running back. Fobbs started last season at defensive end for Pecos but has played almost all his downs so far this season on the other side of the ball.

Mata Tournament set next week

The second annual Johnny V. Mata Memorial Baseball Tournament will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25-26 at Martinez Field.

The two-day tournament is being held in memory of Mata, a member of the 507th Maintenance Company who was one of 11 soldiers killed during a firefight with Iraqi forces on March 23, 2003, during the first weekend of the war in Iraq.

Yellowjackets defeated Eagles last week

The Pecos Eagles unveiled their new artificial turf field Friday night for homecoming fans against the Kermit Yellowjackets. But the Eagles’ problems against Kermit were pretty much the same as a year ago on natural grass before their homecoming crowd.

The Eagles, who committed five turnovers in a loss to Kermit last season, turned the ball over six times Friday night against the Jackets. Combined with a bad punt snap that led to a safety and Hunter Hardaway’s big night on offense, it send the Eagles down to a 23-8 loss in their first official home game of the 2004 season.

Pecos had to play their scheduled home opener last week against Denver City in Monahans, and despite four fumbles and 10 penalties, the Eagles were able to rack up enough rushing yards to come away with a 31-13 victory. But playing against a tougher defense on Friday, the Eagles were held to under 100 yards rushing, and when a potential game-tying touchdown was called back late in the second quarter by a holding call, Pecos was unable to get the score back. Instead, they saw Hardaway take a screen pass from Landon Forga and turn it into a 94-yard touchdown with 1:26 left before halftime for a 14-0 Kermit lead.

“We can’t do that against good teams like that. We just left people running free,” said Eagles’ coach Patrick Willis. “We just need to grow up and compete against good teams and cut out those kind of mistakes in big games.”

Luis Ortega’s five-yard score was nullified by a penalty. Three runs after that netted just five yards, and Saul Pina couldn’t connect on a 10-yard fade pass to Rashad Terry in the corner of the end zone on fourth down. The Eagles would stop Cooter Green for a four-yard loss on the next play, but the Jackets then took advantage of Pecos’ aggressive pass rush, with Forga just dumping the ball over the line to Hardaway, who escaped two Eagle tacklers before breaking clear on his long scoring run.

Kermit had taken a 7-0 lead in the opening period when Hardaway connected with Cedric Thompson on a 28-yard option pass, which was set up by a 41-yard pass by Forga to Green. The score came after Randy Castillo picked off his second pass of the game by Pina, after a Gabby Saucedo fumble had given Pecos back the ball one play after Castillo’s first pickoff on the Eagles’ opening drive of the game.

The big first half passes turned out to be the only completions of the night for the Jackets, as Forga’s first two passes of the second half were picked off by the Eagles. Pina deflected a pass by Forga that was intercepted by Jonathan Carrasco, while Terry stopped in front of a pass to Hardaway and picked it off, both coming in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the third quarter.

But in between, the Eagles saw Kermit add another two points to their lead thanks to the punt snap over Eddie Vela’s head, and it came after another holding call wiped out a seven-yard gain by Ortega and Luis Licon couldn’t hold onto a long pass by Pina after getting behind Kermit’s secondary.

“They had a good defensive scheme, but we dropped one touchdown pass, and in a couple of crucial situations fumbled the ball or got a penalty,” Willis said.

Licon had pulled in a 43-yard pass from Pina in the second quarter, on the drive that was stopped by the holding penalty, while after Terry’s interception Pina would hit him with a short pass that turned into a 23-yard gain, setting up Ortega’s 8-yard TD run 6 1/2 minutes into the third period. Booker Fobbs added the two-point conversion run, which got Pecos within a touchdown and another conversion of tying the game, and the Eagles would stop Kermit on their next two possessions.

However, after Hardaway was stopped for an eight-yard loss by Chad Evans on a 3rd-and-9 play, Castillo‘s punt was muffed by Terry and recovered by Raul Resendez at the Eagles’ 15-yard-line. Four plays later, Hardaway got outside the Eagles’ defense on the left side for his second touchdown of the night, a 5-yard run. Michael Kittley’s extra point gave the Jackets a 15-point lead with 5:39 to play.

Pecos had one last chance to get back into the game, and drove down to the Kermit 25-yard line. But on a 2nd-and-10 play Pina tried to hit Terry down the right sideline, only to have Forga come over from his safety position to intercept the pass at the 4-yard-line to seal the victory.

Bears pull out overtime win over Chargers

The Balmorhea Bears went to the air on Saturday in El Paso against the Jesus Chapel Chargers, connecting on eight touchdown passes to pull out an overtime win over the Chargers.

Michael Dominguez hit Michael Rodriguez with an 8-yard pass in overtime to give Balmorhea a 76-70 victory and improve the Bears to 2-0 on the season. It was the sixth scoring pass from Dominguez on the day and fifth TD catch by Rodriguez, all coming in the second half.

“We stopped them on downs, and got the ball at the 20 and scored,” said Bears’ coach Adolfo Garcia about the overtime victory. “In six-man you get the ball at the 20 and get four shots at it, and if you don’t get it the other team gets four shots.”

Rodriguez had scored on a 20-yard interception return in the opening period, when the Bears took a 24-26 lead. They still led 43-40 at the half, but fell behind in the third period, and had to rally to force the game into overtime.

Rodriguez caught a 32-yard TD pass from Brandon Mendoza in the third period, then caught passes of 5, 4 and 20 yards from Dominguez in the fourth quarter, though the Bears missed on their extra point try after the final score that would have avoided the overtime period.

Dominguez had touchdown passes of 60 and23 yards to Ryan Woodruff in the first half, while catching a 17-yard TD pass from Levon Barragan for Balmorhea’s final score before halftime. The Bears opened the game with a 17-yard TD run by Mendoza and got a 1-yard run for a touchdown from Barry Bordayo in the second period, but overall, the Chargers did better on the ground on Saurday.

“We had a lot of trouble stopping their run,” said Garcia. “I didn’t have three of my players on Saturday. I had three out because of injuries.”

Jesus Chapel quarterback Jonathan Lopez had five touchdown passes, four in the first half, while Kyle Green caught a touchdown pass, ran for a touchdown and threw for a TD in the final period to give the Chargers their final lead.

The win gave Balmorhea a 2-0 record going into their home opener at 7 p.m. this Saturday against Bethel Christian, while Jesus Chapel saw their record fall to 1-2 on the season.

Jr. high Eagles get wins, JV, freshmen teams lose

The Pecos Eagles’ junior high football teams came within six seconds of four shutout wins at home last Thursday, while the freshmen and junior varsity Eagles suffered shutout losses in Kermit against the Yellowjackets.

The seventh and eighth grade teams started their seasons with wins. The seventh grade purple team defeated Kermit, 12-0, while the gold team blanked the Jackets’ 14-0. In the eighth grade, the gold team won their game by a 16-0 score and then the purple team completed the sweep with a 20-6 victory.

Up in Kermit, Pecos’ JV fell to 0-3 on the season with a 6-0 loss to Kermit, after the Jackets dropped the freshmen Eagles’ record to 0-2 with a 37-0 victory.

The eighth grade purple team’s game was 12-0 from the late first quarter until the final seconds of play. Jeremy Martinez returned the opening kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to start things off, and then scored on a 20 yard run late in the first period. The final touchdowns came after Kermit called time out with 37 seconds to play and Pecos facing a 4th-and-10 from their own 15-yard-line. Instead of punting, Martinez then hit Oved Baeza with an 85-yard scoring pass and then ran in the two-point conversion with 20 second left, and Kermit then returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards for a score with six seconds to play.

The eighth grade gold team also opened their game with a kickoff return for a touchdown, but Jonathan Dominguez, who would later score the Eagles’ second touchdown as well on a run later in the first half.

The seventh grade purple team got scores in both halves of their game from Cesar Lascano. He went in from 21 yards out in the first half and scored on a 2-yard-run in the third period. The seventh grade gold team got their touchdowns on a 12-yard run by Jamell Toombs and a 10 yarder by Matthew Rodriguez, with Toombs getting the two-point conversion.

In the loss at Kermit, Eagles’ JV coach Junior Williams said, “We played a lot better this week. We didn’t score, but I was a lot happier with the effort of our kids.”

While the JV played better after a pair of four touchdown losses to open the season, the ninth graders took a step back after opening with a close loss at Denver City. Williams said the ninth graders did not work out on Monday due to Labor Day and were missing players from practice after that, which hurt their Thursday performance.

After five straight weeks on the road, including their two scrimmage games, the JV finally gets to play at home this coming Thursday, when they host the Crane Golden Cranes. The JV will start about 7 p.m., following the freshman game against Crane at 5 p.m.

Over in Crane, the seventh and eighth grade teams will play their first road game of 2004 against the Golden Cranes. Game times are 4 and 5:30 p.m.

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