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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Eagles purge Blue Devils after slow start

The Pecos Eagles’ volleyball team picked up on Friday against the Presidio Blue Devils where they left off on Tuesday against the Fort Stockton Prowlers. That wasn’t a good thing, but the Eagles were able to shake off their first game problems to sweep the next three games against Presidio to even their record at .500 in District 4-3A volleyball play.

Pecos dropped a 25-11 decision to Presidio, then rallied for a 25-22, 25-15, 25-23 win over the Blue Devils, in a match moved up a day to avoid a conflict with student tests on Saturday.

Coming off their four-game loss last Tuesday against Fort Stockton, and with district favorite Monahans coming into town on Tuesday, the Eagles needed to pick up their second win of the season in Presidio. But Pecos started off with the same problems they had in their final game loss to the Prowlers.

“In the first game we were just out there,” said coach Becky Granado. “We couldn’t pass the ball, and we couldn’t serve the ball. But then at the start of the second game we finally started playing better, and as the game went on we kept getting better.”

“In the second, third and fourth games our offense got better, and after the first game we did a much better job passing the ball, and we did a much better job serving,” said Granado, though Pecos did give up 12 points overall on bad serves during the match.

Defensively, Granado said, “Presidio really didn’t hit the ball much. They just tried to dink it over us, so I told the back line to move up to keep them from hitting those dinks.” Pecos’ last trip to Presidio was a five-game win in September, and the Blue Devils came close to forcing a deciding fifth game, coming back from a 20-15 deficit to take a 22-21 lead. The teams would be tied at 23-all when the Eagles were able to break serve and win.

The victory improved the Eagles’ season record to 18-14 and their district mark to 1-1 going into Tuesday’s game with Monahans, which should begin about 6:30 p.m. at the Pecos High School gym.

The Loboes are 2-0 in district and have not lost a game in any of their matches in the past two years. That includes Saturday’s 25-9, 25-12, 25-18 win at Fort Stockton that improved Monahans’ season record to 26-9. That’s not as good as last year, when the Loboes advanced to the Class 3A state finals, but they return district MVP Brittany Hughes and Granado said, “We’re going to have to play almost a perfect game to defeat Monahans.

“We’re going to have to try and take advantage when Brittany goes to the back line, and we’re going to have to do a much better job serving. We can’t miss 12 serves,” she said, adding she may change up her rotation slightly for Tuesday’s match.

“I’ll probably change the setters around to where Danielle (Garcia) is up there with Brittany (Hughes),” she said, in order to use Garcia as both a setter and blocker against the Loboes’ hitter.

Granado said the Eagles also won both the freshmen and junior varsity matches on Friday in Presidio, but scores were not available. Tuesday’s match is the only one of the week for Pecos, due to this Saturday’s UIL Marching Competition the Eagle Band will participate in at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.

Sub-varsities split games with Tornadoes

The Pecos Eagles sub-varsity teams came away with two wins, two losses and a tie from their games on Thursday and Saturday against the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes.

Playing in Pecos on Thursday, a combined freshmen and junior varsity squad was beaten by Lamesa, 34-0, to remain winless on the season. Meanwhile, playing in Lamesa on Saturday Pecos’ seventh grade purple team was edged by the Tors, 12-6, while the gold team tied 6-6, and the eighth grade teams both came away with wins over Lamesa, the purple team by a 22-0 margin and the gold team by a 28-2 score.

The eighth grade purple team improved to 3-1 with their win. Hector Ramirez had a pair of touchdowns and a two-point conversion run, while Jeremy Martinez had Pecos’ first touchdown. The Eagles’ other two points came on a conversion pass to Timo Reyes, coach Orlando Matta said.

“We played a lot better. We showed a lot of improvement from last week,” said Matta. In the gold team’s win, Jonathan Dominguez had two touchdown runs, while Lucas Chavez also had a TD and Paul Zubeldia passed to Ariel Jimenez for Pecos’ other score. Chavez and Dominguez also had two point conversion runs for the gold team, which is 2-2 on the season.

The seventh graders gave Lamesa an early score on a fumble off the opening kickoff, and fell to 1-3 on the season with their loss. The gold team is 1-1-1 after their tie against the Tornadoes.

“We tied it 6-6 and thought we had gone ahead 8-6, but we got three penalties on the extra point play,’ said coach Jerry Parent. “I think we played good defense on both teams.”

Maurice Johnson caught a pass from Jake Varela in the fourth quarter for the purple team’s touchdown, while the gold team’s TD came on a pass from Matthew Rodriguez to Pedro Reyes. “Pedro had about seven or nine catches. He was catching the ball everywhere,” said Parent.

While both of the junior high teams had enough players for ‘A’ and ‘B’ games, the loss of about 30 players in high school due to grades forced the freshmen and JV teams to combine squads for Thursday’s game against Lamesa. The remaining players had problems through most of the first half, when Lamesa scored two quick touchdowns, one off a blocked punt, and raced out to a 28-0 halftime lead.

This week, the combined team will go to Seminole on Thursday to take on the Indians, while the seventh and eighth grade teams will be at home on Thursday for games against the Midland Christian Mustangs.

Cougars hand Bears first loss of season

The Balmorhea Bears took an early lead on the Dell City Cougars on Friday night in Dell City. But three straight Dell City scores that followed gave the Cougars a lead they were able to hold onto the rest of the night, as they remained unbeaten and handed the Bears their first loss of the season, by a 52-50 final score.

“We scored seven touchdowns and they scored seven. They just got us on the extra points,” said Bears’ coach Adolfo Garcia, who added injuries hurt the team on defense. “We lost both of our safeties,” he said. “We started the game without one of them, and then the other, we lost him on the very first play, so they got us with their passing.”

He said after Brandon Mendoza scored on a four-yard run and Alexis Lozano’s extra point made it 8-0 for Balmorhea, Dell City scored the next 24 points, including two touchdowns off passes following a 30-yard scoring run by Eloy Perez. Mendoza would score again from two yards out to make it a 24-16 game before halftime, but the Bears could never come up with the go-ahead score in the final two periods.

Dell City scored to open the second half, then returned a kickoff for a touchdown after a one-yard run by Lozano made it 30-22. An eight-yard run by Eddie Lozano and a kick by Alexis Lozano cut the lead to 36-30 going into the final period, and the Bears did have a chance to tie the game midway through the quarter, after Eddie Lozano recovered a fumbled catch by Michael Hernandez in the end zone for a score.

But the Bears couldn’t convert on that extra point after missing earlier following a Michael Rodriguez kickoff return after Del City’s sixth TD. That left Balmorhea trailing 44-42, and the Cougars’ Perez would get what turned out to be the game-winning score on a 15-yard run with two minutes to play.

The Bears needed less than 20 seconds to cut the lead back to two, as Michael Dominguez passed 38 yards t Levon Barragan, then added the extra point kick. But Garcia said the Cougars were able to get a first down after the ensuing kickoff, and were then able to run out the clock.

Dell City improved to 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in District 6-A six man, tied for first with Sanderson, 46-0 winners over Marathon on Friday. The Bears are 5-1 and 2-1 in district going into their home game this Friday night against Marathon.

“We have to win all of our games to make the playoffs,” Garcia said. “We could still win district, but Sanderson will have to beat Dell City this Friday.”

Garcia said he also hoped to rest some of his injured players this week against the Mustangs, to get them ready for the Bears’ Oct. 22 game at Fort Davis. The Indians also are 2-1 in district, and actually picked up two wins on Friday, a forfeit district game over Buena Vista, and an on field 57-52 victory over El Paso Jesus Chapel.

Pecos takes top swim spots against Stockton

The Pecos Eagles swim team won most of the races on Thursday, in their second dual meet against the Fort Stockton Panthers. But it still took a disqualification of Fort Stockton’s relay team in the final event of the night for Pecos to come out on top in the final point standings.

The boys won first in nine of 12 races, but with nearly a 2-1 advantage in swimmers the Panthers led in the points standings until their disqualification in the 400 yard freestyle relay. The Eagles were leading in the race at the time and ended up winning by about 15 seconds, but the zero points Fort Stockton received allowed Pecos to win by a 79-78 point margin.

Things were a lot easier for Pecos’ girls. They won all 11 of their events and beat Fort Stockton for the second time this season, by a 104-31 margin.

“Most of the times were about what they did in Odessa,” coach Terri Morse said. “A few were a little faster. The relay people went a little faster, and all of the relays for the boys and girls cut a few seconds each.”

“I was also pleased with some of the times of the freshmen and my other new people who’ve come out. Most of them cut their times,” she said. “I was real pleased with our 500 (freestyle) swimmers. Their times were really good.”

Junior Alonzo Garcia cut over 20 seconds off his time in that race to win with a 6:03.33 time, while in the girls’ race,, junior Ashley Mendoza won with a 6:27.56 time.

Sophomore Cynthia Marmalejo was the only other swimmer in that event for the girls, and had a 7:26.96 time, while on the boys’ side freshman Matthew Florez placed third, just behind Fort Stockton’s Jay Orona, with a 6:21.86 time.

Florez swam the final leg of the 200 medley relay, which the Eagles won by 2 1/2 seconds over the Panthers, with a 1:52.89 time. The other members of the team, Kyle Winkles, Matt Elliott and Matt Oglesby, picked up five individual gold medals, while Elliott, Winkles, Florez and Garcia were part of the winning 400-yard freestyle relay team.

Elliott won the 200-yard freestyle in 2:01.11 and took the 100-yard butterfly with a 59.47 time. Winkles won the 100 free with a 52 second time and the 100 backstroke with a 59.86 time. Oglesby won the 200 individual medley in 2:14.37 and later was second by .4 second to Fort Stockton’s Denver Freeman in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Pecos’ other first place finish came from 1-meter diver Dustin Windham, who scored 141.65 points as the only diver for either team on Thursday. Windham, Oglesby, Florez and Garcia were second in the 200 freestyle relay, Garcia was third and Luke Serrano fourth in the 50 freestyle and Serrano also was fourth in the 100 breaststroke.

While Pecos’ boys had fewer swimmers than Fort Stockton, on the girls’ side the Eagles had the numbers advantage, along with winning all 11 races. In the relays, Teddie Salcido, Lindsey Shaw, Susan Moore and Ashley Horsburgh won the 200 medley wit a 2:07.99 time, and Moore, Amie Reynolds, Amanda Contreras and Mendoza took the 200 freestyle with a 1:57.62 time. Fort Stockton came in second in both races, but in the 400 freestyle relay, the Eagles ‘A’ team only swam against their ‘B’ team, with Horsburgh, Salcido, Reynolds and Moore placing first with a 4:13.68 time, while Shaw, Contreras, Marmalejo and Mendoza had a 4:38.88 time.

In the other individual races, Salcido was first in the 200 freestyle with a 2:17.49 time, with Marmalejo second; Shaw won the 200 medley with a 2:32.12 time with Mendoza second; Reynolds won the 50 freestyle with a 29.65 time, with Contreras second; Moore won the 100 fly in 1:10.44, with Contreras placing second; Horsburgh won the 100 free in 1:03.95, with Reynolds placing second; Salcido won the 100 backstroke in 1:12.54, with Horsburgh placing second; and Shaw took the 100 yard breaststroke in 1:19.34.

Pecos’ girls also had beaten Fort Stockton in their dual relay meet last month in Fort Stockton, while the boys had finished behind the Panthers in that event. Morse said she changed up the relays for Thursday’s races and may do some more changing of individual events this coming Thursday, when Pecos swims in a dual meet in Monahans, but added she can tweak her girls’ lineup easier than she can on the boys’ side.

“There’s not a whole lot on the boys’ side I can do, since we don’t have much depth. But we still won all but two or three races with the swimmers we have,” she said.

Willis waiting to see portrayal of coach from HS

Staff Writer

When Pecos Eagles’ head football coach Patrick Willis was playing for the Monahans Loboes in the mid-1980s, the Loboes had some exciting and important games under head coach Gary Gaines.

But odds are none of the Loboes expected to see their head coach portrayed in a major Hollywood movie 20 years later.

Willis and his Eagles opened up their District 3-3A football schedule on Friday night against the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes, at the same time the movie “Friday Night Lights” debuts in theaters across the United States. Billy Bob Thornton portrays Gaines, who was in his third season as head coach of the Odessa Permian Panthers when the team’s 1988 season was chronicled by Philadelphia Inquirer reporter H.G. Bissinger for a 1990 best-selling book.

“I hadn’t even thought about it, but I will go to see it,” Willis said last Wednesday of the film’s release. “It’s kind of personal to me because coach Gaines was my coach in high school.”

At the time of the book’s release, Bissinger said he had become aware of the Permian program in the early 1980s, due not only to their success on the field under then head coach (and current Ector County ISD athletic director) John Wilkins, but due to the 1982 construction of Ratliff Stadium, the 19,000-seat field that was one of the most impressive high school fields in the nation at the time it was built.

While Bissinger was first working to gain approval to follow the Permian team around, Gaines was beginning a three-year run as head coach at Monahans. The Loboes won the District 2-4A title in his first season, 1983, then finished second and lost in the Region I-4A finals to district rival Sweetwater the following season. Gaines left for Permian following the 1985 season, in which the Loboes missed out on the playoffs with a season-ending loss to San Angelo Lake View.

Gaines gave Bissinger approval to cover the team in 1988, when Permian advanced to the state semifinals after winning a three-way coin flip to make the playoffs. But when the book came out, the portrayal of both Permian and Odessa in general drew criticism in the community and from Gaines himself.

Willis said he still stays in contact with Gaines. “As a matter of fact, he talked to me last week. He e-mailed me and gave me some inspirational speeches he had used” as motivational tools for his teams.

“I know coach Gaines was unhappy with the book,” said Willis, while adding that one of the players off that team, running back Boobie Miles, said the film version is more positive towards the Panthers’ program.

“I see him all over Monahans and he said 75 percent of the movie is going to be accurate,” Willis said. Miles’ injury problems were a focal point of Bissinger’s story, and in the movie he’s played by Derek Luke, and Myles’ coping with his early-season injury will also be a key part of the film.

“Friday Night Lights” opened to generally favorable reviews, though it failed to unseat the movie “Shark Tales” as No. 1 at the box office. Things also didn’t go very well on the field for Willis’ Eagles, who lost their district opener to Lamesa, or to the Permian Panthers, who dropped their district opener against Midland High on Friday night.

Turnvoers set up Eagles for district opening loss

The Pecos Eagles cur their turnovers in half from their recent games, but they still hurt just as much Friday night in their District 3-3A opener against the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes.

After averaging six turnovers in their four games leading up to district, the Eagles gave up the ball “only” three times on Friday night in Lamesa. But the first turned what appeared to be a looming 14-0 Pecos lead into a 7-7 tie, the second set up Lamesa for their go-ahead score in the third period and the third ended the Eagles’ best chance at tying the game or taking the lead early in the final quarter, as Lamesa used those mistakes and the running of Bryan Brown and Joseph Hill to score a 19-7 victory.

“I don’t understand how we go from the first drive to not being able to move the ball on the ground,” said Eagles’ head coach Patrick Willis. “I don’t know. Are we doing that terrible a job coaching, or are the kids not doing what we tell them to?”

The Tors didn’t play errorless ball either, committing three turnovers of their own, but none of them ended up leading to Pecos points. The Eagles’ lone score came after stopping Lamesa’s first series, when Booker Fobbs got through the right side of the Tors’ line for a 59-yard touchdown run just four minutes into the game. Then one play after the ensuing kickoff Brown and Hill failed to connect on a handoff, with Jacob Marquez recovering at the Lamesa 19-yard-line.

Fobbs would gain 11 yards and a first down at the eight on three carries, but he was hit for a one yard loss on his next run and then on second down quarterback Miguel Estrada tried a run into the right side of the line and was stripped of the ball by Caycee Collier, who raced 89 yards the other way for Lamesa’s first score of the night. Erik Rodriguez added the extra point to tie the game at 7-all.

Willis said Estrada was starting his first varsity game at quarterback, in place of Saul Pina, in order to try and get more passing into the Eagles’ offense. “Saul has the best hands on the team,” he said prior to Friday’s contest, but as things turned out the only pass Pina would catch was not from Estrada but from Eddie Vela, a four-yarder off a fake punt for a first down in the third period.

Estrada’s longest completion came just prior to halftime, and was actually a short pass to Rashad Terry that the Eagle receiver appeared to turn into a 62-yard touchdown pass. Terry faked out a couple of Lamesa defenders and then used his blockers to get through the secondary, but one of the blocks at the Tors’ 9-yard-line drew a flag, setting the Eagles back to the 19 with 17 seconds and no timeouts left. Estrada was then sacked by Phillip Reyna to end the half.

The Eagles were in almost the same position to start the second half, but headed towards the other end zone. Unfortunately, they began the half by heading in the wrong direction, thanks to a pair of illegal procedure calls, two of the 11 penalties on the night against Pecos. Facing a 3rd-and-19 from their own 13, Estrada threw a 15-yard pass that was a little behind receiver Simon Castillo, and bounced off his hands and into those of defensive back Andy Kilgore.

Brown would get around left end for 13 yards on the next play, gained five more after that, and on 3rd-and-5 Hill went up the middle for nine yards, to the Pecos 1. Reyna scored one play later to put Lamesa ahead, 13-7.

The fake punt kept Pecos’ ensuing drive alive near midfield, but another motion call would wipe out a first down pass by Estrada to Castillo, and the Eagles were forced to punt. Lamesa would then drive the ball downfield, with Hill breaking off a 38-yard run before being tackled by Castillo, who forced a fumble the Eagles would recover at their own 28 yard line.

But after another motion call wiped out a first down pass, this one a 14-yarder from Estrada to Pina, the Eagles would go back to the senior at quarterback on their first series of the fourth quarter, which followed another Hill fumble, this one recovered by Vela at the Pecos 23.

“Miguel kind of lost his poise in spots. He had some kids open, but he had the jitters, “ Willis said. “He’d see someone coming and instead of stepping up and saying our lineman is going to get him, he’d tuck it and run.”

Pina would hit Terry for a 7-yard gain, and Terry would then pick up 18 yards on a reverse. 14- and 15-yard completions to Castillo would follow, but with a 1st-and-10 at the Lamesa 18 Pina would mishandle a snap out of the shotgun, which Reyna would recover at the 27. Pecos would have one more chance to tie the game, but Fobbs was stopped short at the Eagles’ 35-yard-line on a 4th-and-3 with 3:07 to play. The Tors would pick up a first down after that to all but clinch the game, and then did seal the victory when Brown broke through the line for an 18-yard score with 53.1 seconds to play.

The Eagles actually out-gained the Tors on the night by about 40 yards, but the difference came after Brown’s touchdown and without their leading rusher, Luis Ortega, the Eagles were held to only 127 yards on the ground, almost half of that coming on Fobbs’ early score, while Pina threw for 117 yards in the final period. Meanwhile, both Hill and Brown would go over the 100-yard mark rushing for the game with 140 and 113 yards respectively, which offset the Tors’ eight yards total offense through the air on Friday.

The win put Lamesa at 2-4 on the season while Pecos falls to 1-5 going into their District 3-3A home opener this Friday against Seminole, 21-0 losers at home to Greenwood this past Friday. Fort Stockton outscored Monahans and won their first close game of the season after three narrow losses, 48-47, in the other district opener. At Lamesa Pecos 7 0 0 0 -- 7 Lamesa 7 0 6 6 -- 19 First Quarter Pec. - Fobbs 59 run (Barreno kick), 3:51 Lam. - Collier 89 fumble return (Rodriguez kick), 6:48. Third Quarter Lam. - Reyna 1 run (kick failed), 3:07. Fourth Quarter Lam. - Brown 18 run (kick failed), 11:07. Pec Lam First Downs 11 14 Rushing-Yds. 27-118 49-278 Passing Yds 199 8 Passes 15-28-1 2-8-0 Punts-Avg. 4-34.5 2-34.5 Fumbles-Lost 2-2 3-3 Penalties-Yds. 11-65 4-40 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING - Pecos, Fobbs 2-46, Estrada 9-21, Terry 1-18, Pina 2-(-3), Castillo 1-(-3). Lamesa, Hill 21-140, Brown 19-113, Guerra 2-16, Reyna 5-9, Kilgore 2-0. PASSING - Pecos, Pina 9-16-0-117, Estrada 5-11-1-81, Vela 1-1-0-4. Lamesa, Brown 2-8-0-8 RECEIVING - Pecos, Terry 6-101, Castillo 3-47, Licon 2-35, Fobbs 2-12, Pina 1-4. Lamesa, Reyna 1-14, Collier 1-(-6). MISSED FIELD GOALS - None.

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