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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Turnovers fail to boost Eagles against Rangers

Even when the Pecos Eagles get instead of give up turnovers during the 2004 football season, things don’t seem to work out right for them.

The Eagles, who came into Friday night’s game against the Greenwood Rangers having given up 21 more turnovers than they had caused in their first seven games, got what seemed like two big plays in the first half, one by the special teams and one by the defense. But in both cases, things ended up working out badly for Pecos.

The Eagles blocked a 49-yard field goal attempt by Eric Skaggs, which Rashad Terry picked up and appeared to return for a 71-yard touchdown. But an illegal block penalty nullified that play, which would have given Pecos a chance to tie Greenwood late in the first quarter.

Then in the second period, the Eagles appeared to have dodged another bullet, when Saul Pina picked off a fourth down Branson Valencia pass five yards deep in the end zone. But he couldn’t decide whether or not to run the ball out of the end zone, and ended up stepping out of bounds on the 1-yard-line.

That ended up putting Pecos in a hole, and while the Eagles did get the ball out to the nine-yard-line before they had to punt, Greenwood’s Jarrell Brooks would come in to block Eddie Vela’s kick, which Josh Gaskin recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. That put Greenwood ahead 14-0 with four minutes left in the half, and the Rangers would score once more in the final minute of play, then used the Eagles’ 34th and 35th turnovers of the season in the second half to add two more scores on the way to a 41-6 win “They were gaming us like we wanted up front, but we couldn’t handle it,” said Eagles’ coach Patrick Willis, as aside from the Eagles’ failure to take advantage of their turnover changes, the other big difference in the game was on the lines.

Valencia had missed the Rangers’ first seven games of the season due to a broken leg, and saw his first action on Friday at quarterback. But while the senior was not as mobile as he was expected to be, outside of a second quarter sack by Chad Evans prior to Pina’s interception, the Eagles were never able to put enough pressure on Valencia to make a difference.

The extra time allowed Valencia to hook up with Justin Sebree on a 45-yard pass on the Rangers’ first offensive play that set up Greenwood’s initial score, on a nine-yard bootleg by freshman Colton Wilbur, who had started the previous six games for the Rangers. It also hurt Pecos just before halftime, when they couldn’t get their linemen back fast enough to get Valencia after a snap out of the shotgun formation went between his legs. He was able to recover and throw away the ball before he could be sacked, and on the next play found Silas Etheridge across the middle for a 19-yard touchdown 28 seconds before halftime.

“The defense played hard, but it was one big play here and one big play there,” Willis said.

Meanwhile, Greenwood’s line put plenty of pressure on Pina, who was just 2-for-14 on the night, including an attempt in the final quarter to throw away a pass that ended up being picked off by Skaggs near the Pecos sideline and returned 32 yards for the final touchdown of the night. The Rangers also did a better job bottling up the Eagles’ running attack, though Booker Fobbs did find some openings in the first half.

Fobbs had a 15 yard run on the opening series of the night, then broke one 38 yards following Wilbur’s touchdown run. He then ran seven more yards on second down, but the Rangers were able to knock Luis Ortega back three times after that, and took over on downs at their own 43 yard line.

Ortega, who was ineligible for the Eagles’ previous two games, could manage just 66 yards rushing on Friday, most of that in the final period.

“Cowboy (Ortega) struggled to get going. He just didn’t see the holes like he usually does,” said Willis. “Booker did a good job finding the holes, but when you’re playing defense it’s tough to go both ways, and he had about 10 tackles on defense.”

Fobbs would break a couple of more runs in the closing seconds of the half, after Greenwood’s third score, but the Rangers were able to break up a pass from Pina to Rashad Terry near the end zone as the half expired to keep Pecos scoreless, then added their fourth touchdown on the opening drive of the second half, as Brooks drove through Pecos’ line for a series of 8- and 9-yard gains before Sebree came in and went the final 35 yards for the first of his two second half scores.

The Eagles did counter that touchdown with their own score, as Simon Castillo returned Skaggs’ kickoff 59 yards to the Rangers’ 13, then came across the middle and got away from David Hill for a 10-yard touchdown pass from Pina on fourth down to break the shutout. The Eagles then got the only break of the night that really went their way, when a bad snap bounced off the hands of Luis Licon and directly to kicker Eddie Vela, who ran the ball up the middle for a two-point conversion.

Terry’s first half return through traffic of the blocked field goal was called back by the illegal block, but that still left Pecos with a first down at their own 35. They were able to get another first down on a quarterback sneak by Pina on fourth and inches, but the quarterback was unable to connect with Castillo or Terry on the next three plays, and Pecos was forced to punt.

In the second half, the Eagles tried a couple of passes over the middle, but Pina didn’t get the ball up high enough to Evans on one play and it was picked off by linebacker Blake Higgins on the first play of the fourth quarter. The officials, who had tossed out a couple of Pecos players for a play on one first half series, would do the Eagles no favors on the play after Higgins’ pickoff, ignoring a clip on Terry that freed up Sebree for his second score of the night, a 30-yard run around the right end.

The loss left Pecos with a 0-3 district record and all but mathematically eliminated them from the playoff race. They’re 1-7 overall while Greenwood improved to 2-1 in district and 2-5 on the season, tied for second place with Seminole. The Indians, who went out to a 41-6 win the previous week in a 48-18 win over Pecos, went up on Monahans 44-8 on the way to a 44-26 win over the Loboes, who’ll host the Eagles this Friday night.

Pecos 0 0 8 0 --8 Greenwood 7 14 7 13 -- 41 First Quarter Gwd, -- Wilber 10 run (Eric Skaggs kick), 6:40 Second Quarter Gwd. -- Gaskin recovered blocked punt in end zone (Skaggs kick), 8:01 Gwd. -- Etheredge 19 pass from Valencia (Skaggs kick), 11:32 Third Quarter Gwd. -- Sebree 35 run (Skaggs kick), 4:33 Pec. -- Castillo 11 pass from Pina (Vela run), 5:23 Fourth Quarter Gwd -- Sebree 30 run (Skaggs kick), 0:15 Gwd -- Skaggs 29 INT return (pass failed), 3:15 Pec Gwd First downs 11 15 Rushes-yards 40-181 37-248 Passing yards 9 87 Comp.-Att.-Int. 2-15-2 4-11-1 Punts-Avg. 4-38.0 2-35.5 Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1 Penalties-yards 4-54 9-53 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING -- Pecos, Fobbs 10-107, Ortega 23-66, Pina 6-7, Estrada 1-(-1). Greenwood, Brooks 18-144, Sebree 5-76, Flowers 4-10, Etheredge 2-4, Wilber 3-14, Valencia 1-(-7), Williams 3-6, Gan 1-1. PASSING -- Pecos, Pina 2-15-2-9; Greenwood, Valencia 2-6-1-64, Wilber 2-5-0-23 RECEIVING -- Pecos, Castillo 2-9; Greenwood, Sebree 2-51, Etheredge 1-19, Zachry 1-17 MISSED FIELD GOALS - Greenwood, Skaggs 49 (blocked).

Loss puts Pecos’ playoff streak in jeopardy

The Pecos Eagles’ volleyball team still has their fate in their own hands - technically. But after being swept by the Presidio Blue Devils at home on Friday, the Eagles figure to need either a much better effort or some outside help to keep their string of playoff appearances alive.

Pecos had a chance to clinch their eighth straight trip to the playoffs on Friday, but was beaten by Presidio, 25-23, 25-17, 25-19, tying the two teams for the third and final playoff berth out of District 3-3A. And with a trip on Tuesday night to face district champion Monahans on the schedule to close out regular season play, coach Becky Granado said, “We’re going to have to play 10 times better than what we played against Presidio to have a chance.”

The 2004 Eagles have been a far better team on the road than they’ve been at home, having won only twice in Pecos this season. Meanwhile, the Eagles came in already having defeated the Blue Devils on the road three times, including two games in Presidio. “I was surprised. We had two good practices, and I felt good going into Friday’s match, but once we got on the court we didn’t know what to do,” Granado said. “I don’t know if we felt overconfident or if we felt Presidio was going to give us the game.

“You’ve got to give Presidio credit. They out-hustled us and played with more emotion. If they made a mistake they didn’t let it bother them,” Granado said.

“Offensively, we didn’t do a lot. Defensively we did a little better, but we got caught standing around flat-footed. There was never any fight,” she said. “After we lost the first game I thought we would come back and fight in the second game, but there was no emotion.”

“Candace (Regelman) was our most consistent hitter. If we had gotten some more consistency from some of our other hitters, it night have been a little different.

Defensively, Tiffany (Taragno) and Amalie (Herrera) did well, but the other girls seemed to expect them to do everything. But they have to play their positions.”

The loss by Pecos left the Eagles with a 1-4 district record and an 18-17 overall mark going into their game with Monahans, which clinched the district title on Friday with their win over Fort Stockton and has now won 65 straight games and 25 straight matches in district play over the past three seasons. The Prowlers are 3-2 and clinched second place with Pecos’ defeat. They will close out their regular season in Presidio on Tuesday. Pecos needs either a win over the Loboes or a Prowler victory over the Blue Devils to force a third place playoff this coming weekend.

“We’ll just have to see how it goes against Monahans,” said Granado. Pecos’ junior varsity team did come away with a win on Friday over the Blue Devils in three games, beating Presidio by 25-15, 14-25, 25-20 scores.

Boys tie for 1st, girls 2nd at Big Spring meet

The Pecos Eagles boys’ swim team tied for first place, while the girls placed second this past Saturday at the Big Spring Invitational.

The Eagles tied El Paso Burges for first on the boys’ side with 200 points, 10 points up on District 3-4A rival Monahans. The girls ended up with 205 points to finish second to El Paso Hanks, which had 274 points, while Burges was third with 147.

Coach Terri Morse said she had to swim without senior Ashley Horsburgh, which forced some changes to her girls relay teams, while she also switched up her boys’ lineup from Pecos’ recent dual meets.

“I had Matt Elliott on three relays,” she said, while Susan Moore also swam in all three relays and just one individual event for the girls.

Moore, Teddie Salcido, Lindsey Shaw and Amie Reynolds won the 200 medley relay by half a second over El Paso Hanks, with a 2:08.34 time. In the 200 free, Moore, Amanda Contreras, Cynthia Marmalejo and Ashley Mendoza were fourth, while in the 400 free relay, Reynolds, Moore, Salcido and Lindsey Shaw were second six seconds behind El Paso Hanks. The girls also picked up an eighth place finish from their ‘B’ 400 free relay team

The boys won the last of their three relays, the 400 freestyle, as Elliott, Alonzo Garcia, Kyle Winkles and Matthew Flores finished with a 3:44.15 time. In the 200 medley, the team of Elliott, Winkles, Matt Oglesby and Flores placed second by 1.4 seconds to Monahans, while Elliott, Garcia, Dustin Windham and Oglesby were fourth in the 200 freestyle relay.

Individually, Morse said “Some people cut quite a bit of time, and some people cut a little bit. … Matthew Flores cut probably the most, and Susan Moore cut quite a bit in the 100 fly. She swam about three seconds faster.”

Moore ended up winning the 100-yard butterfly in 1:07.80, three seconds faster than Big Spring’s Lauen Sage. The next best finishes for the Eagles came from Salcido, second in the 500-yard freestyle and from Reynolds, who edged out Shaw for second in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Salcido was fourth and Mendoza sixth in the 200 yard freestyle; Shaw was second and Cassandra Mata was 12th in the 200 individual medley; Amanda Contreras was 12th in the 100 fly; Reynolds was third and Mata 13th in the 100 freestyle; Mendoza was fourth in the 500 free; and Marmalejo was 19th in the 100 backstroke for Pecos’ other points.

The boys had a couple of first place efforts aside from their relay win. Winkles took the 100-yard backstroke in 58.60 and the 100 free with a 52.40 time, while Elliott won the 100-yard butterfly with a 57.57 time.

Oglesby was second in the 200 medley and Windham was second on Friday in the 1-meter diving competition. In other results, Flores was sixth and Garcia eighth in the 200 free; Oglesby was sixth and Luke Serrano 16th in the 100 yard breaststroke; and Garcia was fourth and Flores eighth in the 500 free.

Morse said all the Eagles district rivals were in Abilene, but added that Andrews and Abilene Wylie appeared to be missing swimmers. “They may have had some sick or they may have been at (regional) band,” she said.

Pecos’ girls just edged out Wylie for third back in early October at the Odessa Invitational, and Morse said the Bulldogs should have their full team for this weekend’s Abilene Invitational, which will also be where this season’s District 3-4A meet will be held in late January.

JV wears out, Jr. highs split with Rangers

The Pecos Eagles’ junior varsity football team was down to just 13 players Thursday night, and was down by 13 points early on in their home game against the Greenwood Rangers.

But the Eagles were able to hold the Rangers in the middle periods, and close the gap to just seven points before running out of gas, as Greenwood scored three times in the final period for a 37-6 win over Pecos.

Over in Midland, the Eagles’ eighth grade teams came away with a win and a tie over Greenwood, while the seventh graders lost their games to the Rangers. The eighth grade purple team scored on their first play of the game and ended up winning by a 6-0 score, while the gold team scored in the second half to tie the Rangers, 6-6. Pecos’ seventh grade purple team was blanked by Greenwood, 24-0, while the gold team fell by a 14-8 final score.

The JV has played shorthanded in the last three games due to grades, and in their first two they were blown out early by Lamesa and Seminole. That’s the way Thursday’s game appeared to be going, when the Rangers scored on their first two possessions. But the Eagles were able to contain Greenwood after that, while getting their own touchdown in the third period on a blocked punt.

“They could have just given up when it got to 13-0, but they really played hard,” said coach Junior Williams. “It ended up 37-6, but the kids got after it. They just wore use down because we didn’t have anyone on the sidelines.”

The Eagles started the game with no reserve linemen, and Williams said when one of the others was injured, “We had to put one of our tight ends in there, and he’s never really played it.”

Isaiah Rayos scored the Eagles’ touchdown, recovering the blocked punt by Edward Valencia in the end zone. The loss left the JV with a 0-8 record on the season. The eighth grade purple team is 5-1 and the gold team is 2-2-1 after their games in Midland. Coach Orlando Matta said Linvel Mosby hit Jeremy Martinez with a 60-yard touchdown pass on the opening play from scrimmage for what turned out to be the lone score of the game.

“We just held them defensively the rest of the game. The kids did a good job defensively,” Matta said.

In the gold team’s tie, Greenwood scored in the first half while the Eagles tied the game in the second half on a Paul Zubeldia pass to Joseph Terrell.

Matta said the gold team only had the ball for three minutes in the first half, because the gold team’s games were played with 10 minute quarters and a running clock. “They kept the clock running because they had to play all four games on the same field,” he said. Seventh grade coach Jerry Parent said his gold team had even less time with he football. “We only got the ball for 1:17 in the second half,” he said. Matthew Rodriguez got Pecos’ only touchdown on a quarterback sneak and then ran for the two-point conversion. The loss dropped the gold team to 1-2-1 on the year.

The purple team fell to 2-4 with their loss. “We were just beaten by a team with more speed,” Parent said. “We moved the ball with the ‘A’ team, we just couldn’t score, and we had a couple of fumbles and an interception when we had to start throwing the ball.” The junior high teams will be on the road again this coming Thursday for games at Monahans against the Loboes, at 4 and 5:30 p.m., while the JV will host Monahans at Eagle Stadium, beginning at 5 p.m.

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