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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, October 29, 2004

Eagles hoping to exploit Loboes’ defensive holes

The Monahans Loboes have been scoring lots points, but also giving up a lot during the 2004 football season. The Pecos Eagles also have been allowing a lot of points as of late, but have had problems putting points on the board in their recent games.

Both teams will try and solve their defensive problems, and the Eagles will hope to get their offense on track Friday, when Pecos plays their second game of the season in Monahans and their final road game of the year, against the Loboes starting at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles’ hopes for a playoff berth were all but ended last week at Greenwood, when the Rangers used a blocked punt late in the first half to break open a 7-0 game and went on to win by a 41-8 final score. It left Pecos with a 1-7 season record, 0-3 in district.

Monahans is 1-2 in district, and 3-5 on the season, following their 44-26 loss this past Friday in Seminole. The Indians, who jumped ahead of Pecos the previous week 41-6 on the way to a 48-18 win, were up 44-6 on the Loboes before Monahans added three late scores.

Monahans is both averaging and giving up 32 points per game this season. The offensive number is close to what the Loboes were putting across in district during 2003, but the defensive total is much higher than last year, when Monahans took the 4-3A title with a perfect 4-0 mark.

“Defensively we’re giving up more points and yards than we’ve give n up in a while,” said Loboes’ coach Larry Hanna. “Against Stockton, when you score 47 points, you’re supposed to win the ballgame,” he said, referring to the Loboes’ one-point overtime loss to the Panthers.

“Our defense is new from last year. We graduated the majority from our defensive squad, and we’re just not hitting on all cylinders now,” he said, while adding that linebacker Larry Jasso and defensive back Adrian Rios played well in last week’s losing effort. However, the Loboes did rack up 48 points in their last home game, a win two weeks ago over Lamesa. The previous week, the Eagles scored on their first series of the game, a 57-yard run by Booker Fobbs, but were blanked the rest of the night by the Tornadoes in losing their district opener.

Fobbs has been just about the only offense the Eagles have had in district play. He ran for over 200 yards in the loss to Seminole and ran for over 100 in the first half of last week’s loss to Greenwood, then spent most of the second half just playing on the defensive line. Luis Ortega, who ran for over 200 yards in two pre-district games before missing the first two 3-3A contests, was held in check by the Rangers. On Friday, both Fobbs and Ortega will be looking for openings against a Monahans line that allowed 317 rushing yards to Seminole’s Jeremy Hill last week.

“They kept seven guys in the box (near the line) all the time. Seminole gave them a two tight-end set and just ran the zone and counter,” Eagles’ coach Patrick Willis said. “There will always be a seam somewhere, and Hill was reading it.”

After gaining just nine yards passing a week ago, Willis expects the Loboes to load up on trying to stop the run. “They’ll pretty much be ready to adjust to us, because we run pretty much the same plays as Seminole does.”

He also said the Eagles’ line will have to pass block better than they did a week ago, when Saul Pina usually had little time to throw. “I didn’t realize until this week how much the kids were having problems,” Willis said. “I don’t know if they just got complacent from the beginning of the year or if they just got out of their zone blocking fundamentals, but a lot of times we’re just letting people go on our basic release.”

Defensively, the Eagles will need to get a better pass rush on Kevin Kenyon than they did against Greenwood last week, when Branson Valencia was able to hit a 45-yard pass on the Rangers’ first offensive play, then was given time to connect on a 19-yard touchdown just before halftime, in his first game back from a broken leg.

“They did a good job blocking us on the pass, and we worked on the run last week. Valencia wasn’t there before, so we were into stopping the run.”

Kenyon leads all district passers with 1334 yards passing, though this season his touchdown and interception totals are even at nine apiece. He’s also the team’s second-leading rusher with 394 yards.

“Running the shotgun spread offense a lot falls on his shoulders,” Hanna said. “The pace of the offense pretty much goes with the quarterback.”

“Our linemen I think have stepped up and played pretty good. The protection has been pretty good most of the year,” he added.

On the ground, the Loboes have run for just under 1,400 yards, though their leading rusher, Sam Graves, has just 521 yards this season. “We try to spread it around. (Tyson) Carter is our leading receiver, and then we have Cosme Ortega, and Sam Graves has been our main rusher along with Kevin. We look to run a balanced offense. We just don’t want to drop back and throw it.”

Carter leads the district with 23 catches for 354 yards, while Graves has caught 20 passes and Ortega 15 for the Loboes. Monahans’ deep threat this season has been Richard Covington, and last season, Tyquelly Fletcher beat Pecos deep for a 47-yard score in the third period that broke the game open, in a 37-6 Loboes’ win.

“I think that’s what they’ll end up hitting us with,” Willis said. “I don’t think they can drive down the field running the ball, but they can hit us with long ones and some big (rushing) plays.”

The Eagles’ only win this season came back on Sept. 3 in Monahans, when they defeated Denver City, 31-13, in a game moved from Pecos due to delays in finishing the artificial turf field installation at Eagle Stadium. Pecos’ last victory in Monahans over the Loboes was 24 years ago, when they scored a 7-6 victory.

Eagles in 3rd place playoff despite 4th straight loss

Somebody is going to win the third place playoff spot out of District 3-3A in volleyball. It’s just that for now, neither the Pecos Eagles nor the Presidio Blue Devils have taken advantage of their chances to do it in the past week.

The Eagles lost their fourth straight game and closed out regular season play in district with a 1-5 record Tuesday night, following their 25-10, 25-13, 25-16 loss in Monahans to the Loboes. But the Eagles found out on Wednesday their season will last at least another few days, after the Blue Devils were beaten at home on Tuesday by Fort Stockton, 25-11, 27-25, 25-16.

That set up a playoff for the third and final playoff spot out of District 3-3A between the Eagles and Blue Devils Friday night at 6:30 p.m., at Sul Ross State University’s Pete Gallego Center in Alpine. Coach Becky Granado said the winner would take on either Sweetwater or Lamesa in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs.

Granado said she talked with coach Senia Armendariz on Wednesday after Presidio missed their chance to clinch the final playoff berth. “All she said was they played awful. They played like they hadn’t ever seen a volleyball,” Granado said. “All I know is they gave us a second chance.”

The Eagles could have clinched a playoff spot this past Friday, but were swept at home by the Blue Devils, after beating Presidio three times on the road earlier this season. Tuesday’s sweep by Monahans was much less unexpected, as the Loboes went unbeaten in district for the third straight year, and swept all of their district games for the third straight season as well.

“Brittany (Hughes) basically put on a hitting show during the first game. We couldn’t get anything going,” said Granado. But she added that her team did play better in the last two games, and better than they had in their loss last Friday.

“In the second game I changed the lineup and had Candace (Regelman) come into the front when Brittany was in the back and that helped. With shorter blockers, Candace got some good hits.”

Defensively, Granado said, “Brittany (Rodriguez) and Adriana (Armendariz) blocked Brittany (Hughes) a couple of times, but they just didn’t do it enough, and we also gave her free balls too many times. I told our back line girls to move up, because she was hitting straight down, and we tried to get our hands on it, but our reaction was just too slow.”

“We did better as far as serving. Brittany was the only one of ours to miss a serve. The others served better than they had been.”

Monahans finished district with a 6-0 mark and will draw a bye in the bi-district round of the playoffs, and are 31-9 overall, while the Eagles’ season record was evened at 18-18 with their loss. The Loboes also won Tuesday’s freshman match by 25-21, 25-14 scores, and took the season-ending JV contest by 25-12, 25-16 margins.

Pecos sending two to regional cross-country

The Pecos Eagles’ cross country team placed one runner in the Top 10 on the boys’ side, while junior Jennifer Martinez took third place on the girls’ side Monday, at the District 3-3A cross-country meet, held at the Ward County Golf Course in Monahans. Presidio swept the boys and girls’ titles at this year’s meet, though they had to share first Fort Stockton in the boys’ division after both teams scored 54 points. The Eagles, who had won the district title the past two seasons, dropped to sixth place this year, with 110 points.

Lamesa’s boys and Pecos’ girls were the only ones not to field enough runners to earn team scores, but the three Eagle girls who did compete all finished in the Top 20 in the field of 42 finishers.

Martinez ran just behind Lamesa’s Sandra Moralez and Romie Stewart, the first and second place finishers, while freshmen Heather and Kathryn Lamka placed 13th and 18th respectively for Pecos. Coach Rudy Jurado said he did not have the final times for the runners.

“Jennifer was about 200 meters behind the first place girl and about 75 meters behind second place,” Jurado said. “I knew she would finish high, because she beat the other girls from the past year at district, except for the Kermit girl, and they’re not in our district any more, and one other girl who graduated.”

Martinez earned a trip to the Region I-3A cross-country meet in Lubbock on Nov. 6, as did Randall Blount on the boys’ side. He earned the 10th and final regional berth, finishing just ahead of Greenwood’s Joey Garcia.

“At was in 10th place at about two miles into the race, and as he went by I whistled to him if anybody went by him he wouldn’t go to regionals,” Jurado said. “He stayed in 10th place until about the last 500 meters, and then he battled it out with the Greenwood kid. “With about 100 meters to go it looked like he was dead. The Greenwood kid had the lead, and I don’t know where he got it from but Nolan sprinted up towards the finish line and beat the kid and got to go too regionals,” he added.

The other finishes for Pecos were Joshua Cobos in 18th place, Javier Mendoza in 21st, Pete Juarez, 29th Marcus Luna, 32nd and Thomas Paz, who finished 36th.

On the girls’ side Presidio ended up winning the team title with 37 points to 43 for Lamesa, despite the Tornadoes 1-2 finish in the individual standings. Team totals require a minimum of five runners.

Presidio won the boys’ title by having the higher finishing runners overall among their top four, while Fort Stockton picked up first and second place individually, as David Palma defended his district title from a year ago while Marc Morales placed second.

Bears take break after holding off Indians

The Balmorhea Bears will be sitting back and watching how things turn out this coming Friday, as they await their showdown with Sanderson on Nov. 5 that will determine their chances of ending a two-year playoff drought in six-man football.

The Bears, who had missed out on post-season the past two years after Fort Davis dropped down from 11-man to six-man play, finally defeated the Indians this past Friday after narrow losses the past two seasons. Balmorhea led by 24 points late in the third period, but then had to hold on to win at Fort Davis by a 46-38 final score.

“We’re finally winning the close games,” said Bears’ coach Adolfo Garcia. “We’ve been in close games the last few years and were losing them. This year we’ve finally started to win the close games, except for the one (against Dell City) we lost.”

The Bears fell by two points to the Cougars, who are a game up on Balmorhea in the District 8-A six-man standings. They close out their season against Fort Davis and Grandfalls, which is tied for second with Balmorhea at 4-1, with their lone loss coming to the Bears last month. Both teams are a game up on Sanderson, which hosts Grandfalls this Friday.

“We’ll be 8-1 on Friday, and then we won’t know whether we’ll get first, second or nothing until next Friday,” Garcia said, referring to the Bears’ scheduled game this Friday against Buena Vista. The Longhorns were forced to forfeit their remaining games last month due to a lack of players.

Fort Davis led once in last Friday’s game, at 8-6, on an eight-year run by Jaime Garza and an extra-point kick. A 10-yard pass from Michael Dominguez to Ismael Rodriguez got the Bears on the scoreboard first, and the Bears would take the lead for good on a 26-yard run by Levon Barragan earlier in the second period.

Barragan would score twice more in the quarter on five-yard runs, the latter on the final play of the half. They came around a touchdown pass from David Lara to Jaime Garcia, and put the Bears up 26-16 going into the third period. Barragan would have two more TD runs in that period, of one- and two-yards, around a 60-yard TD by Lara. Another tochdown run, this one by Alexis Lozano from three yards out, gave the Bears a 46-22 lead with 59 seconds left in the third period.

But the Indians’ Kyle Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown, and would narrow the gap to eight in the final period on a nine-yard run by Lara with 5:45 to play.

“Fort Davis got the ball a couple of more times, but we stopped them” Adolfo Garcia said. “Towards the end they were at our 25-yard-line, but they fumbled the ball and we recovered.”

Garcia said the Bears were able to run four plays and got a first down, and got down to the Indians’ 15-yard-line before kneeling with the ball to run out the clock.

The loss eliminated Fort Davis, last year’s district champions and six-man state runners-up, from the playoff race with a 2-3 district record. Dell City can clinch a playoff spot this Friday with a win over Fort Davis and a loss by Grandfalls to Sanderson.

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