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Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Willis expects more offense out of Eagles

Staff Writer

For the first time in three seasons, the Pecos Eagles won’t be breaking in a new coach just before the start of a football season.

Patrick Willis, who took over the Eagles just five weeks before the start of the 2003 season, has a full off-season under his belt this time around, and Willis is optimistic that Pecos can improve on its results of the past two years.

“The young guys have been a little brain-locked, but the older ones are really doing pretty good,” Willis said following the second day of two-a-day workouts on Tuesday. “The offensive line is still young, but they just have to get a little confidence in themselves.” Willis took over for Bubba Williams, who handed Pecos’ 2003 off-season after Fred Carter was reassigned following a 2-8 season in 2002 that included a forfeit win over Presidio. Last year, the Eagles went 3-3 in pre-district play, but ended up winless for the second year in a row in District 4-3A games.

The Eagles made major improvements from 2002 on defense last season, but in each of the past two seasons, running the ball has been a major problem for Pecos. Last year, the Eagles ran for only 625 yards in 10 games, but Willis said going into 2004, “I really believe we’ll be able to run the ball this year, and if we can run the ball, we can pass it.”

In an effort to increase the offensive threats, Willis has moved senior Booker Fobbs from his starting defensive end position to starting fullback for this year. Fobbs had a big game against Midland Christian in the season opener a year ago, but spent most of his time on the other side of the line. Meanwhile, last year’s starter, Rashad Terry, will line up more on the outside in 2004, in an effort to take advantage of his speed.

At quarterback, Willis is looking at senior Saul Pina, who started the Eagles’ pre-district games last season, and junior Eddie Vela, who played mostly on defense a year ago. Another senior, Chad Evans, is the Eagles’ lone returning first team all-district pick, at defensive end. Willis said he may also see more action on offense this year, at tight end. “We’ve got some good kids, but we’re just short on depth,” Willis said, adding he’s anxious for the team to begin their full-contact workouts in pads on Friday.

“We’re going to try and get some people into different positions. We’re evaluating a couple of spots,” he said.

The Eagles will have a week of pad workouts before their first scrimmage, on Aug. 14 in Andrews. After that, they’ll face Coahoma at a site to be determined, before opening their 2004 season against Midland Christian on Aug. 28 at the Scharbauer Sports Complex in Midland.

District 4-3A play for Pecos will start off on Oct. 8 at Lamesa, site of one of their three wins a year ago. Their district home opener will be the following Friday against Seminole, which along with Lamesa are the Eagles’ two new rivals this season, in their new District 3-3A alignment. The team that dropped out of the district, Kermit, will be Pecos’ regular season home opener, on Sept. 3.

Field’s completion date rocked back again

Eagle Stadium won’t be the site of Pecos’ final pre-season football scrimmage two weeks from now, but head coach Patrick Willis said the stadium’s new FieldTurf surface will be ready by the time the Eagles’ regular season opener is scheduled on Labor Day weekend. The problem for the $517,000 project during July hasn’t been the turf itself, but the base that it will sit on. Unlike the original artificial turf surfaces, the new generation of fields are designed to allow rains to seep through the surface to the base, and then be carried away via a drainage system around the field.

But the subsurface put in at Eagle Stadium continues to resist draining properly, even though the original dirt work was taken up and put down a second time in the middle of last month.

Willis said the original two options looked at to fix the problem was either to dig up the field a third time, after the surface already had been leveled, or install a $50,000 drainage mat beneath the field. The second solution wouldn’t have been added onto the cost of the project for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, but Willis said company officials now have come up with a third option that will avoid the added mat cost while not disturbing the main part of the field.

“They’re going to dig out around the trench and around the drain, and clean it out, and put the lip right there, so it (the original dirt work) won’t get into the drainage,” he said. After that, new rock will be put around the drains to allow water from the field to get in easier, and after that the turf and cushion will be put in on top.

That work is scheduled to be completed no later than the end of August, though another $40,000 in work on resurfacing the Eagle Stadium track will remain to be done after the field is installed. The new date is two weeks later than the original completion date, and that means Pecos won’t be using the field for the first time on Aug. 19, when they were scheduled to host Coahoma in a scrimmage.

“I may have to call Coahoma and we’ll play them there, or we may scrimmage here,” Willis said, referring to the Crockett Middle School field where the varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams currently are working out.

Even with the delays, Pecos will already have two games on artificial turf in the books before they play on their home field against Kermit on Sept. 3. Both Andrews, where the Eagles scrimmage next Saturday, and Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, where they’ll open their season on Aug. 28, have artificial surfaces. Andrews’ field was installed last year, while Midland’s field is two years old.

Pecos has played only once on an artificial surface going into this season, when they faced Lubbock High at Lowery Field in 2003.

Back to school pool events planned

Staff Writer

A pair of “Back to School” parties for elementary and junior high students have been scheduled for Monday, Aug. 9, at the Pecos City Swimming Pool at Maxey Park.

The Back to School Splash Party will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Monday at the pool for Bessie Haynes fourth through sixth graders, and from 6 to 10 p.m. for Crockett Junior High seventh and eighth graders. The event is free to those students.

The events are sponsored by the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department to have fun and to learn about making good “Choices.”

KIUN radio personality Cody West will be broadcasting live from the pool and playing everyone’s favorite music during the party for Bessie Haynes students. For the Crockett students, Radio personalities from KMRK 96.1 will be broadcasting live from the pool and playing everyone’s favorite hip-hop music.

Snacks, door prizes and games will be available at both events.

“The reason we are sponsoring this event is to provide educational materials for youngsters,” said juvenile probation director Louise Moore.

Materials presented will be scholastic crime stoppers, Stay Together, Texas Youth Hotline and others.

“We want to let youth know what community services and programs are available to them and their parents,” said Moore. “We want them to know that there is no problem that is too big and that there are people and services available to help them,” she said. The students are invited to come out and swim, dance, laugh and have a great drug free, crime free time.

In case of inclement weather the events will be moved to the Reeves County Civic Center.

For more information or details contact the Reeves County Juvenile Probation Department at 447-6901.

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