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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, October 5, 2007

Game too short for Eagles in sweep of Prowlers

The Pecos Eagles volleyball team apparently was anxious to begin their District 2-3A schedule Tuesday night against Fort Stockton, and reluctant to let it end. “They said they don’t want the game to be over yet. They wanted the game to go on longer,” Eagles’ coach Helen Kimbrough said of her team’s explanation for struggling against the Prowlers in the second game of their match at the Pecos High School gym. “I wish they wouldn’t do that and would stay focused. You’ve got to finish it, you can’t stop playing.”

The Eagles had beaten the Prowlers by a 25-15 score in the opener, but trailed 15-12 in Game 2 when Kimbrough called a time out. Fort Stockton would get another point on a net violation, but the Eagles then rolled off four straight to tie the score, and would outscore the Prowlers, 5-1, at the end to break a 20-all tie and win by a 25-21 score.

“Sometimes we lose our focus and against good teams, you can’t do that,” Kimbrough said. “We did a lot of good things, covering the court and picking up hard hits. We did a lot better with the backline than we did against Crane, but we’ve still got to be a lot more consistent than we have been.”

Pecos never trailed in Game 1, jumping out to an early 4-0 lead off a couple of kills by Cheyenne Carrasco and a block by Jasmine Rayos on the Prowlers Jessica Gonzales. Rayos would later find an opening on the back line for a point after Fort Stockton cut the lead to 4-3, and Claire Weinacht and Allyson Salcido would add kills during the 7-1 run that put Pecos ahead by an 11-4 margin.

Rayos would have four more kills later in the game, and Gabby Garcia would close it out with a pair of ace serves. But Game 2 opened with Rayos missing a hit attempt and Pecos spent most of the early part of the game trailing by one or two points, before Fort Stockton opened up their 16-12 lead.

Garcia would have a spike, Rayos a spike and block and Pecos would use two bad relays by Chelsea Bruno to grab a 17-16 lead, but they wouldn’t go up for good until Rayos blocked a tip attempt by Gabby Salmon for a 21-20 lead.

Game 3 was easier for the Eagles, who used both sophomores Jayme Galindo and Veronica Tarin up front during the match, which Pecos would lead from 4-3 on to the 25-15 final. The Prowlers had a series of unforced errors in the final game, which allowed the Eagles to maintain their lead and go up by as many as 10 points towards the end of the match.

However, the Eagles still had some mistakes hitting the ball in the final game, and with defending District 2-3A champion Monahans coming into Pecos on Saturday, Kimbrough said, “We need to work on our offense a whole lot more, because everybody knows our lineup from the preseason.

“I made some changes in the lineup to try and help us get some more offense in, and be more competitive, and it is. But we’ve got to get used to playing next to each other,” Kimbrough said.

Monahans has not lost a game in any of their district matches dating back to the 2001 season, though they saw their string of Region I-3A titles ended last season by Canyon, a day after Canyon eliminated Pecos from the regional tournament. The Loboes opened 2-3A play on Tuesday with a 25-7, 25-10, 25-14 win over Presidio, and outplayed the Eagles in a scrimmage on their home court back in August.

“They moved the ball around, and we were too busy watching them play instead of playing,” Kimbrough said. “I think it will be better this time, since we played against quick teams in Canyon (in mid-August). So the girls know they can’t just stand around. They’ve got to anticipate where the ball is going to be.”

Tuesday’s win put the Eagles at 23-4 on the season going into Saturday’s 1 p.m. match, while Monahans is 25-10. But Kimbrough said, “Monahans has a really, really hard preseason schedule. She (coach Patty Dominguez) doesn’t play any 2A and 3A teams, she plays 4A and 5A schools, and that’s what Pecos is going to have to do, play those faster teams so we can get faster.

“We played a few up in Canyon, and we’ve got to play more teams that will put the ball down on us, so we can get better,” she said. “I’m not saying the teams we play like Crane aren’t good, but we have to play teams up a level so we can get better.”

Pecos also won Tuesday’s junior varsity match over Fort Stockton, by 25-15, 25-20 scores. The JV and freshmen will also host Monahans on Saturday, with matches scheduled for 11 a.m. and 12 noon.

Pecos, Monahans seek turnarounds on Friday

Struggling on offense. Hurt by turnovers. Giving up big plays on defense.

That describes the problems for the Pecos Eagles over the first month of the season, and they’re problems the Eagles have also suffered in recent years.

But it also describes the Monahans Loboes over the past three weeks of play, which definitely has not been the Loboes’ style in the past two years under head coach Mickey Owens.

So both teams will be trying to reverse their recent efforts, when the 1-3 Loboes travel to Pecos to face the 0-4 Eagles at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, in Pecos’ District 1-3A home opener and Monahans’ overall district opener for the 2007 season.

Pecos got their first turnover since the opening week of the season last Friday at Anthony, which helped them shut out the Wildcats in the first half. But the Eagles committed four turnovers of their own and allowed Anthony four plays of 20 yards or more, including two long second-half touchdown runs in a 26-6 victory. Monahans, meanwhile, was in Anthony, closing out their pre-district schedule with a 33-7 loss to Graham. The Loboes were held to just 25 yards passing and 152 yards in offense, while committing three turnovers. But the Loboes also come into Friday’s game having gone undefeated in district the past two seasons, and do have a season-opening win over then-state ranked Snyder.

“We’re at a minus-7 turnover ratio. Last year our backs lost only one fumble all season long,” Owens said, while adding the team has had other problems as well. “It’s just a little bit of everything. I don’t know if you can zero it down, it’s just been a little bit of everything,” he said. “It’s just one of those years when you have a lot of turnovers.”

“They’re playing some great teams, and the turnovers by the special teams really cost them in the Andrews game,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “They had some big runs after that. But Monahans is a solid ballclub at every position, so we’re going to have to play flawless football.”

Pecos, meanwhile, is at minus-11 on turnovers so far this season, with two fumbles and two interceptions last week. Three came in the second half and two immediately led to Anthony touchdowns.

“That’s what makes this season so frustrating. We’ve got a great group of kids with a great attitude,” Henson said. “I enjoy being with the kids every day, and we’ve had no problems in the locker room. That’s why it’s heartbreaking we haven’t been able to do anything. Hopefully, we’ll be able to turn it around this week.”

On the positive side for both teams, the Eagles and Loboes do get key offensive starters back for Friday’s game. Pecos will have quarterback Paul Zubeldia, who missed last week’s game due to a knee injury, while Monahans returns running back Stephen Neel, who missed their game against Graham with a concussion. Henson said Zubeldia was at workouts all week. “He had good mobility during that (Monday) segment,” he said. “So that’s very positive.”

He added that Zubeldia’s return allows Chris Sotelo to return to wingback and Timo Reyes to shift from there back to his regular position at tailback. Meanwhile, Neel ran for 439 yards in the Loboes’ first three games, and is one of a number of new faces at the skill positions on offense for Monahans. They do return Steven Valles, who split time at quarterback last year, but he’s shared time this season with sophomore Quincy Titus, who gives the Loboes’ a little more running ability at the position.

“He’s really quick, and when they need a huge spark, they bring him in,” Henson said.

“We just brought him (Titus) along a little slowly because he was already starting on defense,” Owens said. His son, Tanner, at wide receiver, and Matthew Montoya have been the quarterbacks’ main targets so far this year.

“They don’t have all the weapons they had last year, but they’re still very solid,” Henson said, listing tackle Ruben Rodriguez as the line’s top player. “Their offensive line is huge. Their strongpoint is their line, and they’re going to pound it at you.”

Monahans’ line is mostly back from last season. “The offensive line has played well, we’ve just done some goofy things. If we can control the ball and get our running game going, we’ll be all right.”

He added that the offensive problems have also hurt the defense. “Because of our mistakes, the defense has been on the field a whole lot,” Owens said. “Their defense is playing ahead of their offense,” Henson said. “They love to move people around and shift formations and bring people from every position. Against our wing-T they’ll have about nine in the box.”

Along with Titus, the Loboes also have three other sophomores – Trevor Owens, Shaquille Smith and Kevin Coldeway – playing major roles this season. Monahans’ last loss in district play came at the end of the 2004 regular season. The Loboes, who’ll host Clint next week, while the Eagles get a bye date before going to face the Lions, went 5-0 in district play in 2005 and were 6-0 last season.

Eagles’ netters fall to Panthers in road opener

The Pecos Eagles’ tennis team was edged by the Fort Stockton Panthers on Saturday, in their first road match of the fall 2007 season.

Fort Stockton used a 5-1 advantage in boys singles play to defeat Pecos by a 10-8 score. “We lost but overall on the girls’ side we won in singles and doubles by a 6-3 score,” said Eagles’ coach Bernadette Ornelas. “That was even though we were short a couple of players. The other kids stepped up on the ladder and did well.” Fort Stockton’s Reba Subia and Genna Young won their singles matches at No. 1 and 2 seed and teamed for a doubles win, but the Eagles got victories in singles play from Yesenia Munoz, Meagan Fuentes, Dakota Long and Julie Licon, after Fuentes and Munoz had won by No. 2 doubles and Long and Licon picked up wins at No. 3 doubles.

The boys’ two wins came from Cody Zamarippa, who defeated Nati Salmanica playing at No. 1 seed in singles and teamed with Tanner Hardwick to beat Jose Reyes and Dylan Mageee in doubles.

“Our kids came out slowly, but they’re doing a better job with their strategy on the court as things go on,” said Ornelas.

Pecos had been scheduled to face Midland Trinity in a match this Thursday, but Ornelas said it has been pushed back two days, and will be at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Trinity tenns courts. Pecos (8) at Fort Stockton (10)

Boys Singles

Cody Zamarippa defeated Nati Salmanica, 6-2, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5; Derek Barron lost to Jorge Sanchez, 6-0, 6-0; Elias Alvarado lost to Anthony Agundiz, 6-4, 6-1; Tanner Hardwick lost to Alec Millam, 6-23, 6-2; Avery Valeriano lost to Kalan Thomas, 6-3, 6-1; John Paul Briones lost to Jose Reyes, 6-0, 6-3.

Girls Singles

Heather Mora lost to Reba Subia, 6-0, 6-0; Jessica Munoz lost to Genna Young, 6-2, 6-0; Yesenia Munoz defeated Leslie Bliznak, 6-4, 6-1; Meagan Fuentes defeated Amy Baiza, 6-0, 6-1; Dakota Long defeated Desiree Navarette, 6-2, 6-2; Julie Licon defeated Jessica Gomez, 6-4, 6-0.

Boys Doubles

Barron and Alvarado lost to Sanchez and Millam, 6-1, 6-0; Zamarippa and Gabaldon defeated Reyes and Dylan Magee, 6-3, 7-6; Briones and Valeriano lost to Brennan and Blake Miller, 6-1, 6-3.

Girls Doubles

Mora and J. Munoz lost to Subia and Young, 6-0, 6-1; Long and Fuentes defeated Bliznak and Baiza, 6-0, 6-1; Y. Munoz and Licon defeated Navarrete and Sayra Natividad, 6-2, 6-4.

JV – Licon and Renteria lost to Eddings and Richardson, 8-2.

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