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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pecos gets three runners in Top 10 at Seminole

The Pecos Eagles’ cross country team opened their 2007 invitational season on Saturday in Seminole, earning a trio of Top 10 finishes in the girls junior high and high school varsity and junior varsity divisions.

Junior high coach Teresa Bigham said Sabryna Mora ran a 12:03 over the 1.8 mile course to take third place, 16 seconds off the winning time, while Aileen Rayos finished second in the high school JV division with a 12:01 time, 23 seconds off the first place time. The other junior high runner for the girls, Jenica Tersero, was 16th with a 12:29 time, while the other JV girls’ runner, Lilly Gutierrez, was 13th, with a time of 12:58.

In the high school varsity division, the top finish for Pecos was a ninth by Kayla Natividad, who ran the 1.8-mile course in 11:12. Heather Lamka, the Eagles’ other runner, placed 55th with a 13:12 time, and Bigham said there were a total of 89 runners entered in the race.

There were also 89 runners in the boys’ division, which ran just under three miles. Pecos’ best finish was by Gus Mendoza, who placed 20th with a 17:01 time, and Edward Rodriguez, who were 21st, with a time of 17:07. They were followed by Jesse Juarez, 46th with an 18:24 time; Stephen Apolinar, 49th with a time of 18:46, and Ray Gonzales, 50th with a time of 19:07.

In the JV boys division, Edgar Madrid was 11th with a 22:59 time, and Elias Alvarado placed 13th, with a time of 23:12. In the junior high boys division, Anthony Natividad had the Eagles’ best finish, placing 17th with an 11:13 time. Allen Medina was 32nd with a time of 13:24 and Nick Ybarra was 37th, with a time of 13:46. The Eagles’ next meet will be this coming Saturday, in San Angelo. Pecos will then have a week off, before going to Wink for their invitational meet on Sept. 22.

Sub-varsity teams get victories at Alpine, Stockton in openers

The Pecos Eagle junior varsity and freshman purple teams opened their 2007 seasons on the road Thursday with wins over the Alpine Bucks and Fort Stockton Panthers, while the freshman gold team started their season Saturday morning in Iraan, where they lost to the Braves’ JV.

Pecos’ JV fell behind Alpine in the first period, 24-6, then rallied for a 34-24 victory, while the ninth grade purple team won at Fort Stockton by a 35-14 score. In Iraan, things didn’t go as well for the Eagles’ freshman gold team, as they were beaten by the Braves’ junior varsity, 48-0.

Omar Levario and Nick Granado had two touchdowns apiece for the JV, which scored twice late in the third period, including one following t he recovery of an onsides kick, to rally for a 28-24 lead. Lucas Chavez then intercepted a pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown to close out the scoring, while Granado and Omar Medina had two point conversions for Pecos.

The ninth graders scored twice in the first half, off a five-yard run by Isaiah Patino and a touchdown pass from Dominic Bejarano to Larry Sparkman. Arturo Munoz had a two-point conversion run following the first touchdown and then would score his own TD in the third period, on an eight-yard run. Arthur Navarette also had a touchdown in the quarter, on a three-yard run, with Donovan Rodriguez adding the extra point, while Pecos’ final touchdown was a 22-yard run by Ramiro Pinales, with Munoz adding the point after kick.

In Saturday morning’s game in Iraan. Coach Eric Garcia said the Braves scored on their opening drive and controlled play almost all the way.

“We had a lot of turnovers, and we had a lot of new players in new positions they hadn’t been in,” he said. “Or quarterback moved away, so we had a quarterback in there who hadn’t run those plays.”

Garcia said Jonathan Florez and Dominic Vejil had good defensive games despite the loss.

The JV and freshmen purple teams will play their home openers this Thursday against Andrews, starting at 5 and 7 p.m. at Eagle Stadium, while the freshman gold team is idle. Pecos’ seventh and eighth grade teams will start their 2007 seasons in Andrews against the Mustangs, at 4 and 5:30 p.m. for the purple and gold squads.

Bucks gore mistake-prone Eagles

When you turn the ball over on fumbles in three quarters almost as many times as you did in 40 quarters last season, chances are you’re going to be in trouble. And that’s where the Pecos Eagles were on Friday night, as the dropped a 41-12 decision to Alpine in the opening game of the 2007 football season. The Eagles, who turned the ball over seven times on fumbles all of last year, lost it five times on six fumbles in the final three quarters against the Bucks, three of those inside Alpine’s 20-yard line. They also saw penalties wipe out two touchdowns in the final 30 seconds of the first half, which ended with the Bucks holding a 14-6 lead on the Eagles.

Alpine had their own problems in the first half with turnovers, losing the ball twice on fumbles, and would see Pecos’ Drake Bradley pick off a Moises Estrada pass and return it to the Bucks’ 22 yard line right after a fumble inside the 20 ended Pecos’ first scoring chance of the third period. But once more, the Eagles would fumble the ball away, and from that point on Alpine took control of the game, scoring on each of their next four possessions, including once after Pecos’ only interception of the game. Fumbles have been a constant problem for the Eagles in recent seasons, but in 2006, they were able to recover 25 of their 32 drops. On Friday, the only time the Eagles recovered one of their own fumbles was in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, following Alpine’s sixth and final touchdown.

“When you have six fumbles and one interception, you’re never going to win a ballgame,” said Eagles’ coach Chris Henson. “I thought our offensive line executed well tonight, but our running backs just didn’t hold onto the ball.”

Along with losing the game, Pecos also lost their top receiver from last season, Jeremy Martinez, to a fractured ankle. He left the game in the second quarter, and X-rays on Saturday revealed the injury, which will sideline him for the next several weeks.

Alpine racked up 417 yards in total offense on the night, while other than the interception and two passes he deliberately threw away, Estrada had only two incompletions – one a second quarter drop by Skylon Green. The Bucks’ quarterback finished 21-for-26 on the night for 195 yards and four touchdowns.

The first came on Alpine’s second offensive series, which started at the Pecos 43 and ended three plays later, with a 26-yard TD pass from Estrada to Andrew Barragan. But the Eagles answered back after a 41-yard kickoff return by Vincent Palomino, going on a six-play, 52-yard drive capped by Hector Ramirez’ 12-yard touchdown run.

Alpine blocked Timo Reyes’ extra point kick, but saw their next drive ended by a Bobby McWilliams fumble at midfield. Pecos failed to do anything with that turnover, but Alpine would give the ball back on their next series, again on a McWilliams fumble late in the first period.

However, when the second period began, so did Pecos’ fumbles. Luis Morales lost the ball on a 2nd-and-1 handoff at the Bucks’ 37, and one play later McWilliams went 43-yards on a draw play to set to Estrada’s second TD pass, a 15 yarder to Andy Lujan. Marcos Ramos’ extra point made it 14-6.

The Eagles then got caught napping on the kickoff, allowing Alpine to recover at midfield. The Bucks would be stopped when McWilliams fumbled again on a third down play, but the Eagles would end up losing nose guard Bert Sotelo on the play with a knee injury, though his injury turned out to be not as serious as the one suffered by Martinez.

Pecos then had the ball for just three plays, before Hector Ramirez fumbled on what would have been a first down run. Alpine would get the ball at the Eagle 40 and drive inside the 10, but a bad snap on a 4th-and-3 at the 9-yard-line would give the ball back to Pecos.

This time, the Eagles would hold onto the ball, and drove downfield on a series of runs by Ramirez and Reyes to a 1st-and-goal at the six with under a minute left in the half. Two plays later, Chris Sotelo would dodge a couple of Alpine tacklers to get into the end zone, only to see the play wiped out by an illegal formation call. Two plays after that, quarterback Paul Zubeldia found Jeremiah Soto with a 12-yard TD pass with 2.9 seconds left, but that was called back due to a lineman downfield, and a pass to Reyes as time expired in the half was batted away by the Bucks.

“On Chris Sotelo’s touchdown, they called us for a receiver off the line, which I don’t think he was. On the other, it was a lineman downfield and we definitely did have one down there,” Henson said.

Pecos would get the ball to start the second half and again drove inside the 20, but saw Ramirez stripped of the ball by Alfredo Macias at the 15. Estrada was intercepted on the next play trying to throw back across the field to Green, but this time Sotelo lost the ball on a 3rd-and-7 at the 19 at the Bucks again recovered.

Alpine wouldn’t give the ball away again on the night, and drove 78 yards on 10 plays for their third touchdown late in the third period. Ramos scored on a 1-yard run, set up by Estrada’s 13-yard bootleg, with the other big play in the drive a 13-yard third down pass by Estrada to Lujan that got the ball inside Pecos territory and kept the drive alive.

Pecos would answer back three minutes later, going 80 yards in seven plays for their second TD of the night. Zubeldia’s short pass to Bradley that turned into a 47-yard gain on 3rd-and-5 to close out the third quarter set up Ramirez’ 12-yard score as the final period opened. But the try for two failed, and Alpine then needed less than 2 _ minutes to get into the end zone again. Estrada scored on a 7-yard quarterback draw, following an 18-yard run by McWilliams, as the Bucks found big openings in Pecos’ line in the second half.

“I thought our defensive ends played well at the first of the game, but in the second half they got too deep,” Henson said. “They got five yards upfield and they opened up holes big enough to drive a truck through. Once Bert got put out, he had been stopping up the middle, and we didn’t have anybody to put pressure on there.” Alpine’s next score came after another lineman downfield call wiped out a first down by the Eagles, and the Bucks needed just two plays to go 45 yards, 40 of that on another run up the middle by McWilliams, who ended up with 144 yards rushing in the game. Estrada found Fernando Sanchez with a 5-yard scoring pass to make it 34-12 with 7:17 to play.

The Bucks’ final score came after Lujan intercepted a deflected pass by Zubeldia. Four plays later Estrada hit Macias for his fourth TD of the night, from 25 yards out with 5:37 to play. Pecos would take the ensuing kickoff and drove inside the 10, but killed off one final scoring chance with another fumble that the Bucks recovered.

Pecos actually ended up outgaining Alpine by 40 yards on the night, finishing with 457 yards in offense. Of that, 229 was by Ramirez, on 28 carries, while Reyes also went over 100 yards rushing in the game, finishing with 110 yards on 15 attempts.

Alpine avenged a season-opening 21-14 loss to Pecos last season with their win, while the Eagles will take their 0-1 record to Andrews this Friday, where they’ll face a Mustangs team that comes in off a 36-6 victory in their season opener against Midland Christian.

“I told the kids this one’s my fault, but when we come back, we’ll have the most intense practices we’ve ever had on Monday, because there’s no excuse for what happened out there. That was just a lack of discipline,” Henson said.

In other opening week games involving District 1-3A teams, Monahans surprised Snyder, beating the Tigers on Thursday in Midland, 41-32. Fort Stockton won on Friday at Ozona, 49-12, Anthony routed Fort Hancock, 49-0; Clint edged El Paso Jefferson, 21-17, and Fabens lost their opener to Horizon City.

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