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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Eagles beat Jackets in Sul Ross finals

The Pecos Eagles volleyball team didn’t have to go as long as they did three weeks ago to win their second tournament of the season. But the Eagles were taken to the limit in four of their six matches on Friday and Saturday, before coming away winners at the Sul Ross Invitational Tournament.

Pecos breezed through their opening matches on Friday, downing Fort Hancock, 25-6, 25-16; and McCamey, 25-8, 25-10. But the Eagles had to go three matches to beat the host Alpine Bucks in the pool round finals of their bracket, 25-19, 22-25, 25-7. That put them into a quarterfinals match on Saturday against the Crane Golden Cranes, and had to rally after losing the first game 27-25 to win the final two games, 25-20, 25-19.

That put the Eagles into a rematch of their semifinal game at the Pecos Cantaloupe Classic against Marfa. The Eagles swept the Shorthorns that time, before outlasting Andrews in five games for the title. This time, Pecos had to go three games to down Marfa, 25-18, 25-27, 25-21, and then under the Sul Ross Tournament format, only had to play three games in the finals against Kermit, beating the Yellowjackets, 25-9, 17-25, 25-21.

Eagles’ coach Helen Kimbrough said juniors Gabby Garcia and Jasmine Rayos both were named to the all-tournament team, though she said Rayos was still recovering from the eye infection that kept her out of last Tuesday’s matches against Andrews and Denver City.

“She came out and played pretty well, but she’s still not attacking the way she was before, and I think that may be because she’s still having some problems seeing the ball,” Kimbrough said.

“It was a team effort to win. All of our girls contributed,” she said. “Our sophomore, Allyson Salcido had some very good hits down the line that kept us in the game, and our back line did a good job digging the balls from Kermit’s middle hitter, and we were able to get some good runs off them.”

“All in all, we had some good, stiff competition, and we rose to the challenge. Everyone did their part and I’m proud of them,” Kimbrough said.

The six victories lifted the Eagles’ season record to 20-4 going into their third match of the season against both Marfa and Van Horn on Tuesday night. The Eagles will travel to Marfa for varsity matches with those teams, scheduled for 4 and 5:30 p.m.

Pecos’ junior varsity and freshmen teams will also face their Eagle counterparts and the Shorthorns on Tuesday, but at home, for matches that also are scheduled for 4 and 5:30 p.m.

Pecos’ junior high teams were at home this past Saturday in their own tournament, with both the seventh and eighth grade squads coming away with first place in their divisions.

The seventh grade final was an all-Pecos match, with the Eagles’ purple team defeating Pecos’ gold team, 25-17, 25-8 for the title. Odessa Bowie won third place over Presidio, 25-20, 25-20.

In the eighth grade, Pecos’ gold team took first over Bowie, with a 25-14, 25-16 victory. Bowie had beaten Pecos’ purple team in the semifinals, but the Eagles were able to come back in the third place match and beat Odessa Crockett, 25-15, 25-14.

Bears have little trouble with Chargers 49-0

The Balmorhea Bears cruised to victory over the visiting El Paso Jesus Chapel Chargers Friday night, 49-0.

The game was called with just 55 seconds left in the 4th quarter on the 45-point rule.

The Bears scored early and often in the first half and headed for the locker room at halftime with a comfortable 37-0 lead.

The Chargers took the opening kickoff and returned it to their own 20-yard line. Then on a 4th-and-7 play, Jesus Chapel went for it only to have Bear safety Jeremy Baeza force the Charger quarterback to toss the ball away on a blitz and turn it over on downs at the El Paso 30.

On first down Bear quarterback Nigiel Lozano threw a quick pass to senior Russell Garlick for a first and goal gain to the twelve yard line.

Lozano then handed off to 220-pound sophomore back Gabriel Jurado on a sweep to the left. Jurado steamrolled the Charger safety at the goal line and the Bears were up by eight after adding the two-point after conversion.

After returning the ensuing kickoff to their 25-yard line the Chargers proceeded to mount their best drive of the night. But after being caught out of position twice and giving up two long completions the Bear defense held at their own eight-yard line.

Balmorhea then lined up in a tight formation, handed off to 180-pound sophomore Adam Roman on a sweep right. Roman cut back against the grain at the 15-yard line andd then picked up a text-book open field block by senior end Harry Barron that cut off the final pursuing Charger.

The Bears kicked the conversion again and were up by 16 points with 4:53 left to play in the first quarter.

Jesus Chapel then fumbled the following kickoff and the Bears recovered on the Charger side of midfield.

Four plays later it was third-and-goal for the Bears when Lozano, well protected from the Charger rush, threw a picture-perfect pass to Barron in the corner of the end zone.

Balmorhea flubbed the points after conversion but still found themselves up by 22 points with three minutes to play in the first quarter.

It was beginning to look as though the 45-point rule would end the game at halftime.

In the next series of plays the Bear defense turned the ball over to the offense after stopping the Chargers on the El Paso 30 in four plays.

Three plays later, with the Bears facing 4th-and-10 from the 20, Lozano again found Barron open. He caught the ball on the five and twisted into the end zone. Jurado converted the points after kick to put the Bears up 30-0 in the beginning seconds of the second quarter.

Neither team could manage a first down in the next couple of possessions and then Baeza picked off a 4th-and-12 Charger pass at midfield and returned it to the Charger two-yard line.

After two runs netted the Bears negative yardage Baeza took ball and headed for the end zone with Roman and Garlick clearing the way.

Balmorhea’s extra point try was but the ball was pitched to Jurado, who managed to connect with a receiver for a one point conversion putting the Bears up 37-0 with 44 seconds left in the half.

In the second half Bear head coach Debeiasie Mendoza took advantage of the lead to get his younger players some playing time.

After a scoreless third quarter the Bears scored again but had the points-after kick blocked, leaving the score at 43-0.

With 55 seconds left freshman Marcos Beltran took the handoff at the Bear 35-yard line and proceeded to demolish the Charger defense. Five of Jesus Chapel’s six Charger defenders got a hand on Beltran to no effect as he cut back three separate times before finding the end zone.

The win improved Balmorhea to 1-1 on the season. The Bears will be at home again this coming Friday for a game against Midland Trinity, which is 1-2 after a 72-25 loss on Friday to Garden City.

Jackets sting Eagles with big plays

The improvement the Pecos Eagles’ defense showed in their half-game at Andrews against the Mustangs was pretty much wiped away Friday night, in a 28-8 loss at Walton Field in Kermit to the Yellowjackets.

The Eagles, who allowed 125 yards in a half to Andrews after surrendering over 400 in their opening loss to Alpine, gave up just under 400 yards to Kermit on Friday, with half of that coming on four plays that accounted for the Jackets’ final three touchdowns. Pecos allowed Kermit to escape a 3rd-and-44 hole with two passes that led to their second touchdown of the first quarter, surrendered a 96-yard touchdown run on a 2nd-and-19 play early in the third quarter, and then allowed the Jackets to seal the victory with a 51-yard score in the fourth quarter.

Combined with some key mistakes on offense, they left Eagles’ coach Chris Henson unhappy with his team’s effort, and hoping for some more leadership out of his players.

“We’re not playing as a team. We’ve got kids playing for themselves instead of for wins,” Henson said. “We’ve got to get them to play as a team, or it’s going to be a long season.”

“Right now we’re waiting for somebody to step up and be a leader, but so far, it hasn’t happened,” he said.

Pecos’ problems started just after the opening kickoff, when a pitch from quarterback Paul Zubeldia got past Chris Sotelo, and was recovered for a 13-yard loss. That forced a punt after an opening first down, and the Jackets drove quickly down the field for their first touchdown.

A dump off pass from quarterback Austin Grubbs to fullback Matt Wagner for 22 yards on a 2nd-and-13 play got the drive going, and backs Chris Pando and Brandon Arnsworth would rip off runs of 10, 15 and 14 yards on consecutive plays, setting up the first of Pando’s two touchdowns on the night, a 4-yard run with just over five minutes left in the period.

“Our linebackers kind of overpursued, and we had a few adjustment problems on the defensive line,” Henson said. “Most of it was the linebackers overrunning it. I don’t know if it was the excitement at the start of the game, but they were finding the cutback lanes.”

Kermit then immediately got the ball back, when Jonathan Mendoza recovered a Joseph Ontiveros fumble at the Pecos 32 on the ensuing kickoff. Pando went for 14 yards two plays later to set up a first down at 12, but Kermit was then called for holding, and Grubbs fumbled as he was being sacked. Wagner recovered 18 yards behind the line, but that was followed by another penalty against the Jackets, leaving them with the 3rd-and-44 from the Pecos 46.

Grubbs then went deep down the right sideline to Trevor Leeson, and the ball was knocked up into the air by Pecos’ Jonathan Dominguez, only to see it fall straight into Leeson’s arms as he fell to the ground for a 30-yard gain. Kermit still faced a 4th-and-14, but the Eagles then let Leeson get behind them in the end zone, and Grubbs found him for a 16-yard touchdown strike.

“They ran a formation we hadn’t seen, and we just lost our coverage,” assistant coach Derick Price said of Leeson’s TD.

Pecos would get a similar touchdown on their next series, when Zubeldia found Luis Morales behind Kermit’s defense in almost the exact same spot in the end zone for a 28-yard TD pass on a 4th-and-13 play. The score was set up by a 31-yard kickoff return by Vincent Palomino, a nine-yard scramble by Zubeldia on a 3rd-and-8, and an eight-yard run by Timo Reyes on a 3rd-and-5 play. Reyes would then score on a two-point conversion run, after being unable to kick then extra point due to a bad snap. Pecos got a second chance when Jeremiah Soto was held in the corner of the end zone while trying to catch a pass from Sotelo, who was the holder on the extra point try.

The score gave the Eagles a lift for a while. They forced Kermit to punt on their next series, but then ended up quick kicking after a penalty and a dropped pass left them in a 3rd-and-15 hole. The Jackets then marched downfield in the closing minutes of the half before stalling out at the Pecos 7. That forced a 24-yard field goal try by Nolan Mills, but Ontiveros was able to come in from the right side and block it, keeping the Eagles within six at halftime.

That lasted less than 90 seconds into the third period. Kermit set themselves back with an offensive facemask and then an illegal block call, two of the Jackets’ 10 penalties on the night, but Jonathan Mendoza would take a handoff and get through the right side of the line, then cut back left and outrace Pecos’ defense 96 yards to the end zone. Mills’ extra point made it a 21-8 game.

Pecos had a chance on their next series to come back, and converted two third downs and one fourth down on runs by Zubeldia and Hector Ramirez. But after reaching the 35 of Kermit, Reyes was stopped for a two-yard loss and Zubeldia then was picked off trying to go over the middle to Reyes, with Johnny Blankenship making the interception at the Kermit 11.

Pecos would stop Kermit this time inside their own 20 and took over at midfield, but were shut down on the ground after a 10-yard pass from Zubeldia to Reyes, and ended up turning the ball over off a bad punt snap at the Jackets’ 37 as the third period ended. Kermit would pick up three first downs on their next series before two more penalties cut the drive short, and the Eagles would then drive the ball from their own 20 into Jackets territory, only to see a sack of Zubeldia stop the drive at the 42.

Wagner would run for a first down, and then, after Kermit’s final penalty of the night, Pando took a pitch on 1st-and-15 and got around the left end, as the Eagles’ defense got caught inside. He went downfield, then was able to elude Dominguez near the five and get into the end zone with 1:46 to play.

Pecos’ night was summed up in their final possession, when runs by Ramirez and Zubeldia got the Eagles deep into Kermit territory in the final seconds, before Reyes was hit and fumbled on a 14-yard reception, with the ball rolling into the end zone and out for a touchback, turning the ball over to Kermit.

“I thought Paul threw the ball well tonight. We had a couple of balls dropped, and a couple where people tried to run before they caught the ball,” Henson said. Zubeldia ended up with 77 yards passing and 83 rushing for Pecos, which was playing without starting center Justin Contreras and was held to just 231 yards overall on the night.

Kermit improved to 3-0 with their win, while the loss leaves Pecos at 0-3 going into their final pre-district game, this Friday against Denver City. It’s also homecoming for Pecos, which will try to avoid a 0-4 start going into their District 1-3A opener on Sept. 28, at Anthony.

“We are going to get it turned around,” Henson said. “There are things we’re doing that we can’t have, and we’re going to get it fixed.”

Denver City comes into the game with a 1-1 record, off a 43-20 loss on Friday to Levelland. The Mustangs, like the Eagles, had their second game of the season cancelled due to lightning, as they trailed Seminole, 7-0, in the second quarter.

District rivals Monahans and Fort Stockton also dropped games on Friday, while the Eagles’ 1-3A rivals in El Paso all won. Monahans lost their homecoming game to Midland Christian, 21-19, Fort Stockton was beaten in Andrews, 27-13, Clint defeated El Paso High, 43-14; Fabens downed San Elizario, 27-18; Tornillo routed Academia Juarez, 67-0; and on Saturday Anthony recoded their third straight shutout to start the season, 35-0 over Bernalillo, N.M.

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