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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, February 9, 2007

Eagles Ortega among finalists for 3A Player of Year award

Pecos Eagles running back Luis Ortega will join football players from across Texas this weekend at Texas Stadium in Dallas for the announcement of the Ford-Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director Magazine Player of the Year for 2006.

Ford and Scholastic selected one Player of the Week from each of the five 11-man football classifications and from Texas private schools. Those players will and their families are traveling to Irving, Texas, for Saturday’s announcement.

Ortega was named Class 3A Player of the Week for his season-opening effort against Alpine, when the senior ran for 267 yards and all three Pecos touchdowns in a 21-14 win. For the season, Ortega ran for 2,046 yards and 26 touchdowns, and ran for over 4,000 yards in 3 1/2 seasons on the Eagles’ varsity.

Golfers host boys tourney this weekend

The Pecos Eagles boys’ golf team will be hosting nine other schools on Friday and Satuday, in their first home invitational tournament in a decade.

The Pecos River Invitational will play 18 holes both days at the Reeves County Golf Course. Coach Pat Gent said one of the Eagles’ two District 2-4A rivals, Fort Stockton, will be entered in the tournament, along with former district rivals Lamesa and Greenwood. The Eagles will go into the tournament off a third place finish last Saturday at the Sandhills Invitational in Monahans, the first tournament of the spring season for Pecos. Midland Trinity won the tournament with a 326-322-648 score, while the host Loboes shot a 335-350-685 and the Eagles had a 360-346-706, to beat out Odessa High’s ‘B’ team by one stroke.

“We thought about what we needed to do Saturday and came ready to play,” Gent said. “We looked the scorecard over to see where we could make adjustments hole to hole, and everybody improved on their Friday scores.”

Gent said Joseph Tarin placed fourth in the medalist competition, shooting an 81-80-161 for 36 holes. Richard Dutchover shot a 93-86-179; Heath Armstrong shot a 93-90-183; and Sammy Sandoval had a 98-90-188.

“We were third, but we beat Monahans in Saturday’s round,,” Gent said. He added that Pecos also placed ahead of Fort Stockton both days, as they Panthers shot a 362-353-715 to finish fifth in the eight-team tournament.

Monahans boys will not be in the tournament, due to the invitational meet being hosted by Andrews at the Morris Williams Golf Course in Austin, site of this year’s Class 3A state golf tournaments.

Both Monahans teams will be in that tournament, as will Pecos’ girls, after their third place finish at last year’s state Class 3A Tournament. The Eagles were one golfer short last week in San Angelo, when they placed seventh in the Blue Division of the San Angelo Girls Classic.

Softball girls to scrimmage trio Saturday

The Pecos Eagles’ softball team will have most of their players out, though many without much practices, on Saturday, when they travel to Midland for a trio of teams in preparation for their 2007 season opener on Tuesday in Seminole.

Coach Tammy Walls said the Eagles will face the Coahoma Bulldogs, Greenwood Rangerettes and Midland High Bulldogs in scrimmage games, at 12 noon, 2 and 3:50 p.m. at the Audrey Gill Sports Complex, located off Loop 250 at State High 349 on the north side of Midland.

Pecos has been practicing for two weeks, but have been without several returning starters who are still in basketball. The Eagles have a game Friday night against Monahans for a first round bye in the Class 3A playoffs, but Walls said coach Debbie Garcia has said players from her basketball team could participate in Saturday’s scrimmage.

Next week will be more of a problem for the Eagles. If Pecos wins on Friday, they’ll be playing in the area round of the playoffs next weekend, which already has led Walls to pull out of next week’s Andrews Tournament.

“I had to decide early enough so coach (Holly) Tippin could get another team in,” she said. Walls added that she would try and get Pecos into a tournament in Lubbock the weekend of March 1-3 to make up for the lost games next weekend.

Winkles gets No. 2 seed for state 50 free finals

Pecos Eagles’ senior Kyle Winkles will go into the Class 4A Swimming and Diving Championships with a No. 2 seed in the 50-yard freestyle, after his 22.01 time last Saturday at the Region I-4A meet in Lubbock.

Winkles is one of three Pecos swimmers to qualify in two individual events for the state meet, set for Feb. 16-17 at the Jamail Aquatic Center at the University of Texas-Austin. Pecos also will be sending two of their boys relay teams to state, along with diver Hector Roman.

Frisco’s Josh Pena is seeded No. 1 in the 50 free with a 21.93 time, while three other swimmers are seeded within two-hundredths of a second of Winkles going into next Friday’s preliminaries.

Pecos has never had a first place finish at the state championships, but Eagles’ coach Terri Morse said, “I think he has as good a chance as anybody. The 50 is such a short race, it comes down to who has the fastest start, turn and finish.”

Winkles is also seeded eighth in his other event, the 100-yard backstroke, which he won at regionals with a 54.82 time. The senior, who won Outstanding Swimmer for the boys division at both district and regionals, is also a member of the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay teams, along with Matt Oglesby, Josh Elliot and Matthew Florez. Both relays set new regional records, while Oglesby and Elliott also qualified for state in their two individual events.

In the 200 medley relay, the Eagles are seeded sixth with their 1:41.94 time. Texarkana High’s 1:39.99 is top seed in that race. The 400 freestyle relay is seeded seventh with their 3:23.41 time. Austin Johnson is seeded first there, with a 3:18.32 time.

In the other individual events, Oglesby goes in seeded 10th in the 200-yard individual medley, after setting a new regional record with a 2:02.44 time, and is seeded 11th in the 100-yard butterfly, with his 55.12 time at regionals. Elliott is seeded 16th in the 200 yard freestyle with his winning time of 1:53.89, while his 57.25 time in the 100 backstroke was good enough to earn him an at-large berth and an 11th seed going into the preliminaries on Friday.

“I think they have some room to move up,” said Morse. “I think the boys feel like they can cut their relays and individual events.

“I don’t think they were fully rested for regionals,” she added. “The way they’re talking and the way the say they feel in the water, I think there’s room for them to cut.”

In diving, Roman’s 362.25 score is in the middle of the pack going into state. However, Morse and diving coach Joan Capshaw said the order of the divers would be randomly determined by a computer on both days of competition.

In swimming, the Top 8 finishers in the swimming prelims on Friday will advance to the championships finals on Saturday, while the remaining eight will swim in the consolation finals.

Home court no advantage for Pecos in 54-43 loss

A home court advantage and a starter back in the lineup didn’t do much for the Pecos Eagles Tuesday night, as the Fort Stockton Panthers clinched a playoff spot and dropped Pecos back into a tie for third place in the District 2-3A standings with a 54-43 win over the Eagles.

Omar Calderon led Fort Stockton with 11 points, but it was a group of players led by Lambert Gonzales, Jeremy Martinez and Saul Florez that dominated Pecos inside Tuesday night, scoring off a series of second, third and fourth chances to carry the Panthers past the Eagles.

Fort Stockton didn’t have that type of advantage two weeks earlier, when they used some late scoring by Calderon to beat Pecos at home by a 39-31 score. But on Tuesday, the Panthers were in position far more often for rebounds than the Eagles were after the opening minutes of play.

“I don’t think it was quickness, it was a lack of boxing-out effort on our part,” said Eagles’ coach Chaun Brooks. “We tried to out-jump better athletes, and that’s not going to work.”

Pecos took a 7-1 lead at the outset, as Victor Mondragon and Jeremy Rodriguez hit short jumpers and Lucas Macha hit a 3-point shot from the side after an opening foul shot by Sergio Corral. But the Panthers would come back with a 20-7 run after that, taking the lead at 14-13 on a basket by Corral two minutes into the second period.

The Eagles would tie the game again at 16-all on a 3-point basket by Mark Molina, and he would hit another 3 a few minutes later, after the Panthers scored five straight points for a 21-16 lead. They later got the margin down to one, on a three-point play by Macha with 26 seconds left in the half, but J.D. Granado was then fouled with 10 seconds left, hit his first foul shot then rebounded his own miss and scored with four seconds left to give the Panthers a 27-23 lead.

Aside from the rebounding problems, Pecos also struggled in the second half with Fort Stockton’s press. The Eagles trailed 32-27 with 3:46 left in the third period when Florez scored on a rebound lay-up, Justin Pena followed with a jumper in the land and Gonzales then scored and was fouled and Martinez hit two free throws off back-to-back steals, giving Fort Stockton a 41-27 lead with 2:11 left in the quarter.

“Once Fort Stockton got their press up, our guys got rattled,” Brooks said. “It was just a lack of ball toughness.”

Pecos would trail by 11 going into the final period, and would get no closer than that over the final eight minutes. Calderon had six of his 11 points in the quarter, while Rodriguez, who missed the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 26, would score six of his 13 points in the period on drives into the lane, while the rest of the Eagles’ offense was quiet.

“They were denying our passes and our kids refused to get open. That forced Jeremy to stand outside dribbling,” Brooks said. “We stood around, and what Fort Stockton was able to do it that was help out on defense. Jeremy would drive and end up in a crowded pen.”

Fort Stockton improved to 4-0 in district and clinched a playoff berth, while Pecos fell to 1-3 in district and into a tie for third with Monahans, 58-48 winners at home over Presidio on Tuesday. The Eagles host the 2-2 Blue Devils on Friday in their final regular season home game, and then close out regular season play on Tuesday with a trip to Monahans.

Fort Stockton also won Tuesday’s junior varsity game by a 55-39 score, while the Panthers took the freshman game over the Eagles, 47-42. With the Eagle girls playing Monahans in Fort Stockton this Friday night for a first round playoff bye, the varsity game on Friday against Presidio will begin following the ninth grade and JV games at the PHS gym, starting about 4:30, 6 and 7:30 p.m.

Eagles face Loboes after claiming share of title

What do the Pecos Eagles and the Indianapolis Colts have in common? They both got to celebrate the first championships since the 1970 season this week. The Colts won their first Super Bowl since they played in Baltimore and defeated the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V, with their 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The Eagles didn’t do anything that lofty, but on Tuesday night they were able to cut down the net at the Pecos High School gym after claiming a share of their first district girls basketball title in 37 years.

Pecos took as much as an 10-point lead on Fort Stockton in the first half, saw that margin dwindle to two, then were up by as many as nine early in the fourth quarter before seeing that lead cut to three points. But the Eagles were again able to stay in the lead and ended up holding on for a 42-31 victory to earn a share of the District 2-3A title with Monahans. However, to earn the first round district playoff bye and a spot in the area round of the playoffs, Pecos will have to win their second game in eight days over Monahans on Friday, when the teams meet in a one-game playoff starting at 6 p.m. at the Williams Center in Fort Stockton.

Eagles’ coach Debbie Garcia said her players weren’t looking ahead to Friday’s game and not thinking about a district co-championship until athletic director Chris Henson told them after the game.

“Coach Henson said congratulations on your district championship their mouths fell open,” she said. “He told them it doesn’t matter whether Monahans wins or loses on Friday, you’re co-district champions.”

Pecos never trailed on Tuesday, but the Eagles were never in full control of the game until the closing minutes. Gabby Garcia’s basket and a 3-pointer by Jasmine Rayos gave the Eagles a 5-0 lead, and another 3-pointer by Rayos to end the quarter and two more jumpers by Garcia put Pecos up by 10, at 14-4, two minutes into the second period.

But the Eagles also started getting into foul trouble, and while the Prowlers couldn’t take advantage at the free throw line - hitting just 9 of 25 attempts in the game - the line-up changes also slowed down Pecos’ offense.

“I had some girls get into foul trouble with Gabby and Brittany Palomino, and that hurt us, and I thought we tried to force the ball inside,” Garcia said. “When we stopped forcing the ball inside, we did a little better.”

The Panthers were able to cut the 10-point lead down to six late in the half, but Adrianne Armendariz would hit one of two free throws to end the second quarter, then had a three-point play early in the third period after a Gabby Garcia free throw, which widened the lead to 11, at 21-10. But the foul problems forced Pecos to change its lineup, and Fort Stockton then went on a 10-1 run that cut the deficit to two. Jessina Vargas, Briana Trejo, Lila Singh and Krystal Chavarria had baskets during the run, the last off a Heather Garvin steal that made the score 22-20.

Amalie Herrera would stop the streak with a side jumper, and Chantel Mazone would also hit a 12-foot jumper before the period ended to widen the lead back to five. Baskets by Claire Weinacht and Brittany Rodriguez to open the fourth quarter made it a 30-21 game, but the Prowlers would rally again behind Vargas and Garvin, hitting a couple of inside shots and foul shots to cut the lead to 32-29 with 3 1/2 minutes to play.

Pecos would hold on at the finish, as Mazone hit another short jumper and Garcia was 6-for-8 from the line in the closing 2 1/2 minutes, while the Prowlers would miss all four of their chances from the line during that stretch.

Garcia ended up with 16 points, 10 from the line, to lead all scorers, while Fort Stockton post Angela Newton led the Prowlers with 11, as Fort Stockton did more of their scoring from inside than they did in the teams’ first meeting two weeks ago, a 44-42 win by Pecos. “I don’t think we blocked out very well today. We just turned and looked at the ball,” said Garcia, while adding that Armendariz did a good job underneath, with 18 rebounds in the game.

Monahans earned their share of the District 2-3A title with a 53-29 win at home over Presidio. The Blue Devils and Prowlers ended regular season district play with 1-5 records, and will have their own playoff for third place on Friday in Alpine, with the winner going on to face Fabens in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs.

The loser of Friday’s Pecos-Monahans game will face Tornillo in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs on Monday in Van Horn, while the winner will wait until late next week to face the winner of the bi-district game between Andrews or Lamesa, the runner-up out of District 3-3A, and Lubbock Cooper, the third place team from District 4-3A.

Next week’s playoff game will be only the third since 1970 for Pecos in girls basketball. The Eagles qualified as district runner-up in 1988 and 1991, losing to eventual state champion Levelland in their first round playoff game both seasons.

Pecos’ junior varsity won their final regular season game, beating Fort Stockton by a 36-28 final score. Allyson Salicdo led the Eagles with 10 points.

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