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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, February 16, 2007

Eagles reschedule season opener, face Maidens, Tors

The Pecos Eagles weren’t going to have all their players available for their 2007 softball season opener on Tuesday against the Seminole Maidens. But coach Tammy Walls said Seminole also wasn’t quite set to start their softball season, and instead, the two teams will try again on Saturday, while also getting in an extra game on the day.

“Seminole couldn’t play on Tuesday, so we’ve rescheduled it for Saturday, and we’ll also play Lamesa,” Walls said. The first of the two games against the Eagles’ former District 3-3A rivals is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

The change allowed both teams to avoid Tuesday’s cold, windy weather, and also will allow the Eagles to get one scheduled game back this week, after Pecos was forced to pull out of the Andrews Tournament due to the Eagles advancing to the Class 3A girls basketball playoffs. Several starters will still be in basketball at least through Thursday night, when Pecos faced Snyder in the area round of the playoffs at Midland Christian.

Pecos defeated Tornillo on Monday to advance to the area round, while Snyder edged Andrews on Tuesday in their bi-district playoff game and will face Monahans on Thursday night at Odessa College. Lubbock Cooper eliminated Lamesa in their bi-district basketball playoff game on Tuesday.

Pecos will play its 2007 home opener on Tuesday against the Kermit Yellowjackets.

Swimmers to face fast field at 4A state championships

Eight members of the Pecos Eagles’ swim team were headed to Austin on Thursday, to compete in the Class 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships, on Friday and Saturday at the Jamail Aquatic Center at the University of Texas.

Coach Terri Morse said four swimmers, one diver and three alternates would make the trip to Austin for the meet, which will begin with preliminaries at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and continue with finals at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Pecos qualified in eight of 12 events while winning their seventh Region I-3A swimming and diving championship in eight events two weeks ago in Lubbock, but will be pushed to mach their best-ever finish at state, a fourth place finish three seasons ago, while seeking their first-ever state title in any individual or relay event.

“It’s going to be a fast meet,” said Morse, while adding her swimmers have had a good two weeks of workouts since regionals.

“They’ve looked pretty good in the water,” she said, with the only problem an eye injury suffered by senior Matt Oglesby.

“He got some sort of splinter in his eye, but they got it out on Monday and everything’s fine now,” she said. Oglesby qualified in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly, as well as with the Eagles’ 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay teams. Both those squads set new regional records, as did Oglesby in the 200 medley and senior Kyle Winkles in the 100-yard backstroke, though Winkles is seeded higher in the 50-yard freestyle, where his 22.01 time at regional was good for the No. 2 spot out of the 16 state qualifiers.

Junior Matthew Florez and sophomore Matt Elliott are the other members of the two relay teams, and Elliott also will compete in two individual events, the 200-yard freestyle and the 100 backstroke, where he earned an at-large state berth after placing second to Winkles.

The Eagles finished first in their other state-qualifying swimming events, while Pecos’ other regional qualifier, sophomore Hector Roman, placed second to Andrews’ Matt Culberson in the 1-meter diving competition to earn a trip to state. Morse said his 362.25 score at regionals puts him seventh among the 15 divers entered.

The divers will compete in eight dives on Friday evening, then will have their final three dives on Saturday, prior to the final swimming event of the day, the 400 freestyle.

Aside from Culberson, only one other District 4-4A competitor, Monahans’ Catherine Cutbirth, advanced to state. Cutbirth won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles and will be a late arrival in Austin, after playing for the Loboes against Seminole in the area round of the Class 3A basketball playoffs on Thursday night.

Pecos lifters place third at Kermit meet

The Pecos Eagle boys and girls powerlifting teams both took third place this past weekend in Kermit, in their of their four meets for the 2007 regular season.

Coach Fred Howard said both squads were slightly shorthanded for the meet, which was won by Kermit’s boys and Fort Stockton’s girls. Kermit edged Monahans by one point, 45-44, with the Eagles next at 38 points, while Pecos’ girls had 33 points, to 45 for Fort Stockton and 41 for Kermit.

“We ended up third, but we had one young man bomb out, and one was at college day,” said coach Fred Howard. “Both of them would have gotten first in their weight classes.” He said senior Chris Navarette missed the meet, while senior Albert Lopez ended up with no score in the 220-pound weight class after failing to post a weight in the dead lift to wrap up Saturday’s meet. Pecos still have four first place finishes on the day, by Ruben Salgado in the 242-pound weight class, Job Darpolor at 198 pounds and Elias Valenzuela in the 123-pound weight class.

“Just about everybody went up this week,” Howard said. “Ruben Salgado went 1,350 pounds, and I think he’s sitting second in the region right now.”

Salgado’s combined total for his bench press, squat thrust and dead lift was second among all competitors at Kermit, behind Monahans superheavyweight Michael Murphree.

Darpolor won his weight class with a combined lift of 1,100 pounds and Aaron Navarette was fourth, with a 1,030 total, while Valenzuela was first in his division, with a combined weight of 800 pounds on his bench press, squat thrust and dead lift. Finishing behind Salgado in the 242-pound division for Pecos was Mason Baeza, third with a 1,250 and Michael Lee, fourth at 1,135 pounds.

Pecos also had a second place finish from Marcus Luna in the 165-pound weight class with a 1,010 total. Michael Tarin (865 pounds) was sixth and Robert Herrera (810) eighth in that division. At 114 pounds Josh Jackson (505 pounds) was fourth, as was Stephen Apolinar (730 pounds) in the 132-pound weight class. At 148 pounds, Lucas Chavez (895) was fifth; at 181 pounds, Wayne Sparkman (870 pounds) was fourth, at 198 pounds Hector Ramirez (905) placed sixth and Daniel Sotelo (760) was 10th, and at 220 pounds Bryan Navarette (960 pounds) was fifth.

“Stephen Apolinar, one of our freshmen, medaled while going up in a weight class, and I’m real impressed with our sophomores, Levi, Hector and Bryan,” Howard said.

The girls had two division winners; Ashley Ornelas at 114 pounds, with a combined lift of 560 pounds, and Marissa Lyles at 220 pounds, with a combined total lift of 690 pounds. Placing second and third in the over 220 division were Chantel Mazone (650 pounds) and Deandra Bailey (635), while Katherine Ramirez (650) was second in the 181-pound weight class; Jessica Trujillo (590) and Catherine Moore (545) were third and fourth in the 165-pound division; and Tiffany Rodriguez (550) was sixth in the 148-pound division.

“I had two girls playing golf and one playing tennis,” Howard said. “I think if we had those girls participating, that would have gotten us over the top.”

Howard said the final meet of the regular season is next week in McCamey. The Top 10 regional totals in each division then advance to the Region I competition next month.

Howard said he expects to qualify a number of boys and girls lifters in each division, while adding some of his lifters are just outside the Top 10, may have to either increase their lift totals or try to drop down a weight class before the final meet, in order to earn a regional spot.

Eagles start season Monday after weekend events

The Pecos Eagles baseball team will begin a busy eight-day stretch to open the 2007 season this weekend, with a home-run derby contest and alumni game on Friday and Saturday, prior to their season opener Monday night at Midland Greenwood.

New head coach Eric Garcia’s team will face the Rangers, their former district rivals who swept Pecos in three games last season to keep the Eagles out of the playoffs, then take on state-ranked Snyder and Fabens, led by former Eagles coach Elias Payan, next weekend, as they try to improve on their fourth place finish and 7-6 district record from a year ago, following a 14-2 start.

Pecos played its only regular scrimmage game this past Monday at home against Kermit, and beat the Yellowjackets by a 11-5 final score. “They actually looked pretty good,” Garcia said. “They got off to a little bit of a rough start, with some walks and a passed ball. Kermit scored two runs in the top of the first, and then we scored four runs in the bottom of the first.”

Garcia said Vincent Palomino, Isaiah Rayos and Kenny Rayos did a good job on the mound for the Eagles. “The hitting was a little bit rusty, but I thought we still got some good hits and we looked patient at the plate, and kept from swinging at bad pitches.”

Palomino is one of the new players on the team for Pecos, and Garcia said he may start Monday’s game at Greenwood, while both Rayoses are among six returning players for the Eagles. Kenny Rayos is back at first base and Isaiah Rayos at shortstop, while Jose Chavez will take over full-time at third base, after splitting time between second and third a year ago, while John Paul Salcido will be at second, Chris Garnto at catcher and Robert Nunez in right field.

Garnto is one of a couple of players just out from basketball. Garcia said another, Timo Reyes, will be one of the candidates for the two available outfield positions, along with Rocky Lozoya and Palomino.

“Of course, that will change when one of them is pitching,” Garcia said. Isaiah Rayos and Nunez have the most varsity pitching experience among the returning Pecos players, but the Eagles did graduate their top three pitchers from last season in Eddie Vela, Edward Valencia and Josh Anchondo.

Garcia said Friday’s home run derby will be to help raise funds for the Pecos High School baseball program, and will start at 6 p.m., while the alumni game against former Eagle players will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Pecos’ home opener will be a week from Friday against Snyder, which Garcia said is favored to advance to state this season out of Region I-3A. Next Friday’s game will also be their only home game until district. They’ll play out of town for a month, including tournaments in March at Snyder and in Crane.

The Eagles travel west to face Fabens Saturday afternoon, and host the Wildcats next month, a day after their District 2-3A opener against Fort Stockton.

With only four teams in the district this season, Pecos, Monahans, Fort Stockton and defending district champ Presidio will play a three-round district schedule. The Eagles will play five of their nine 2-3A games on the road, including a stretch of four out of five away from home in April. They open district play on March 23 hosting Fort Stockton and end hosting Monahans on April 24, and will host the Loboes twice while going to Fort Stockton and Presidio twice as part of this year’s schedule.

Loboes’ lay-ups end Eagles’ season

Three-point shots beat lay-ups in the Pecos Eagles’ first game against the Monahans Loboes, but not the second time around, and that meant the end for Pecos’ 2006-07 basketball season.

The Eagles, who used their outside shooting to beat the Loboes at home two weeks ago, hit eight 3-point shots on Tuesday night in Monahans, to just two from behind the 3-point line for the Loboes. But Monahans had far more success scoring inside than Pecos did, and led by senior forward Arnold Rodriguez defeated Pecos, 52-43, to claim the third and final playoff spot out of District 2-3A in the final regular season game for both teams.

“We shot too many 3s. We pulled it out and chunked it up,” said Eagles’ coach Chaun Brooks. “We took bad shots, and that’s a recipe for a loss.”

Pecos managed just six lay-ups on the night, five of those coming on rebounds of missed shots. They didn’t have a drive to the basket for a score until Lucas Macha hit a shot with 1:07 left in the game, and the lack of an inside game also meant the Eagles didn’t go to the foul line until there were 37 seconds left in the third quarter.

“We didn’t penetrate their gaps very well. They were out of synch,” said Brooks, who noted that Macha and Jeremy Rodriguez, his leading scorers in district play, combined for just seven points, all by Macha. The two scored 31 points in Pecos’ earlier 62-48 win over Monahans.

“We needed to have Lucas and Jeremy have a big game. If one of those two doesn’t have a big game, we don’t have a chance,” Brooks said.

That didn’t hurt the Eagles for a while, since Monahans missed all four of their foul shots in the opening period. And the Eagles led most of the way in the quarter, thanks to a 3-ponteer by Macha, two by Daniel Reyes, including one at the buzzer to put the Eagles ahead 13-10, and rebound lay-ups by Mark Molina and Lucas Macha. But Pecos would turn the ball over on their first two possessions of the second quarter, and wouldn’t score until a 15-foot jumper by Macha with 2:37 left in the period.

Chris Bates and Cameron Bennett scored off the turnovers to put the Loboes ahead, and a 3-pointer by Justin Patterson gave Monahans a 21-15 lead, before Reyes’ third 3-pointer cut that to 21-18 at the half.

The Loboes were late to get back on court to start the third quarter, but Pecos again was the slower starter on offense in the period. A foul shot by Patterson followed by lay-up by Patterson and Rodriguez gave the Loboes a 26-18 lead. Molina got the Eagles on the board with a 3-pointer 90 seconds into the period, and two rebound lay-ups by Reyes and a 3 by Vance Mondragon would cut the lead late in the period to 32-30.

But Blake Hughes responded with a lay-up, and when Pecos finally did get to the line, it was Mache’s turn to miss his shots. Patterson then went down and sank another 3-pointer, and Pecos went into the fourth period down by seven.

The Eagles would cut the lead to one, at 38-37, on a two jumpers by Molina, one a 3-pointer and a free throw and rebound lay-up by Chris Garnto, while Patterson and Rodriguez missed front ends of one-and-ones. But Rodriguez then found Chris Roberson for a lay-up, and after a turnover at the other end of the court, Roberson was fouled and hit two free throws with 2:47 to play, widening the lead to 43-38.

Mondragon then missed the front end of a one-and-one and on the next time downcourt, Rodriguez would get inside for another lay-up off an inbounds pass. Macha hit his lay-up after a free throw by Ricky Rivera to make it a 46-40 game, but again Roberson was able to sink two foul shots after being fouled, widening the lead to eight with a minute to play.

While all but one of Pecos’ varsity players this season were seniors, only Macha had much varsity experience going into the 2006-07 season, and Brooks said that might have hurt the Eagles.

“This was the biggest game they’ve been in, and it was a lot of pressure,” he said. “That’s why I moved Joseph (Rodriguez) up, so he won’t just experience it as a senior.”

Rodriguez is the only varsity player coming back next season for the Eagles, who ended up 1-5 in district and 7-17 on the season. “We have some potential coming up. We have some kids on the JV who are pretty good, and Fort Stockton loses a lot of kids this year, and so does Monahans.”

Reyes’ 13 points led the Eagles in scoring, while Rodriguez topped the Loboes with 16. Monahans’ win gave them a 2-4 district record and a 12-16 overall mark. They’ll face District 1-3A runner-up Clint next week in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs, and will have a playoff practice game at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at home against Grandfalls, after district champion Fort Stockton takes on 1-3A champ and No. 10-ranked Fabens in a practice game at 10 a.m.

Loboes’ coach Thomas Clay said Fort Davis will face Grady, Reagan County will play Monahans, Dell City will take on Rankin and Sterling City will face Crane in four other playoff practice games Saturday afternoon and evening at the Jerry Larned Special Events Center.

Monahans also won Tuesday’s junior varsity game, by a 66-62 score. J.R. Lujan had 18 points and Timo Reyes 17 for the Eagles.

Pecos girls take on Snyder after first-ever playoff win

Five-on-five full-court girls basketball really hasn’t been part of Texas high school sports for very long. But 31 years is still a long time to wait for your first playoff victory. That’s what the Pecos Eagle girls picked up Monday night in Van Horn, as they jumped out to an 11-0 lead on the Tornillo Coyotes, led by that margin after one period and doubled it by halftime, before ending up with a 55-29 victory in their Class 3A bi-district round playoff game.

The win moved Pecos into a 7 p.m. game Thursday night at Midland Christian against District 3-3A champion Snyder. The winner of that game will advance to the Region I-3A quarterfinals, against Clint or Lamesa-Lubbock Cooper next week.

The Eagles won big by not only hitting most of their early outside shots, but also converting inside far better than they had last Friday, in their loss to the Monahans Loboes to determine the first round playoff bye out of District 2-3A. Pecos and Monahans shared the district title this season, the first title for the Eagles since 1970, when UIL girls’ basketball was still limited to the 3-on-3 halfcourt game.

“I think they were a lot more relaxed than on Friday,” said Eagles’ coach Debbie Garcia. “We talked about how tight they were, and I think that was because of a lack of playoff experience, but we came out today and had a lot more fun.”

Amalie Herrera hit a jumper on Pecos’ first possession of the game, while Gabby Garcia sank a pair of free throws and Jasmine Rayos hit a 3-point to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead. After that, Pecos went much more inside, with post Chantel Mazone scoring a team-high 14 points, after collecting just two in Pecos’ 36-28 loss last week to Monahans.

“We told Chantel she was going to score today,” said Garcia. “She wasn’t very happy with the way she played against Monahans, and we worked at getting it inside today. She did a good job shooting and also passing the ball.”

Mazone had six of her 14 points in the opening period, which ended with Pecos ahead 19-8. Tornillo, which placed third in District 1-3A and had a roster of all freshmen and sophomores, got on the board on a pair of bank shots by Lucy Calzada, while Jissel Reyes hit a series of free throws in the first half, on the way to a game-high 16 points.

Calzada would hit a 3-pointer to start the second period and get Tornillo within eight, but Claire Weinacht then hit a rebound lay-up, Rayos scored from inside and then converted a missed shot into a three-point play. She would add a basket off a steal moments later, and Mazone and Garcia would then sink five more foul shots to give Pecos a 21-point lead. Two foul shots by the Coyotes’ Reyes finally broke that streak with nine seconds left in the half, but that was still enough time for Pecos to set up a 3-point jumper from the top of the key by Adrianna Armendariz that put the Eagles on top, 36-14 at halftime.

Garcia mixed and matched her starters and reserves in the final two periods, with the level of play slipping while the number of foul shots increased. Pecos’ biggest lead was 28 points, at 48-20 after two lay-ups early in the final period by Mazone.

“I was glad everybody got a chance to play. We’ll need some of that next season, since I’m losing five seniors and get five sophomores and one junior back,” said Garcia, whose team improved to 10-14 on the season. Tornillo ended its season with a 7-15 record.

This will be the Eagles’ first-ever trip to the area round of the playoffs. They were beaten in their only two other trip to the playoffs since five-on-five play began by eventual state champion Levelland, in 1988 and 1991. Snyder is 17-7 on the season, after winning the District 3-3A title with a 4-2 record. Both their losses came at the hand of Andrews, while the Tigers also fell last month in non-district play to Lubbock Cooper and Pecos’ former district rival, Seminole.

“I haven’t seen them, but I coach (Derick) Price said all he knew was they had a lot of height,” Garcia said. The Tigers are led by 5-10 post Jordan Stansell and 5-6 guard Terann Ragland, both all-region selections as juniors in 2006.

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