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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Monday, January 3, 2000

Losses mount for  PHS hoop squads

PECOS, Jan. 3, 2000 -- Problems continued for the Pecos Eagle basketball teams on both sides of the millennium, as the boys and girls failed to come up with their first wins of the 1999-2000 season.

The girls dropped to 0-11 on the year with a 64-12 loss in Sweetwater to the Mustangs, while the boys saw their season record fall to 0-14 with three losses on Friday and Saturday at the Fort Stockton New Year's Tournament. Pecos lost 74-61 to Kermit on New Year's Even, and then 84-46 to McCamey and 55-52 to Fort Stockton's junior varsity team on New Year's Day.

The Eagles played without Adrian Rayos and Jesses Salazar in both games on Saturday. "They both had family commitments," said coach Tino Acosta, while leading scorer Hector Rodriguez, who had 20 and 22 points in the first two games, was held to just seven against Fort Stockton's JV squad.

"I think Hector was just tired. He missed a lot of shots he normally makes," Acosta said. "He's giving the best effort possible and had almost half our points against McCamey."

The Eagles held the lead after the first three periods, but were outscored by Fort Stockton 16-9 in the fourth quarter. Against Kermit on Friday, the Eagles were down by just a 30-27 margin at the half, but were outscored 31-17 in the third period. Rayos had 11 points to go along with Rodriguez' 20 in that game, while Alex Garcia had 10, all in the first half.

The third quarter also was bad for Pecos against McCamey. They were outscored 21-6, though the Badgers already had a 12-point lead at halftime, 39-27.

"The kids are doing their best. The kids are playing as hard as they possibly can play," said Acosta. "If anybody's to blame for things not going right this season, it's me. I will accept full blame, but as long as we keep playing as hard as we can, I'm satisfied."

Kermit ended up beating Monahans for third place in the tournament, 53-52, while Fort Stockton's varsity beat Lydia Patterson to win the title, 70-50. Rankin beat McCamey for fifth place, 64-46.

Sweetwater's girls came into their game with Pecos after winning the Ballinger Tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday. They jumped out to an 18-4 lead after one period, and led 30-10 at the half, before outscoring the Eagles in the final two periods, 34-2.

"Our kids didn't play that bad, at least in the first half. We got into our offensive sets consistently, and defensively we did a good job and made them turn the ball over, but it came down to the same thing, shooting. We shot 17 percent from the floor," coach Brian Williams said.

"Sweetwater started off in a man-to-man, and Dee Dee (Molinar) hit the first four points of the game for us," Williams said. "After that they put a zone on us. They packed it down and said `Shoot the ball from the outside,' and we couldn't."

Pecos hit just one of 18 shots in the second half, by Mireya Medrano, who tied Molinar for high-point honors with four.

Win puts Cowboys in playoffs...

AP Sports Writer
IRVING, Texas, Jan. 3, 2000 - It was only one good game after two clunkers. Actually, it was only three good quarters. Yet it was enough to give the Dallas Cowboys hope they can be the first 8-8 team to win a playoff game.

"I've thought the last few weeks we've been getting better offensively," Dallas coach Chan Gailey said after a 26-18 victory over the New York Giants Sunday, which gave the Cowboys a trip to Minnesota next Sunday. "If we keep working like that, we've got a great opportunity."

Emmitt Smith ran for 122 yards, Troy Aikman threw touchdown passes of 90 and 4 yards and Eddie Murray kicked four field goals as Dallas rebounded from two ugly losses to snag the NFC's final wild-card berth.

The Cowboys and Detroit Lions became the fifth and sixth 8-8 teams ever to make the playoffs. None of the previous three won a game.

Dallas wound up the fifth seed because of a better conference record than Detroit. That means the Cowboys would host the NFC championship if they and the Lions make it that far - which is highly unlikely.

For the Cowboys to advance, they must win on the road, and they're 1-7 away from Texas Stadium. They lost 27-17 to the Vikings in Minnesota in November. They also have failed to win consecutive games since starting 3-0.

Then again, this has been one weird season. And Dallas has reached the conference finals in four of its previous five wild-card trips, even going to the Super Bowl in 1975.

"One of the things you like to do when you're David fighting Goliath is make sure you have a good sling and good rocks. I feel like we have that," team owner Jerry Jones said. "I'm pretty excited about the challenge."

The Giants' challenge Sunday was to win by 81 points. That was the only way New York could make the playoffs because Green Bay beat Arizona 49-24 in an earlier game.

To their credit, the Giants (7-9) didn't fold after trailing 23-3. They rallied for 15 fourth-quarter points, keeping the game interesting until the Cowboys recovered an onside kick with 57 seconds left.

Still, they lost their third straight and sixth of eight.

"We didn't play very maturely," quarterback Kerry Collins said of the season-ending skid. "I don't think we knew what to do when the game was on the line. When those things happen, you're going to lose ballgames."

Both teams came in having supposedly been fired up by loud pep talks from their owners.

Jones apparently was more effective in his speech than New York's Wellington Mara, whose brief talk might have stunned players more than anything because he's usually so quiet.

...and gets Rhodes fired at Green Bay

GREEN BAY, Wis., Jan. 3, 2000 (AP) - One year of mediocrity was one too many for Ron Wolf.

The Green Bay Packers' autocratic general manager fired first-year coach Ray Rhodes and his entire staff just hours after the Packers missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years, a source close to the team told The Associated Press late Sunday night.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Packers will announce the firings at a press conference today.

The move comes almost exactly one year after Wolf signed Rhodes to a four-year, $4 million contract to replace Mike Holmgren. Less than a month ago, Wolf dismissed as "ludicrous" the idea that he would fire Rhodes after his first season.

ESPN first reported Rhodes' firing, which was reported by several media outlets this morning. Phone calls to Wolf and team president Bob Harlan were not returned Sunday night.

The Packers (8-8) thrashed the Arizona Cardinals 49-24 Sunday in their regular-season finale, but the Cowboys' 26-18 win over the New York Giants put Dallas (8-8) into the NFC's final playoff spot. Green Bay hadn't missed the playoffs since 1992, Holmgren's first year with the team.

Rhodes endured intense fan and media scrutiny as the Packers struggled to their worst season since 1992. As Green Bay's losses mounted, even quarterback Brett Favre began measuring his comments on Rhodes' control of the team and his strategic decisions.

The Packers have an additional incentive to field a winning team as quickly as possible. The team is attempting to entice Wisconsin residents to approve funding for extensive renovations to Lambeau Field or a new stadium entirely.

Holmgren led the Packers to two Super Bowls and one NFL championship during the franchise's return to prominence during the 1990s. In January, Holmgren left Green Bay after seven seasons to become the coach and general manager of the Seattle Seahawks.

Though most of Rhodes' staff was new to Green Bay, offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis completed his eighth season with the Packers on Sunday. Along with defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas, Green Bay's staff was the first in NFL history with African-Americans in all three top positions.

Rhodes came to Green Bay with the reputation of being a players' coach, and the Packers initially responded to his methods. But as a pair of three-game losing streaks killed the team's playoff chances, grumblings began that Rhodes didn't assert enough control over his players.

Ironically, Holmgren was criticized for being too dictatorial when he left Green Bay a year ago.

"This is a total surprise," Favre told the Green Bay Press-Gazette Sunday night. "I thought he was a real good coach. Guys related to him well because he was a former player. I think what happened, to a certain degree, guys took advantage.

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