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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Pecos untouched by UIL’s realignment

Staff Writer
PECOS, Feb. 1, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles will be staying where they are for the next two years, under the University Interscholastic League’s Class 4A realignment for the 2000-2002 period, while the Balmorhea Bears will lose their main rival in six-man football, following release of the UIL’s list this morning.

The Eagles, who saw their success in football improve sharply after being moved into El Paso-based District 2-4A in 1998, will be with the same five schools again for the next two years, under the UIL’s bi-annual realignment plan. Pecos will be paired with Clint, El Paso Mountain View, Fabens, Canutillo and San Elizario through the spring of 2002.

Meanwhile, the Eagles’ old district lost two of its members, Fort Stockton and Sweetwater, to Class 3A, and underwent a major change  Its four remaining members will stay together, but Andrews, Big Spring, Snyder and San Angelo Lake View will now be paired with Lubbock Estacado, Frenship, Levelland and Plainview to form an eight-school district for the next two years.

Those schools will be part of District 4-4A, making them potential area round playoff opponents for Pecos. Under the current alignment, they are part of District 5-4A and play schools from the Fort Worth/Wichita Falls area in the first two rounds of the state playoffs.

Pecos had gone 23 years without a post-season appearance in football until their move into District 2-4A in 1998. They shared the district title that fall and made the playoffs as the third place team this past season. Pecos also won the district title in tennis and volleyball in 1998 and was runner-up to Clint in both those sports for 1999. The Eagles are the defending district champions in baseball, softball and tennis going into the Spring 2000 seasons.

The 1998 realignment hasn’t benefited Pecos either in basketball, where the Eagles have won just three district games in 1½ seasons, or in cross country, where Pecos moved into the state’s toughest district, with Fabens claiming the Class 4A boys state title this past November.

The UIL raised the bottom cutoff for Class 4A enrollment by 65 students this year, from 780 to 845. That would have dropped Pecos into Class 3A two years ago, but an increase in high school enrollment, from 835 to 895 students, kept the Eagles from following Fort Stockton and Sweetwater down into Class 3A.

Two of Pecos’ district rivals, Clint and Fabens, are below the Class 4A cutoff, but petitioned the UIL to remain in Class 4A in order to save on travel costs. Schools are allowed to go to higher classifications by the UIL, but cannot move to lower ones.

Two years ago, San Elizario and Fabens petitioned to stay up in Class 4A. This year, San Elizario reported a 915 enrollment, making them the third-largest school in District 2-4A, behind Canutillo and El Paso Mountain View.

The only extracurricular sport in which Pecos is not a member of District 2-4A - swimming - will also remain unchanged next year. None of the Eagles district rivals have a swimming program, so Pecos will continue to be matched up with Andrews, Fort Stockton, Monahans, Seminole, Big Spring and Abilene Wylie as members of District 3-4A.

Balmorhea, meanwhile, saw four-time defending district champion Grandfalls-Royalty and Buena Vista move into District 7A, where they’ll be paired with Sands, Klondike, Grady and Loop for the next two years. The Bears will be part of District 8A, and will keep their other four district rivals: Dell City, Sanderson, Marathon and Sierra Blanca.

The creation of a new six-man district in the area on either side of Midland-Odessa will mean the end of the first round bye in six-man playoffs Balmorhea’s district has enjoyed for the past two seasons. The District 8A champion and runner-up will play teams from District 7A next fall.

In basketball, the Bears will move from District 1 to District 9 and will also get a break there if they make the playoffs. The UIL has divided Class A schools into Division I and Division II for basketball with two playoff brackets and two state champions, the same way football is divided in Classes 2A through 5A.

The split will be mostly, but not entirely, along six-man and 11-man lines, and the Bears will see a little tougher district competition for the next two years, with the addition of the Fort Davis Indians to their group. Fort Davis will remain in 11-man football, paired with Fort Hancock, Wink, Marfa, Rankin and Iraan, which drops back down from Class 2A.

Aside from adding Fort Davis, the Bears -- who currently lead District 1 on the boys side in basketball with a 3-0 record and are second on the girls’ side with a 2-1 mark -- will again be paired with Dell City, Valentine and Sierra Blanca for the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 school years.

The elimination of District 5-4A was the only major change in West Texas for schools in the larger classifications. Both Crane and Alpine, which had been rumored to be headed down to Class 2A, will stay in Class 3A, after the UIL kept bottom enrollment there at 345 students. Fort Stockton will take the place of Midland Greenwood in District 4-3A, joining Crane, Alpine, Monahans, Presidio and Kermit.

Greenwood moves over to District 3-4A, where they’ll take the place of Colorado City, which did drop from Class 3A to 2A under the UIL realignment. Seminole, Lamesa, Denver City, Brownfield and Slaton are the other schools in that district.

Sweetwater, meanwhile, leaves Class 4A for District 5-4A, and will join Abilene Wylie, Ballinger, Clyde, Early and Merkel. The move comes after the Mustangs missed the Class 4A football this past season for only the second time in 16 years.

The situation in Class 5A is unchanged for the next two seasons. The UIL kept San Angelo Central in District 3-5A for football only, with the six Midland, Odessa and Abilene schools remaining in District 4-5A. Central will join those schools for all other sports and academic extracurricular activities.

Also unchanged are the alignments for El Paso’s two Class 5A districts and their other 4A district. District 1-4A will again be made up of El Paso High, El Paso Bowie, El Paso Burges, El Paso Parkland, El Paso Riverside and El Paso Ysleta, with Riverside and Ysleta again falling just under the Class 5A cutoff, which is 1,864 students.

By remaining in District 2-4A Pecos will continue to endure some of the longest in Texas, with no other district school closer than 175 miles. But the honor of having the longest district trip in the state will go to Ozona and Anthony in Class 2A. Those schools, 370 miles apart, will be paired together again after a four year break, and will be joined by Reagan County, McCamey, Tornillo and Van Horn.

Eagle powerlifters get one first at Midland

PECOS, Feb. 1, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagle powerlifting team didn't do as well as coach Steve Cross had hoped this past Saturday at Midland Greenwood, but Pecos did pick up one first place overall in the meet.

Chris Lara won first in the 132-pound weight class, while Gito Crawford placed second at 275 pounds, Orlando Lara was fourth at 181 pounds and Gabriel Huertas was fifth in the super-heavyweight division for the Eagles' top finishes of the day. Overall, Cross said Pecos placed sixth in the meet.

"Everyone but Chris Lara had kind of a rough day, but hey, that happens sometimes," Cross said. "We're going to regroup, re-assess, rest some and rebuild. I'm going to have to look at our weaknesses and probably restructure some of the workouts."

Crawford's second place finish was his first after winning first at all the other meets so far this season. However, after Huertas, the only other Pecos powerlifter to finish in the Top 10 was Adam Salgado, who was ninth in the 220-pound division. The Eagles had three 13th place finishes, by Martin Guzman at 165 pounds, Joel Matta at 198 pounds and Gilbert Rodriguez at 181 pounds, while Chris Orona was 19th and Robert Carrasco 27th at 165 pounds.

"Right now we have four weeks to get ready for our last qualifying meet before regionals," Cross said. "After going to four meets in four weeks we have learned a great deal in the past four weeks and I plan to capitalize on the experience. I believe the boys will do well and continue to represent Pecos well in Andrews on Feb. 26."

Pecos girls try again to beat Fabens

PECOS, Feb. 1, 2000 -- The third quarter was the problem for the Pecos Eagle girls again on Friday in Canutillo. Tonight, they'll try to solve their end-of-game problems they've had two times this season against the Fabens Wildcats and pick up their first victory of the 1999-2000 season.

The Eagles will host Fabens starting at 6 p.m., to be followed by the boys' third straight District 2-4A home game, against the Wildcats starting about 7:30 p.m.

The girls, who lost a week ago at home to El Paso Mountain View after being tied at the half, were trailing Canutillo on Friday 21-17 when the host Golden Eagles went on a 20-12 run in the third period to open up a double-digit lead on the way to a 56-40 victory.

"It was just like playing the (Tuesday) game over again," said Eagles' coach Brian Williams. "At one point we were ahead 8-2."

Ale Pineda led the Canutillo comeback and finished with 24 points, including 8-for-9 from the foul line. But Pineda was also in foul trouble for a while, and when the other Canutillo players went over to help on defense against Eagles' post Philonicus Fobbs, Williams said Pecos wasn't able to pick up the scoring slack.

"We only turned the ball over eight times in the second half. It was one of the first times we didn't have a lot of turnovers, but when we were open we couldn't hit the shot," Williams said. Canutillo put four of their five defenders around Fobbs, who had 11 points and Maricela Arenivas, who finished with 19, but the other Eagles could combine for just 10 points on the night.

Williams said the outside shooting of guard Brenda Gonzalez, who finished with 15 points, took up the slack for Canutillo when Pineda was in foul trouble. The loss left the Eagles with an 0-19 season record, going into tonight's game with Fabens.

Pecos lost to the Wildcats in non-district play at Monahans in December, 47-44, and three weeks ago played one of the wildest games of the season, a five overtime contest that Fabens won 95-90, when both teams finished up with just two players apiece on the court.

"I hope they're excited. It seems like they're looking forward to it," Williams said. Arenivas scored 41 points in that game, while Fabens was led by Paula Portillo's 38 points and Suzie Ramirez' 20.

The boys' game at Fabens last month was a little like Friday's 69-34 loss at home by the Eagles to Canutillo. Pecos fell behind early at Fabens, as the Wildcats were in control almost all the way.

Manny Solis scored 29 points in Fabens 88-65 win, and for tonight, coach Tino Acosta said, "We're going to run a box and then run a different zone at them mainly to try and keep Solis from going off on us. He's the key to the ballclub. If we keep him in check we've got a chance to win."

Ravens' Lewis charged with double murder

AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA, Feb. 1, 2000 - Ray Lewis was supposed to be in Hawaii this week, preparing for his third straight Pro Bowl. Instead, he was jailed on murder charges in the stabbing deaths of two people shortly after the Super Bowl.

In another devastating blow to the NFL's image, the Baltimore Ravens' star linebacker was taken into custody late Monday and became the second player in less than a month accused of murder.

Lewis, the league's leading tackler this season, was charged after police spent most of the day investigating the slayings near the Cobalt lounge in Atlanta's trendy Buckhead neighborhood about 4 a.m. Monday.

Lewis was scheduled to appear in court this morning.

Earlier Monday, Lewis told a Baltimore newspaper he was questioned by police but cleared of any wrongdoing.

"I cooperated fully," Lewis told The Sun before his arrest. "As for the situation, I have no comment."

Two men were stabbed during a fight that broke out about 200 yards away after a party at the club. Witnesses said six men fought and argued with the two victims before fleeing in a black stretch limousine, firing at least five gunshots as they drove away.

Lewis, 24, was the only suspect identified by police.

Investigators found the vehicle in a parking lot behind a hotel near the shooting scene, police spokesman John Quigley said. He declined to release others details of the investigation or a possible motive.

Charles Cook, operating partner of the Cobalt, said there was no altercation at the club, which closed about half an hour before the slayings. He said Lewis had been at the club earlier in the week, but did not know if he was there Sunday night.

The Cobalt is a sleek, upscale lounge featuring vinyl-covered chairs and chrome-plated fixtures. It is situated in the heart of Atlanta's nightclub district, where thousands of revelers spill into the streets every weekend.

The club was closed Monday after a "Super Bowl Champagne Blowout" the previous evening. The NFL title game between the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans was played at the Georgia Dome, about seven miles away.

The Cobalt has come under fire from neighborhood businesses after two fatal incidents only two weeks apart. On Jan. 17, a man was shot to death near the club.

The stabbing victims were identified as Jacinta Baker, 21, and Richard Lollar, 24, both of suburban Decatur. One man died at the scene, the other at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Despite the report of shots, police said the preliminary investigation indicated both victims were stabbed to death.

Lewis left the University of Miami after his junior season and was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft. He has become one of the NFL's top middle linebackers, accounting for 673 tackles in 60 games. He led the league with 167 tackles this season.

"We're trying to gather as much information as we can," team spokesman Kevin Byrne said late Monday. "We have not spoken to Ray Lewis yet or his representative. We're waiting until we get more information before we comment."

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