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Friday, November 10, 2000

Bears play for grid title after layoff

PECOS, Nov. 10, 2000 -- The Balmorhea Bears will see what the effects of an extra-long break are tonight, when they host the Sanderson Eagles to decide the District 8-A six man football championship.

Balmorhea takes on Sanderson at 7:30 p.m., with the winner claiming the district championship, though neither team will know whom they'll face until after they find out the results of tonight's Grandfalls-Sands game to determine the District 7-A title.

The Bears won by forfeit over Sierra Blanca for the second year in a row this past Friday, after their designated bye date on Oct. 27. That means the last time the Bears played a game was back on Oct. 20, when they defeated Marathon by a 75-29 final score. Balmorhea is 3-0 in district and 6-2 on the season.

The Bears clinched their fifth playoff trip in the last seven years during their long break, while Sanderson sewed up their second straight postseason berth a week ago, when the defending district champions routed Marathon by a 58-8 score.

Playing at home should be an advantage for the Bears, though coach Ennis Erickson said the long layoff might not help Balmorhea.

"It's one of those things. We'll probably be rusty to begin with, but after that we'll be all right," he said. "The kids are ready to go, which should make a big difference."

Sanderson started slowly last week, giving up Marathon's only score 40 seconds into their game, then scored 52 points the remainder of the half before ending the game under the 45-point rule just over three minutes into the third quarter. The Eagles also took advantage of six lost fumbles by Marathon and held the Mustangs to only 17 total yards.

Daniel Mendoza ran for three touchdowns and John Benavidez had 93 yards to lead the Eagles, who are 8-1 on the season.

Erickson said if the Bears play Sands in the bi-district round of the playoffs, it would be at Buena Vista, while no site has been set for a possible Balmorhea-Grandfalls match-up.

Swimmers host Pecos Invitational

PECOS, Nov. 10, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles will play host to a dozen other teams tonight and Saturday, as they host the Pecos Invitational Swim Meet at the Pecos High School Natatorium.

Diving starts at 6 p.m. today, with the timed swimming finals scheduled for an 11 a.m. start on Saturday, Eagles' coach Terri Morse said.

"We'll have 13 schools. Everybody from our district except for (Abilene) Wylie," Morse said. "We'll also have Abilene High and (Abilene) Cooper, Odessa High and three schools from New Mexico, Carlsbad, Artesia and Hobbs."

Pecos swam at Abilene last week, with the boys placing third behind San Angelo Central and Lubbock High, while the girls finished seventh overall. They were just behind Wylie in those standings and on Saturday, will face defending District 3-4A and Region I-4A champion Monahans for the first time.

"We've pretty much seen everybody else, except for Monahans and the New Mexico schools," said Morse, who'll have a full team for Saturday's meet, though that may include some tired swimmers on the boys' side, who'll be in San Elizario for tonight's football game.

"Their parents are going to take them back directly from the game so they can try and get a little more sleep," she said. The Eagles faced the same situation last year, when the Pecos Invitational was held the day after the football team play at El Paso Ysleta.

As far as where everyone will swim, Morse said it would be "pretty much like they swam at Abilene. There are not a whole lot of changes. I'm trying to get everybody where they swim their best and can do the most at home."

Saturday's meet is the final one of the year at home for the Eagles. Next week, they're scheduled to go to either the Monahans Invitational or the TISCA regional meet in Dallas, depending on qualifying times.

Wildcats face Lobos seeking share of title

PECOS, Nov. 10, 2000 -- The Fabens Wildcats' fate is in the hands of the San Elizario Eagles as much as in their own tonight, as far as the District 2-4A playoff pairings are concerned. And even then neither Fabens, El Paso Mountain View nor Pecos will have any idea who their opponents next week are until after the dust settles in tonight's District 1-4A games.

While Pecos is playing their final regular season game at 8:30 p.m. in San Elizario, Fabens and Mountain View will have kicked off 30 minutes earlier up on the northeast side of El Paso. The Wildcats can earn a share of the district title with a win over the Lobos, while they can get the No. 1 seed in Division II of the Class 4A playoffs with a victory and a loss by Pecos at San Eli.

That may be good or bad, since it could set the Wildcats up for a rematch next week against El Paso Parkland, a team they already lost to back in September, 24-19. Parkland earlier beat Mountain View, 35-13, and San Elizario, 35-15, but could miss out on the playoffs if El Paso High and El Paso Ysleta win tonight over El Paso Bowie and El Paso Riverside.

The only game in either of the two districts with no bearing on the playoff race is at Clint, where the Lions and Canutillo Golden Eagles close out their 2000 football seasons.

Fabens (3-1 in district, 6-3 overall) at EP Mountain View (4-0, 6-3): Mountain View is rooting for a Ysleta win over Riverside, which would get them a rematch with the Indians, who they defeated at Ysleta five weeks ago, 7-6. That would leave either Fabens or Pecos facing Riverside, which right now is the least desirable opponent for either school.

As for the game, it will be a lot like last week's contest between the Lobos and Eagles that Mountain View won in overtime, 26-20. Quarterback Arturo Muniz threw for 345 yards, 26 on the game-winning touchdown to Ebert Munoz, while surrendering 343 rushing to Pecos.

Fabens, meanwhile, has allowed 500 yards passing the past two weeks while beating San Elizario and Clint, as Vicente Macias has run for 682 yards in those games. He either has 1,995 or 2,002 yards overall on the season (officially the former as far as the District 2-4A stats go), but should need only a couple of plays at best to get over 2,000. But unless the Wildcats do a better job defending against Muniz, Macias will probably need to be around the 2,300-yard mark by the end of the game in order for Fabens to win.

Canutillo (1-3, 2-7) at Clint (0-4, 1-8): Both teams won their season openers, and neither won again until last week, when Canutillo edged San Elizario, 9-6, to put both Pecos and Fabens into the playoffs. Mark Dominguez' touchdown made the difference, while Canutillo's defense held San Eli without a touchdown on four trips inside the Golden Eagles' 10-yard-line.

Meanwhile, Canutillo's struggling offense will be paired against Clint's struggling defense, which is allowing over 400 yards per game. On offense for the Lions, Domingo Lozano has a shot at finishing the season with over 60 receptions and 1,000 passing yards, but they'll have to keep the Golden Eagles' strong pass rush away from quarterback Tony Alvarado.

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