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Friday, August 17, 2001

Eagles scrimmage in Cavemen's lair

Staff Writer
A full year running the option offense figures to make a difference in execution for the Pecos Eagles during the 2001 football season. But they'll get their first test of that on Saturday, when they travel to Carlsbad to face the Cavemen in their only preseason scrimmage.

Pecos and Carlsbad will scrimmage on the varsity and junior varsity level, starting at 11 a.m. CDT. Coach Gary Grubbs said the JV would probably go first with their scrimmage, followed by the varsity match-up.

"We'll go 20 plays with the first season on both sides, offense and defense, then we'll go 15 plays with the second group and just play it from there," Grubbs said. "Last year we did a quarter of live (conditions) and we may do something like that again this year."

What the Eagles don't want is a repeat of last year's scrimmage results. They were beaten by the Cavemen in Pecos six touchdowns to one, and struggled both with their pass defense, especially over the middle, and in trying to run the option offense for the first time.

The Eagles improved their offense as the season went on, while the Cavemen went on to hammer Pecos' former district rival Andrews during the regular season, showing the 6-1 score had as much to do with what Carlsbad had in their lineup as the problems the Eagles had with their squad.

This season, the Cavemen will be trying to replace running back Travis Gates and quarterback Pete Subia, both of whom had big games against Pecos a year ago. They do have receiver Ryan French back, and Grubbs said, "Coach (Kirk) Potter said they'll probably throw the ball more this year."

Both teams have held one intrasquad scrimmage, the Cavemen last Saturday and the Eagles this past Tuesday. Pecos scored four touchdowns in that, three through the air to go along with a 62-yard touchdown run by junior Matthew Levario.

Freddy Torres had two of the TD passes, and Grubbs said, "We'll probably look at Freddy and Richard (Rodriguez) at quarterback. We won't look at Peter (Juarez) because he's got a back muscle that keeps spasming." Juarez is scheduled to play on defense, where he and Rodriguez are moving from the cornerback slots to the strong and free safety positions.

Along with Levario at tailback, the Eagles will get back fullback Mason Abila, who missed the 2000 season, while at receiver, the Eagles return Jason Gonzales. "We've got Jason and John Parent to play out there, and we'll look at Ricky Plummer and Abel Lopez."

Up front, Grubbs and assistant coach Elias Payan said Tomas Valles, Max Miaranda, Trey Edwards, Tony Trujillo and Job Navarette would probably go on the first series, while at tight end, "We're looking at three people, Joey Ortega, John Saenz and Justin Evans."

Evans is also one of two strong side linebackers the Eagles will be looking at Saturday, along with Sammy Gonzales. Abila is scheduled to play in the middle and Chris Lara and Bobby Valenzuela are the weak side linebackers. All are new from last year.

The line is also mostly new, with holdovers Jose Loa at defensive end and Jaime Herrera at tackle. Chris Orona and Will Armstrong are the others expected to start at tackle and end, while Plummer, who split time at cornerback last year, will be joined by Oscar Parada.

"We're going to look at everyone, so nothing's set yet. In the secondary, we'll also look at Jason Gonzales, Alex Lopez, John Parent and Matthew Levario, and hopefully we'll get Ruvel (Carrasco) back some time," Grubbs said.

Carrasco separated his shoulder in practice and will be going to Midland on Saturday for an examination while the rest of the Eagles head to Carlsbad. The Eagles also will be without lineman Gabriel Huertas, who is injured, and lineman Jae Ewing is out for an indefinite period with mononucleosis.

While the varsity and JV teams go to Carlsbad, the freshman Eagles will scrimmage the Cavemen in Pecos on Saturday. The freshman and JV will open their 2001 seasons on Aug. 31 against Kermit, while the varsity hosts the Yellowjackets the following night in their season opener.

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