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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Thursday, September 20, 2001

Eagles look to improve on defense in Presidio

Staff Writer
The Pecos Eagles will be trying to find ways to fix up their defensive problems this week, while the Presidio Blue Devils will hope to continue their defensive efforts of their first two weeks of the 2001 football season while improving on their offensive efforts, when they host Pecos on Friday in a 7:30 p.m. start.

The Eagles come in with a 1-2 record, with the major problems so far coming on the defensive side of the ball. After opening with a 25-24 win over Kermit, Pecos has lost the past two weeks to Fort Stockton, 32-8, and Alpine, 35-7, and are allowing nearly 380 yards per game so far this season.

Presidio, in contrast, comes into the game off an unplanned bye week, and a 26-0 win over Marfa on Sept. 7. They opened their season on Aug. 30 with a 14-0 loss at Van Horn in coach Fedrico Lujan's debut as the Blue Devils' coach, after coming from Hebbronville in the Lower Rio Grande Valley to replace Leville Norris.

"The first game with our new offense I had only been here for about five weeks and we looked terrible out there. We didn't know what we were doing, but since they we've worked on getting the plays down and the kids are doing better," he said.

David Neri had two touchdowns against Marfa, but Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs said quarterback Isidro Pando looked the most impressive running the ball.

"He's a pretty good athlete," Grubbs said of the sophomore, who also scored a touchdown against Marfa. "I'd call them a sweep team. They run off-tackle or to the outside. They're a heavy run team. I'd say about 90 percent."

"We're more of a run-oriented offense. Against Marfa we ran for 290 yards and passes for 35 more, which is good," Lujan said. "We didn't have to pass that much, and hopefully, we'll be able to do the same thing this week."

"They run a lot of three-back sets. I don't think they had a favorite back, but their quarterback looked to be their best runner," said Grubbs.

Last Friday, the Eagles did a good job stopping the run in the first half, holding Alpine to just 71 yards, but allowed over 150 through the air, including two touchdown passes. They cut off the Bucks' outside passing in the second half, but then were hurt by the run, allowing only 14 yards through the air but 198 on the ground in the final two periods.

"It's been good in practice this week. Our kids are dedicated to getting back on the winning track," said Grubbs, who added there would be a couple of changes for Pecos, both on defense and offense.

Defensively, he said, "We've moved Mason Abila to our strong side linebacker. We'll play either Bobby Valenzuela or Hugo Rodriguez, who's back from his collarbone injury, in the middle, and Will Armstrong on the weak side."

Along with Contreras, who missed Pecos' first three games, the Eagles will also move another player into the lineup on offense who was unavailable at the start of the season. "Jae Ewing will start at center this week, and Hector Contreras will start at right tackle," Grubbs said. Ewing was out at the start of the season due to mononucleosis; while this will be the second week in a row Contreras has started on offense.

Lujan said Presidio's defense "has been playing extremely well. We've only given up 14 points in the first game and in the second game we shut out Marfa. We need to work on our passing (defense) game, and Pecos will probably come out throwing at us right away, so we've been working on it defensively this week."

Outside of Neri, most of the Blue Devils' seniors are on the line, and Lujan said tackle J.B. Baeza and nose guard Elko Valdez have played well, while Neri has an interception as part of the defensive secondary.

"One of the things we've been working on is conditioning. We've got seven guys going both ways, so we need to try and avoid wearing down at the end of the game," he added.

Grubbs said looking at the video of Presidio's opening games, "I thought their nose guard was a pretty good player, but they do have a lot of players going both ways. I don't think they have a whole lot on their varsity."

"Defensively they run a 50 (five-man front). They'll be the first odd front we've seen this year, so it will be a new challenge for us," he added.

Pecos' offense last week was mostly running back quarterback Freddy Torres. The junior gained 78 of the Eagles 122 total yards rushing, while completing only two passes on the night. One of those, to Jaime Herrera, set up Pecos' only score of the night, and followed a 33 yard run by Torres, who also took a pounding last week, but is OK for Friday, according to Grubbs.

He said running back Matthew Levario was OK after hurting his ankle on a kickoff return, though wide receiver John Parent may not play after suffering a hip pointer after getting hit trying to catch a pass over the middle. Both injuries came in the fourth quarter. "It will probably be a game-time situation for him," Grubbs said of Parent's status.

This is Pecos' first varsity trip to Presidio, after the Eagles won at home last season over the Blue Devils, 37-8. The Presidio High School football field is located on the southeast side of town, off Lajitas highway (RM 170).

Pecos teams facing OHS, Presidio, VH

Two of the Pecos Eagles four junior high school football games scheduled for today have been canceled and one other one has been moved up 30 minutes tonight, as part of a doubleheader at Eagle Stadium.

The Eagles' seventh and eighth grade purple teams were scheduled to host Presidio this afternoon, but coach Jose Gonzales said those games have been canceled. The only games for the junior highs today will be in Van Horn, where the gold teams are scheduled to face that group of Eagles at 4 and 5:30 p.m.

Pecos' freshmen will face Presidio's junior varsity starting at 6 p.m., instead of 6:30 p.m. as originally scheduled, while the Eagles' JV will take on Odessa High's JV, in a 7:30 p.m. start.

The JV and seventh graders will be seeking their first wins of the season, while the freshmen and eighth graders will be trying for their second straight wins.

The freshmen are 1-1-1 following their 40-0 win over Alpine last Thursday, while the eighth grade gold team evened their record at 1-1 by beating Crane, 8-0. Pecos' JV is 0-2-1 going into tonight's game with Odessa High, after a 23-20 loss at home to Alpine a week ago, and the seventh grade gold team was idle last week, after dropping their season opener two weeks ago at Fort Stockton.

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Pecos Enterprise
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