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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Pecos shows improvement despite losses

In a season that hasn't had many bright spots so far, Pecos Eagles' coach Becky Granado had a few positive things to look at, following this past weekend's Seminole Invitational Tournament and is hoping to see more tonight, when the Eagles travel to Van Horn for matches against that group of Eagles and the Dell City Cougars.

The Eagles didn't win a match at Seminole, but showed some progress after a week of problems beginning at their own Cantaloupe Classic the previous Saturday. The Eagles split their pool round matches against the host Maidens, after being swept by Seminole at home six days earlier, and then on Saturday were beaten by Monahans, 15-17, 15-11, 15-3, after being shut out by the Loboes two weeks ago.

"I felt that we should have beaten them. We had them down at one point 11-9," Granado said, referring to the second game of their match against the Loboes. The Eagles had rallied from a 7-4 deficit to take the lead, but then saw Monahans score the final six points to get the win, then put up eight points in a row in the deciding game after Pecos had taken an early 2-0 lead.

"We lost focus and just quit playing," Granado said, though overall she was happier with this weekend's results than the way Pecos finished up their own tournament. They won their first match against Seminole, 15-11 (11-7), then lost the second game 15-5 (11-2) against eventual tournament champion Hereford, 15-4, 15-7 (11-0, 11-3). Granado said the Eagles didn't play their third pool round match, against Amarillo River Road, because their team bus was involved in a minor accident on the way to Seminole.

"Overall, as far as our play, I think the kids are starting to understand what they need to do on defense. I was also very proud of them not being intimidated by Hereford," said Granado. "Their big girl (Michelle Bernhardt) had a couple of hits we actually picked up. I think my girls were kind of surprised they could do that, and it gave them a little confidence.

"Against Monahans we hustled and our passing is getting a lot better, but we still lose focus and we're still not hitting the ball much," she added. The loss to the Loboes left Pecos at 3-13 going into this evening's matches at Van Horn.

Hereford ended up beating Andrews for the tournament title, 15-1, 15-4, after defeating Midland High by the same score in the tournament semifinals.

Meanwhile, for the second time in three weeks Pecos' junior varsity ended up in the consolation bracket of a tournament after tying for first place in pool round play at the Midland JV Tournament.

The JV swept Sterling City, 15-6, 15-4, then split with Lubbock Coronado, 15-13, 6-15, and Snyder, 13-15, 15-12, but lost a three-way tiebreaker for the two spots in the championship round. The ended up finishing 11th in the tournament, beating San Angelo Lake View, 15-6, 15-9, then losing to Andrews, 15-2, 15-5 before defeating Midland Greenwood on Saturday, 12-15, 15-10, 15-8.

The JV will also play in Van Horn tonight, while Pecos' freshman team is idle.

Eagles' late TDs down Jackets

Staff Writer
If you've never made the trip out west to an El Paso-area football game, you got a taste of what it's like on Friday in Pecos _ no lead is safe, no kickoff is ordinary and no referee's flag stays in his pocket for a very long time.

All three of those things came into play in the final minutes of Friday's season-opening football game between the Eagles and the Kermit Yellowjackets, and after losing three games in overtime last year due to the pass, Pecos went to their air Friday night in the closing minutes of their game to pull out a 25-24 victory over Kermit.

"It was our turn. It was about time we got a little luck," said Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs, whose team moved the ball most of the night, but never led until the closing seconds and had to covert a pair of key fourth down pass plays to get the victory.

The Eagles _ who get to play at least a couple of games like this each year during the District 2-4A portion of their schedule _ were down 14-0 in the second quarter and trailed by 11 points going into the fourth quarter, 24-13, when Freddy Torres bobbled a fourth down snap, recovered and shot putted a six-yard touchdown pass to Mason Abila with 7:29 to play. Then, after getting the ball back at their own 15 yard line with 2:22 to play, Torres found Matthew Levario for a 17-yard completion on 4th-and-7 from the Eagle 18, and after running for a couple of first downs saw the officials hit Kermit with its 14th penalty of the night, a 15-yard pass interference call on a pass to Ricky Plummer.

Levario then ran for the final 10 of his 189 yards on the night, and two plays later Torres threw a fade pass to Jason Gonzales, who caught it near the right corner of the end zone for a 17-yard score, giving the Eagles the lead with 42.4 seconds to play.

"That was a pretty throw by Freddy on fourth down and a pretty catch by Matthew, because they had him covered," Grubbs said, while adding that the earlier touchdown after the fumbled snap, "was the designed play. We ran the waggle and it was the correct play Freddy was supposed to run. He just mishandled the snap."

Even after the go-ahead score, Pecos fans still had one more scare coming when kicker Roger Gutierrez attempted what appeared to be an onsides kick, which Kermit's Eron Saenz recovered at midfield. Unlike Torres' TD throw to Abila, Grubbs said that was not the designed play.

"It wasn't supposed to be an onsides kick. It was supposed to be a squib kick, but he just missed it," the Eagles' coach said. Gutierrez had partially whiffed on the kickoff after Pecos' first touchdown, and the Eagles almost recovered that before it was knocked out of bounds at the 40.

After Saenz' recovery, Kermit's Jason Jones, who already had kicked a 27-yard field goal in the game, then hit Wade Henderson for an eight-yard gain down to the 42. However, the Jackets were out of time-outs, and after Jones bobbled the next snap and then threw incomplete to Henderson, there were only 11.1 seconds to play. Another sideline pass to Brandon Combs was knocked away by Richard Rodriguez, and the senior then overthrew his receivers on a "Hail Mary" pass into the end zone as the clock ran out.

Gutierrez wasn't the only one having kickoff problems. After Kermit's first touchdown, a 42-yard run by Erbey Saucedo, Jones booted the kickoff out of bounds, then whiffed completely on his second attempt, kicking up a divot and slightly injuring his knee in the process. The miss gave Pecos fans a laugh, but Kermit's fans were the ones cheering moments later, after Jones' third kickoff was fielded by Roy Jimenez at the Pecos 20-yard-line.

Jimenez brought the ball 20 yards up field where he was grabbed by two Kermit tacklers, which allowed Saenz to come in and strip the ball out of his hands and rumble 40 yards the other way for the score and a two-touchdown lead. Kermit's first score came after a 94-yard march following a Levario fumble, in which the Jackets converted three times on third down situations, including Saucedo's TD run on a 3rd-and-10 play.

Down by 14, Pecos went on a nine-play 60-yard drive for their first score, overcoming a holding call at the Kermit 4 yard line to score two plays later on a Levario run. But the Jackets then went on their own 60-yard touchdown drive in just over two minutes, converting a 4th-and-7 from the Pecos 31 with a pass from Jones to Brandon Combs, followed by a late hit call against Pecos and a 7-yard TD run by Randy Butterfield.

"They hurt us running the ball," said Grubbs, whose team gave up 212 yards in offense in the first half, but only 101 in the final two periods. "We didn't tackle our best which hurt us, but as the game went on I think we tackled better."

Up 21-7, Kermit had a chance to add to their lead in the third period, after J.R. Hernandez recovered a bad pitch out from Torres to Abila at the Eagles' 41-yard-line. Jones immediately hooked up with Combs again, this time on a 14-yard pass, but he fumbled the ball and Richard Rodriguez recovered it at the Pecos 32. The Eagles then went back to the ground game and went on an eight-play scoring drive, helped by a Kermit personal foul call, one of 14 penalties on the night by the Jackets. Levario again went in over the left side from six yards out, but the Eagles were then hit with two motion calls on the extra point, and Levario's eventual kick from 30 yards out hit the right upright.

Pecos then paid back Kermit with a 15-yard personal foul call of their own after stopping Kermit on third down. That gave the Jackets new life, and they marched down to the Eagles' 10 before their own penalty helped halt the drive. But Jones kicked a 27-yard field goal to make it 24-13 with 1:22 left in the third period.

Another motion call with 2:29 to play came on a 4th-and-6 play from the Eagles' 33 yard line, and led coach Glen Jones to decide on a punt instead of attempting another fourth down conversion. The strategy seemed to work when his son kicked the ball out of bounds at the 15 and Torres missed his next two passes, around a three-yard gain by Levario. But the fourth down completion turned the momentum around, and Levario's last run would come on another long-yardage situation, with Pecos facing 3rd-and-10 from the Kermit 27.

The win was the third straight for Pecos over Kermit to open the season, and gives the Eagles a 1-0 mark going into this Friday's home game against Fort Stockton. The Panthers were one of the teams Pecos lost to in overtime last year, and the game will be their 2001 season opener.

Three of Pecos' four other District 2-4A rivals also won their season openers on Friday, while the one team that lost, San Elizario, saw their home game against El Paso Parkland cut short by a severe lightning storm in the third period.

Parkland, which ousted Pecos from the Class 4A playoffs a year ago, downed San Eli, 33-8, while defending 2-4A champ El Paso Mountain View routed El Paso Cathedral, 33-7, Canutillo did the same to Santa Teresa, N.M., winning 44-8, and Fabens rallied in the second half to down Tularosa, N.M., 29-12. Clint was idle, and will start its season this Friday against Anthony.

Bears stampede Longhorns in season-opening

The Balmorhea Bears got their running game going Friday night and completely shut down the Buena Vista Longhorns passing attack, as the Bears opened the 2001 football season with a 46-0 victory at Imperial.

Coach Ennis Erickson said Balmorhea took an 18-0 lead after one period, led by a 32-0 score at the half and then ended the game in the fourth quarter under the 45-point rule, after they were held scoreless by the Longhorns in the third period.

Robbie Mendoza and Urban Baeza each had a pair of rushing touchdowns, while Adriel Ramon and Barry Bordayo also had TD runs. Arturo Rodriguez caught a touchdown pass from Ivan Rodriguez, but Erickson said the Bears stayed mainly on the ground during the game.

"I know we had 401 yards offense and had 370 of that on the ground," he said.

"We didn't get any touchdowns off turnovers but we recovered two fumbles and got three interceptions," Erickson said, adding that, "We held them to 84 yards offense, all on the ground. They did not complete a pass, at least, they didn't complete one to themselves."

The season-opening win sets the Bears up for their home opener this coming Friday night against Whitharral, the No. 2-ranked team in six-man football according to the pre-season polls. The Bears beat Whitharral two years ago on a touchdown and conversion on the final play of the game, but were blanked by the Panthers a year ago in Whitharral, 45-0.

The Panthers opened their 2001 season on Friday night with a 52-7 victory over Happy.

In other District 8-A six man games on Friday, defending district champion Sanderson defeated Grandfalls, 54-0, Dell City lost to Roswell-Gateway, 54-12, and Marathon won a non-district game against 8-A rival Sierra Blanca by forfeit, 2-0, when the Vaqueros were unable to field enough players for a team.

Grandfalls also is short on players this year, and Erickson said because of that, the Bears would send their junior varsity up against the Cowboys on the date of their scheduled varsity match-up, Sept. 28 in Grandfalls. On Saturday, Sept. 29, Erickson said Balmorhea will travel to Lamesa Klondike for a 5:30 p.m. game against the Trent Gorillas, one of two neutral site games Balmorhea will play in Klondike this season.

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Pecos Enterprise
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