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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Thursday, October 18, 2001

Eagles look to stop more versatile Wildcats

Staff Writer
Going into the 2001 football season, if the Pecos Eagles had known they would have not one, but two rushers with more yardage than Fabens' Vicente Macias, the Eagles would probably be feeling pretty confident about their district home opener against the Wildcats.

That's the way things have turned out, but so far this season, Macias' slow start and then absence from Fabens' last two games hasn't done much to slow down the Wildcats, who'll bring a 5-0 record into Pecos on Friday to face the Eagles, in a 7:30 p.m. start

Macias led all class 4A rushers a year ago during the regular season with 2,154 yards and 26 touchdowns, but in three games this season ran for just 440 yards, less than both Eagles' halfback Matthew Levario and quarterback Freddy Torres. Most of Macias' yards came in the Wildcats' win over Deming, N.M., but while he's been ineligible for the last two games, Fabens still came up with a 63-0 win over Santa Teresa, N.M., and then beat Canutillo in their District 2-4A opener last Friday, 14-7.

"We've got four good backs, which makes it tougher for the other team," said Fabens' coach Ronnie Hernandez. "We're a little more versatile. We throw the ball better now, and we're a little more well-rounded team."

Macias was one of four players caught by grades three weeks ago. They could become eligible again in time for Friday's game, but Hernandez said, "We may not get them back, so we'll just have to go with what we've got."

"We're not preparing for their players, we're preparing for their system," said Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs. "Their personnel doesn't matter to us. We're preparing for their scheme."

Tury Cleto gained 152 yards and scored one touchdown last week while carrying the ball 36 times, nearly doubling the number of carries the junior had in the first four games of the season.

"He's picked up the load for us," Hernandez said. "He doesn't have the power Vicente does, but he's really quick and finds the hole, and catches the ball real well."

"Cleto's real quick and it's tough to get a good shot on him," said Grubbs, whose team held Clint to just 60 yards rushing in last week's 36-0 victory. It put the Eagles at 1-0 in district and 4-2 on the season.

Cleto ran for 37 yards last season and scored a touchdown in Fabens' 21-20 home loss to Pecos, a game in which Macias ran for 135 yards, but was held to just nine yards in the final period.

Quarterback Rigo Estrada also had a rough night, with three interceptions. Last week, Estrada had a touchdown pass to receiver Eric Garcia, his third of the season to go along with just three interceptions. Estrada had only four touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season.

"That really helps for us not to throw interceptions and we're not putting the ball on the ground. As long as we do that, we're all right," the Wildcats' coach said.

Estrada is also a running threat. "They run the bootleg and the waggle a lot. He's a great threat to run the ball, but he has thrown the football better this year," Grubbs said.

Hernandez said the biggest surprise so far for Fabens has been the team's offensive line. "When we had our first game against Tularosa, N.M., I thought `oh no.' We have only one senior in the line and the rest are juniors, but they went undefeated on the JV last year and are used to winning, and they've molded into a pretty good offensive line the last couple of weeks.

Hernandez said the one senior, 305-pound guard Albert Portillo, is still Fabens' best lineman. "He kind of looks like the same kind of player are (Tony) Trujillo is for Pecos. He's the anchor of the team," he said.

"Their line looked real aggressive, but I thought Canutillo did a good job after the first quarter. Fabens scored the first two times they had the ball, and then they shut them down after that," Grubbs said.

On defense, both Fabens and Pecos gave up a lot of yards in their first three regular season games, though the Wildcats avoided allowing the points the Eagles did in beating Tularosa, Deming and El Paso Parkland, the team that eliminated Pecos from the playoffs a year ago.

"We're basically a junior club there. We've only got three seniors on defense, and I knew it would take a little time for them to get together, but when it came time to buckle down we bent, but we didn't break," Hernandez said.

"They've got a couple of good looking linebackers," said Grubbs. "They did some good things on defense. Canutillo is a very large team, and their defense did a good job shutting them down."

Along with Cleto, who continues to start at cornerback, Hernandez said Garcia at linebacker has been his strongest player on defense. "He makes a whole lot of plays and has the quickness to cover the tight end or the backs out of the backfield."

Fabens held Canutillo to less than 100 yards rushing a week ago. Hernandez said left guard Omar Moreno has been the best player there so far. "He was one of the sophomores who was pulled up last year, and he's playing real, real well. He didn't play until the third ballgame because he had fractured his ankle, but he's been rehabbing real well."

Grubbs said the Eagles would get back two starters tonight, in fullback Oscar Parada and defensive end Sammy Gonzales, who missed last Friday's game at Clint. "Sammy's injury was probably the main one going into last week. He hyperextended his knee, but he should be able to play."

Friday's game is the only home game for Pecos in their first four district contests. They'll go to Canutillo and El Paso Mountain View the next two weeks, and then finish regular season play at home against San Elizario.

Eighth graders add McCamey to schedule

The Pecos Eagles have only one sub-varsity football game scheduled this week, as the Eagles' five other teams take Thursday off.

Pecos' eighth grade purple team will play at 6 p.m. tonight at home against the McCamey Badgers, in a game added to the Eagles' schedule. Meanwhile, Pecos' scheduled junior varsity game in McCamey tonight has been canceled, coach Brian Gibson said. Both the JV and freshmen teams already have played seven games this season, while the varsity squad will play their seventh game on Friday, against Fabens.

The eighth grade purple team played a split game with the Eagles' seventh grade purple squad this past Saturday, and beat a combined Van Horn team, 30-24. Tonight's game will be at Eagle Stadium, while Pecos' seventh grade squads are scheduled to play an intrasquad scrimmage this afternoon.

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