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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Monday, November 5, 2001

Eagles hurt by Amaya, Lobos in first district defeat

Staff Writer
Joey Amaya hurt the Pecos Eagles. Now the Eagles have to hope they didn't hurt Amaya badly enough for him to not hurt the Fabens Wildcats this coming Friday night.

With the exception of a few minutes of the second quarter, Amaya and the El Paso Mountain View Lobos dominated the Eagles this past Friday night in El Paso, with Amaya running for 221 yards and three touchdowns, as the Lobos took sole possession of first place in the District 2-4A standings with a 23-6 victory.

But just before Amaya's final touchdown, on a three-yard run late in the third quarter, the sophomore suffered a sprained ankle trying to cut at the line of scrimmage. It one play after a 58-yard run which put him over the 200-yard mark and over 1,500 yards rushing for the season, and while he was able to go back into the game three more times, he ended up with his ankle wrapped in ice during the latter half of the fourth quarter, as the Lobos' defense went to work securing their team's seventh victory in eight games.

"They put us in a hole where we had to do stuff that was not our strong suit," said Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs, as Mountain View intercepted quarterback Freddy Torres four times in the second half, after the Lobos had taken a 13-6 halftime lead. The Eagles' quarterback ended up throwing for exactly 100 yards, including a diving 28-yard touchdown catch by Matthew Levario in the back of the end zone midway through the second period, but was under pressure from the Mountain View pass rush most of the night, while the Eagles' running game only had a few bright spots in managing just 104 yards total on Friday.

Amaya had more than that by halftime, but how his ankle is this Friday may mean as much to Pecos as how they do in their final regular season game at home against San Elizario. The Eagles clinched a playoff spot even with their loss, when Fabens defeated Clint, 42-28, and could still end up in a three-way tie for first if they beat San Eli and the Wildcats win over Mountain View. But that would also force a coin-flip for seeding in the playoffs, Grubbs said, and Pecos could end up having to make another trip to El Paso on Nov. 16 to face El Paso Riverside, instead of staying home that night to host El Paso Burges or El Paso Parkland.

Whichever team the Eagles face, they'll have to play far better than they did on Friday. From the opening play on offense _ a bad pitch by Torres to Levario for a four-yard loss _ not much went right for Pecos, while on the other side, things went so well for Mountain View that their junior varsity call-up, sophomore kicker Ricardo Grajeda, booted a 40-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half, which gave Mountain View a 16-6 lead and forced Pecos to start throwing the ball more, leading to the four interceptions.

Also hurting Pecos was senior Daniel Hernandez. After the Eagles' first drive stalled, he returned an Abel Lopez punt 28 yards to the Pecos 31-yard-line. Amaya then carried the ball four straight times for 22 yards, setting up a 1st-and-goal at the 10, and then on 4th-and-goal from the 1 just barely got into the end zone, with the side judge signaling a delayed touchdown call.

The Eagles and the officials would have more problems in the second period, when Pecos decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 from their own 21. Torres appeared to make it on a quarterback sneak, but the official then nullified the play, saying Mountain View had called time out, and when play resumed, Torres fumbled the ball back to the 18, which gave the Lobos back the ball and set up Amaya's second score a few moments later.

"You can't call time out when the ball is snapped," Grubbs said. "He told me their middle linebacker called time-out, but no one on the field did. Their coach called it from the sidelines, but that's the way it was.

"On the fumble on the snap we were running a hard count and trying to draw them offside and had one of their players jump between the tackle and the guard. It was clearly offside, but it wasn't called and that hurt us," he said.

Mountain View also ran some strange multiple-motion plays, with two and sometime three players moving just before the snap that seemed to be illegal motion violations, but which also weren't called. One of the plays came just after the turnover on a run by Amaya that helped set up the score, while the other plays came on the Lobos' final TD drive, following Hernandez' interception of a Torres pass in the third period.

Pecos' lone scoring drive covered 66 yards and took less than 90 seconds after the Lobos' second score. Along with Levario's diving TD catch, the big play was his 34-yard run, as he was just tripped up by Hernandez to prevent a touchdown.

Aside from their two scores, the Lobos missed two other scoring chances in the first half. Gilbert Lopez dropped a first down pass from quarterback Eddie Gonzalez after a short punt by Abel Lopez gave Mountain View the ball at the Pecos 44 as the first period ended, and later Richard Rodriguez would intercept a Gonzalez pass at the Eagles' 17-yard-line late in the second period.

But both times, the Eagles' offense was not able to do anything to change the momentum of the game, while the defense had its own problems with missed tackles, both on Amaya and on fullback Sergio Vasquez, who broke two tackles on a 10-yard run in the third period that set up the Lobos' last touchdown.

"We just didn't execute well enough to win," said Grubbs. "We broke down in all three areas _ offense, defense and special teams, and like I've talked about before, if you do those three things good you win and if you don't do them well, you don't."

The loss leaves Pecos with a 6-3 record and a 3-1-district mark going into their game this Friday against San Elizario, which is 0-4 and 0-8 after their 48-6 loss this past Friday to Canutillo. Mountain View has now won nine straight district games over the past two seasons, and is 4-0 in 2-4A play going to Fabens this Friday.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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