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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Thursday, November 8, 2001

Youth football benefit Sunday to finance trips

A benefit hamburger sale will be held this Sunday in the Wal-Mart parking lot on South Cedar Street to help fund trips to tournaments for three Pecos Eagle Pee-Wee football league teams.

Michael Benavides said the burgers, chips and drink plates would be sold outside Wal-Mart beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sunday for $3.50 apiece, with the money going to offset the costs of the trips to the tournaments. He said the Cowboys and Vikings, who tied for first place in the fifth and sixth grade division this season, would be going to a tournament in Ft. Stockton, beginning on Nov. 17.

Also scheduled to compete in a tournament are the 3-4 grade division winners, the Colts. "We're not sure where they're going to play in a tournament yet. Maybe Odessa," Benavides said.

Bears, Eagles play for district title

The Balmorhea Bears will be trying to capture their first district football title in seven years on Friday, but they'll have to do it on the road in Sanderson against the undefeated Eagles, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Bears, 6-2 and winners of five straight games, will take on the 9-0 Eagles, who are trying to win their third straight District 8-A six man championship and are ranked No. 4 this week in the state six-man football poll

Balmorhea hasn't lost since falling to No. 10-ranked Trent (9-0) back in September, 48-24. Along with their loss to Trent, the Bears' only other defeat came at the hands on No. 1-ranked and 9-0 Whitharral, 50-17. Their current win streak started with a 46-33 victory on Sept. 28 against Sands, the team the loser of Friday's game will face in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

"The loser will play Sands. The winner I don't know," said Bears' coach Ennis Erickson. "Loop and Buena Vista play each other (Friday), and if Loop wins they're in, but if Buena Vista wins it will go down to a points system tie-breaker. Buena Vista can still win on Friday but not make the playoffs."

The Bears were idle this past Friday thanks to their forfeit victory over Sierra Blanca, while Sanderson was winning at Marathon, 66-18. Last season, the Eagles closed out District 8-A six-man play with a 58-34 win at Balmorhea.

"They're pretty much the same overall. In reality they've had some people changed from last year, but everything else is pretty much the same. They've got about the same quickness and the same size."

John Benavides has been the Eagles' top rusher this season, and Sanderson has been able to stick mostly to the running game in their victories.

The Bears, meanwhile, have had to go to the air at time this season, especially in the loss to Trent, when injuries and ejections left Balmorhea with no running backs. Since that time, the Bears have gotten several players back, and Erickson said, "In reality everybody's about as healthy as they've been in a while."

A win would give Balmorhea their first district title since 1994, when they advanced to the six-man state semifinals. "The kids are taking this seriously. They're ready for the challenge," Erickson said.

Eagles hope added size cuts down recent woes

Staff Writer

For the first time in a long time, the Pecos High School gym won't  be "The Land of the Smurfs" this basketball season.

The Pecos Eagles' boys basketball team has never been blessed with a lot of height over the years, even during the seasons they were posting winning records and competing for playoff berths. But the past few seasons the Eagles' situation has gone from bad to worse, to the point that the past two seasons the Eagles have often had no player taller than 6-foot-1 in the line-up to go up against district opponents will players 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-7 on their starting squads.

Combine that with a lack of consistent 3-point shooting the past few seasons, and the result was an Eagle team that has struggled to score points, and one that went 4-23 last year after a winless 1999-2000 season. Pecos' last trip to the playoffs was 11 years ago, while their last shot at a post-season trip was done in by _ what else? _ a lack of size against Big Spring back in 1995, when they lost out to the Steers and current Green Bay Packers tight end Daniel Franks in a third place playoff game.

This fall, the Eagles will have about half their team back from a year ago, while adding several players who are expected to give them a much taller front line than in recent seasons.

"We're blessed this year. We don't just have size when have athleticism, so we're real fortunate right now," said coach Tino Acosta, whose team opens its 2001-2002 season next Tuesday night in Monahans.

"Right now I've got six or seven varsity players available. We've got grades coming out and we've got the football playoffs, so it just kind of depends on how the scenarios play out," Acosta said, adding that the football playoffs next week have already forced one change in the Eagles' schedule, moving their Nov. 17 game at Fort Stockton to Nov. 18, at 11:30 and 1 p.m.

Pecos does have out last year's leading scorer during District 2-4A play, guard Ezra Varela, along with forward Justin Mora and guard Jaime Gomez, who Acosta brought up to the varsity late last season. He's also looking at forward Isaiah Armendariz, who played on San Angelo Central's junior varsity a year ago, while on the football team, forward Freddy Torres and post Joey Ortega were on the varsity last season, while post Justin Evans started last season for Fort Davis.

Overall, though, Acosta said he doesn't have a final varsity roster set up just yet. "We're still looking. We're kind of holding open tryouts right now as far as who's going to play varsity and who's going to play JV," he said.

On offense this year, Acosta said he would be borrowing a little bit from new Texas Tech head coach Bobby Knight. "We're going to go more to a motion look. … Fortunately, I was able to go up to Tech at the beginning of the year to talk to their coaches, who were real helpful in putting it in. Plus coach (Joe) Flores ran it in college and he's been real helpful in working on putting it in."

Varela ran the offense at time last season, and Acosta said, "Gomez has the potential to run it, and I've got some other football players with the potential to run it."

Defensively, Acosta said the Eagles would continue to run a man-to-man defense, along with half-court zone presses and full-court presses. "That's the heart and soul of our program," he said.

The Eagles will travel to Kermit on Saturday afternoon for a 3 p.m. scrimmage against the Yellowjackets, before going to Crane next Tuesday for their season opener. Pecos' home opener is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 19, against Presidio.

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