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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Thursday, September 5, 2002

Eagles look to reverse results against Bucks in opener

Staff Writer

The Union Pacific railroad runs just north of Jackson Field in  Alpine, but the Pecos Eagles could be forgiven for thinking the trains  were running right through the middle of the field last September.

The Bucks threw for over 150 yards in the first half and ran for over 150 in the second and finished with 439 total yards, while the Eagles ended up with almost as many penalty yards (97) as the had total yards on offense (122) by the end of Alpine's 35-7 victory.

The Bucks would go on to upend a few more people during the year and ended up as the surprise winners of the District 4-3A title, before falling to Kennedale in the third round of the Class 3A-Division II playoffs. This season, the Bucks (and last year's 4-3A runners-up, Crane) have dropped down to Class 2A, while the Eagles are dropping into Alpine's old district, and along with another newcomer, Greenwood, are expected to battle for the 4-3A title.

Greenwood has already come up with an impressive win in their season opener, and now it's the Eagles' turn to show how well they match up with the preseason predictions, as they take on the Bucks at Jackson Field on Friday night, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Pecos has lost two straight games to Alpine, losing two years ago in overtime at home, 6-0. But the Eagles will be facing a much different Buck team this time around, as most of the starters from those squads graduated this past May.

Alpine has a new coach in Brent Evans, and only three starters back on offense and two on defense from the 10-2 squad from a year ago. Their only regular season loss came the week following their win over Pecos, when they were beaten by Sonora, which was on its way to the Class 2A state finals.

This year the Bucks opened their season at Sonora last week, where they were shut out by the Broncos, 19-0. Alpine was held to only 170 total yards, while Sonora picked up 305, just under 200 of that on the ground.

"I wasn't very impressed with them, but Sonora is a very good ballclub," said Eagles' coach Fred Carter, who makes his head coaching debut with Friday's game.

"They lost most of their players from last year, but they run about the same thing as last year. They ran a lot of I-back right Friday night, and defensively they do the same thing as a year ago," Carter said, as Evans moved up from an assistant coach job under Greg Althof in 2001.

Eagles' assistant coach Brian Gibson said Jim Bob Steen and Mario Estrada split the quarterback duties a week ago. Steen also saw action at running back and wide receiver, while Casey O'Brient, one of last year's returning players, is Steen's main target at quarterback, and Henry Lara is the Bucks' main runner. Lara ran for 69 yards as a backup fullback in last year's win over Pecos.

The Eagles' lone score a year ago in Alpine came on a two-yard run by Matthew Levario, off a 33-yard scramble by quarterback Freddy Torres. Both those players are back, but both are coming off scrimmage injuries. Torres' was the more serious of the two, as he suffered a slight shoulder separation on Aug. 17 against El Paso Riverside, while Levario bruised his knee a week later against Fabens.

"Matthew will probably play his regular spots. Freddy will probably play sparingly, mainly a little on defense," said Carter. Jose Reyes, who started the Aug. 23 scrimmage against Fabens, would start in Torres' place at quarterback.

Steen is one of several two-way starters for the Bucks on defense, as is John Navarrette, the Bucks center who also was an all-district pick on the defensive line from last season. Emmanuel DelaRosa is Alpine's other returning lineman, and also was an all-district pick.

Carter was happy with the Eagles' workouts earlier this week leading up to Friday's game. "(Monday) we had a tremendous practice. I thought it was the best we've had so far. The kids we have on the team are eager to go and they go after it."

Alpine is the only team from year's pre-district football schedule that Pecos again is playing in the first half of the season. Four of last year's pre-district opponents _ Kermit, Presidio, Fort Stockton and Monahans _ are now part of the Eagles' Distirct 4-3A schedule, though the status of the Oct. 18 game against Presidio remains up in the air.

The Blue Devils have enough players for a team this year, but said they would only play a junior varsity schedule for all 10 weeks this season. However, the University Interscholastic League could overrule that action. Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Athletic Director Bubba Williams said the UIL would notify the district soon about their decision.

Presidio had only 14 players left at the end of their final pre-district game a year ago, a 62-8 loss to Pecos. The Blue Devils cancelled some of their district games after that due to a lack of players.

Pecos faces tough field at Seminole

The start of the Pecos Eagles' 2002 volleyball season is looking a lot like the start of the 2001 season, which isn't very good for coach Becky Granado.

The Eagles won only four of their first 15 matches a year ago before turning things around to make the playoffs for the sixth straight season. This year, the Eagles have started off by winning just two of their first 11 matches, and figure to have their toughest time yet coming up this Friday and Saturday, when they travel to the Seminole Invitational.

The Eagles will face Lamesa, Midland High and Andrews in their pool round matches, at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The top two finishers in the pool will advance to the championship bracket, while the two others will drop into the consolation quarterfinals Saturday morning.

"There aren't any easy matches," said Eagles' coach Becky Granado of the tournament, which comes after the Eagles dropped a pair of matches on Tuesday in Alpine, to the Bucks and Odessa High Bronchos.

"We missed a lot of serves against Odessa High. I think we missed about six serves, which is the most we have in any game this season," said Granado of the 15-9, 15-3 loss. The Eagles came back and won their opening game over Alpine, 18-16, but then were beaten by the Bucks 15-7, 15-6.

It was the second loss of the season by the Eagles to both teams. They haven't faced any of their pool round opponents yet this year, but Andrews comes in off a pair of wins Tuesday over Midland High and Snyder, while the Bulldogs also beat the Tigers to get a split of their Tuesday matches. Lamesa lost last week to Pecos' district rival Monahans, which swept the Eagles two weeks ago at the Sandhills Tournament.

Lamesa and Pecos are two of only five Class 3A teams in the tournament, along with the host Maidens, Monahans and Amarillo River Road. Seminole and River Road are in a bracket with Big Spring and Midland Lee, while Monahans is matched up with Odessa Permian, Amarillo Caprock, and Hereford. The other pool includes Pampa, Lubbock Estacado, San Angelo Lake View and Lubbock Coronado.

While the varsity is in Seminole this weekend, Pecos' junior varsity will be in tournament play at Midland. After this weekend, the Eagles' schedule gets easier, with matches at home next week against Van Horn and Marfa, followed by pre-district contests against District 4-3A rivals Ft. Stockton, Kermit and Presidio.

Jr. highs, JV open seasons, freshmen taking on Cranes

Regular season will open a day ahead of the varsity for Pecos' junior varsity and junior high football teams, as the seventh and eighth graders go to Alpine to face the Bucks, while the JV hosts Alpine this evening at Eagle Stadium.

Meanwhile, the freshmen, who got in their first game a week ago against McCamey's junior varsity, will also play today, but against Crane, in a 5 p.m. game at Eagle Stadium.

It's the first action against an outside opponent of any kind for the junior high players, while the JV players have already scrimmaged three teams, shutting out El Paso Riverside and Fabens JVs while losing to Fort Hancock's varsity.

The JV game will start about 7 p.m.,. after the completion of the freshman game, which is the second straight late addition to the schedule for the Eagles' ninth graders.

They'll try to do better than last week, when they were beaten by McCamey, 36-6. The ninth graders' lone touchdown came off a 22-yard run by Luis Nunez on the game's final play.

The ninth graders are facing Crane because Alpine does not have a freshman team. They also do not have junior high `B' squads, so today's seventh and eighth grade openers are only for the purple teams, at 4 and 5:30 p.m. The Eagles' junior high gold teams will play their season openers next Thursday against Monahans.

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Pecos Enterprise
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