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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Thursday, September 12, 2002

Eagles face flight through Tornadoes

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Sept. 12, 2002 -- The Alpine Bucks won last year's District 4-3A football title. And  the Pecos Eagles defeated the Bucks handily, 35-10, in their 2002  season opener last week. But the Bucks graduated most of the key players  off their 2001 team. 

In contrast, the Lamesa Golden Tornadoes return most of their starters off last year's team, which tied for the District 3-3A title with two other teams, including the Greenwood Rangers, who the Eagles are expected to battle for the District 4-3A title this year, and advanced to the Region I-3A Division I title game.

So Friday night's home opener for Pecos should give the Eagles a better idea how they stand against some of the other Class 3A teams they'll either be battling for a playoff spot or battling in the playoffs, when they host the Tornadoes beginning at 7:30 p.m.

While Lamesa lost Greenwood from their district, the Tors added Snyder, Sweetwater and Merkel, to go along with Denver City, the other team to tie for first place last season, and Seminole, which is 2-0 so far in 2002. "Sweetwater and Snyder are going to be tough games and Merkel is 2-0. That's one of the reasons why we scheduled Pecos," the Tors' seventh-year head coach Tim James said. "It will be a good test for us. Hopefully it will get us prepared for district."

The Eagles racked up 331 yards on offense and held Alpine to only 133 in their victory last week, while Lamesa held Lubbock Cooper to only 162 yards in their opener a week ago, a 29-6 homefield victory. Brandon McCurley's 15-yard touchdown run late in the second period broke an 8-8 tie, and the Tors clinched the victory with two fourth quarter scores.

"They looked pretty good," said Eagles' coach Fred Carter. "They run something similar to us (on offense) with a lot of that split backfield."

McCurley ran for 115 yards and scored Lamesa's third touchdown of the night as well. "He had a great game last weekend. I understand he's a pretty tough runner," Carter said.

"Brandon did a real good job for us, and Bryan Nowlan did a great job running the offense," said James. McCurley was a starter last season, but not Lamesa's main running back, while Nowlan started a year ago, but on the other side of the ball, at defensive end.

"He didn't throw the ball that well last week (2-for-6, 74 yards), but he did a good job," James said.

"Their quarterback, McCurley and one big wide receiver (Kevin Miers) were their main threats. They have him listed at 6-6 on the program, and that's the one who concerns us, because we don't have anybody back there in the secondary anywhere near his height," said Carter. "We'll have to put a great pass rush on to get to him (Nowlan)."

Alpine got their only touchdown a week ago when 6-foot-3 receiver Ryan McWilliams outjumped an Eagle defender in the end zone for the ball. Pecos did allow 83 yards passing last week, but also got two second half interceptions, by Bobby Valenzuela and Jayson Hinojoz in the final period.

Defensively, Lamesa allowed Cooper only 33 yards rushing on 26 carries last Friday. "We came out and had a good game against Cooper. The defense really got to the football," James said.

Lamesa runs a 5-2 defense, and James cited the play by defensive tackle J.J. Koehler and linebacker Jordan Addison in last week's win over Lubbock.

Cooper was able to throw for 129 yards and their only touchdown a week ago, and Carter said, "I think we can throw on these guys, because their linebackers don't get back in coverage very fast."

Pecos had one touchdown pass a week ago, a 30-yard crossing pass from Freddy Torres to Matthew Levario, who the Eagles split out several times on offense against Alpine, as they did with tight end Joey Ortega on occasion.

Levario, who ran for over 1,000 yards last season, still ran for 56 yards and two touchdowns last week. But junior Oscar Parada had the big night running the ball, scoring twice in the first period and rushing for 136 of his 151 yards in the opening quarter. Parada started due to injuries suffered before the game by Levario and his projected backup, Bino Barreno.

"Bino's still on the injured list, and with Matthew we may look at him as a receiver," said Carter, which would put Parada in the backfield again on Friday, with Torres and fullback Will Armstrong.

While Parada and Levario accounted for all five of Pecos' scores last week, Alpine got all 10 of its points off the Eagles' problems with deep snaps. Two on punts resulted in safeties, and the Bucks' scored their touchdown following the free kick after the first safety.

Because of that, the Tors can be expected to come after punter Abel Lopez Friday night, and Carter said the Eagles have been working to correct that problem this week. "We're doing better with the punt snaps," he said, while adding that the deep snaps haven't yet gotten to the point where the Eagles will put a shotgun formation into their offense.

Friday's game begins a stretch of three home games in four weeks for Pecos. They'll face two other South Plains teams at home between now and Oct. 4, Brownfield for homecoming on Sept. 20, and Lubbock High to close out pre-district play two weeks later. In-between, the Eagles will go to Crane, and they play three of their four District 4-3A games on the road, due to the forfeit by Presidio of all their district football games this season, including the Oct. 18 home contest against Pecos.

Eagles cross-country team places third

There's probably nobody happier than Pecos Eagles cross country coach Rudy Juardo to get out of District 2-4A.

While travel was the biggest problem for the Eagles in several sports the past four years, for Pecos' cross country team, competing against the El Paso runners in 2-4A meant going up against some of the best runners in the state each fall, and the results weren't good for the Eagles, who sent only one runner to regionals in the past four seasons.

Now, with Pecos down one classification and a member of District 4-3A, Juardo is hoping for better results at district, and a shot at advancing to regionals, especially following this past weekend's cross country meet in San Angelo.

The Eagles placed third in the boys division, behind Del Rio and Abilene Wylie, one of the teams Pecos would see if they are able to advance to Region I-3A competition this fall. The Rams won with 38 points to 61 for the Bulldogs and 76 for the Eagles. District rival Fort Stockton was fourth, but well back, with 146 points.

"We could have finished in second place, but I didn't have one of my best runners, Gary Garcia," Juardo said. "I didn't know if he would be there, so I didn't enter his name. He would have beaten four or five of their (Wylie's) guys if he were running, so we would have gotten second instead of third. But I'm still very pleased."

Individually, Genaro Mendoza picked up a third place on the short course, finishing with a 6:07 time. Jason Sanchez was ninth with a 6:24 time and Justin Lara was 10th, one second behind. The boys' other finishers were Jay Dannelley, 26th and Alex Orosco 28th, both with 6:48 times; Joshua Cobos 30th with a 6:51 time; Jeremiah Mora 55th with a 7:24 time; Raul Garcia 58th with a time of 7:25; Stephen Lamb 73rd with a 7:56 time and Edgar Gabladon 89th with a time of 9:23.

Juardo said the Eagles also had eight girls compete in San Angelo, though they didn't fare as well as the boys, placing ninth overall with 269 points. Ballinger won with 28 points, followed by Wall with 35 and Wylie with 67.

Freshman Michelle Wein was the only Eagle to break the 10 minute mark, finishing 34th with an 8:18 time. She was followed by Cirene Fuentes, 88th with a 10:38 time; Christy Contreras, 91st with a 10:51 time; Samantha Armendariz, 93rd with an 11:24 time; Sara Wein, 94th with an 11:29 time; Olivia Marruffo, 96th with a 12:34 time; and Lupe Barragan, 97th, with a time of 12:35.

Juardo said Fort Stockton was the only other district team at the San Angelo meet. "We go to Big Spring next weekend, and hopefully we'll see the rest of the district, and that way it will give us an idea of where we're at," he said.

Sub-varsity grid teams face Lamesa, Monahans

The Pecos Eagles junior varsity and freshman football teams will play their first road games of the 2002 season this evening, when both squads travel to Lamesa for games against the Tornadoes.

The ninth graders, who split their first two games at home, will take on the Tors in a 5:30 p.m. game today in Lamesa, followed by the JV, which will try to improve to 2-0 when they face Lamesa, starting about 7:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Eagles' junior high gold teams will play their first home games of the season this afternoon, hosting Monahans at the Crockett Middle School fields at 4 and 5:30 p.m.

The freshmen were routed in their season opener two weeks ago by McCamey, then came back to shut out Crane last week by a 20-0 final score. Pecos' JV was idle two weeks ago, and opened their season last Thursday by defeating Alpine, 42-8.

The junior high gold teams were scheduled originally to start their 2002 seasons this week, but added games last Thursday against Alpine, and both the seventh and eighth graders ended up winning by 8-0 scores.

The junior high purple teams are idle this week. Both the purple and gold teams will be at home next Thursday, also against Monahans, in games scheduled at Eagle Stadium.

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Pecos Enterprise
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