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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, October 13, 2003

Sanderson pulls away from Balmohrea, 78-54

Staff Writer

The Balmorhea Bears gave the Sanderson Eagles a scare on Friday, but the Sanderson offense proved too much for the Bears to handle, as the second-ranked Eagles turned a 34-32 lead just before halftime into a 78-54 victory.

The Bears' offense kept up with the Eagles for most of the game, with short screen passes and strong running contributions by Urban Baeza and Robbie Mendoza. The Balmorhea defense just couldn't stop the well-disciplined running and passing attack of the Eagles.

Balmorhea had kept up well for a majority of the second half keeping within one touchdown until the Eagles started to pull ahead mid way through the second half.

Sanderson took possession on the Balmorhea 35 yard line, and on the first play of the drive threw a short pass to Eagles' Geo Estrada who then broke three tackles and ran the ball in for the score.

Balmorhea answered back to the score with one of their own on the next drive with a series consisting of a well-timed halfback pass to start it off with and followed up with a strong run from Robbie Mendoza, Brandon Mendoza and a surprise run by Robert Vasquez, the center, all for good gains. Robbie Mendoza would take the ball in for the score on the final play of the drive.

This drive and subsequent series by the Eagles would bring the Balmorhea crowd to its feet.

Sanderson took the touch back on the kickoff and lined up to answer the Balmorhea score. The Bear defense would prove to be the stronger of the two in this situation, however, holding the Eagles to one series of downs and forcing the punt.

The Bears took over on their own 32-yard line with 3:28 left in the half, after a bobbled catch on the return that would roll out of bounds.

Balmorhea posted short gains with quick handoffs to Robbie Mendoza and a short pass to Keith Baeza, but would punch it in on a pass from Keith Baeza to Urban Baeza after some good running after the catch along the weak side.

This would tie the game at 34-34, but the point after was blocked foreshadowing many-missed point after to come.

The Bears kicked off, and Sanderson returned the ball for 30 yards to the Balmorhea 35. Two strong runs by the Eagles later, the bears would have a personal foul called against them for a late hit, putting the Eagles nine yards away form the goal line with four downs to use to get there.

It would only take one; however, as the Eagles would score on the very next play using a counter to the strong side that sucked the defensive ends in enough to allow the Eagles to slip into the end zone for the score. Sanderson would follow that up with a good point after bringing the score to 42-34 Eagles, with 1:26 left in the half.

The Bears would try to score once more before the end of the half but would fall short as the Sanderson defense held its ground against Balmorhea's attack.

The Eagles received the kickoff to begin the second half, and on their first play from scrimmage, Sanderson ran the ball into the end zone on the same counter play that had worked so well for them in the first and second quarters.

The point after was good, bringing the score to 50-34 Eagles, after burning only 11 seconds off of the clock in the second half.

Sanderson then kicked an onsides kick and after a bobble by Balmorhea, the Eagles would get possession back at the Bears' 20-yard line.

However, Sanderson would end up giving the ball back on downs following a strong defensive showing by Balmorhea, featuring tackles by Levon Barragon and Alexis Lozano and a sack for a 13-yard loss by Urban Baeza, that would leave the Eagles facing 4th down and 20 yards to go. Balmorhea would stuff the next play and take over at their own 23.

The next play Robbie Mendoza ran up the middle on a handoff, break two tackles, and run for 58-yards for the touchdown. On the point after attempt the snap went high and the Bears missed another scoring opportunity.

The ensuing kickoff would give the Eagles good field position, with the offense starting three yards short of the mid-field line. Sanderson would begin the series strong on the counter that had worked so well for them earlier, gaining a net of 20 on the first play.

Two plays later, would run the ball in for another score and with the extra point, extended their lead to 18 with 6:38 left in the third quarter.

Sanderson would continue to onside their kickoffs, but Balmorhea was ready this time and Robert Vasquez would recover the bouncing football.

The Bears took over on their own 32, and following two strong runs by Barry Bordayo and Brandon Mendoza, the Bears found themselves on the Sanderson 26 yard line. The Bears would stumble for a couple of plays, but using the counter that had been executed so well against them, Balmorhea drove the ball into the end zone with 3:54 left in the third quarter.

The Eagles took over on the Balmorhea 20, following a long return on the Bears' kickoff. It would take Sanderson just over a minute and a half to return their lead to 18 on a long pass to for the score.

Balmorhea would get the ball back on their own 35-yard line, following another onsides kick by the Eagles. The Bears would drive for eight plays down the field, twice getting slowed down by penalties, but finally #2 Keith Baeza would find #20 Robbie Mendoza wide open in the end zone after dodging two attempted sacks. The point after was missed, but the Eagle Lead was cut to 12 points none-the-less.

The Bears kicked deep into Eagle territory, but the returning back broke two open-field tackle to take the ball to the 25- yard line. Four plays later, the Eagles had little going when Keith Baeza stepped in front of a Sanderson pass and ran the ball back to the Eagle 20.

This left the Bears trailing by 12 with 7:30 left in the fourth quarter and good field position. Balmorhea would fail to produce any large gains on the drive and ended up turning the ball over on downs after one series.

Sanderson took over on their own 33, and three plays later scored again on a long pass to Eric Bilano by Ty Means for the Eagles.

The Bears held their ground offensively against the Eagles, the only problem occurred when Balmorhea's defensive ends failed to keep their outside responsibility and let the counters plays gain much yardage over and over.

Sanderson improved their record to 7-0 on the season and 3-0 in district The Bears are 4-2 and 1-1 and face off against Dell City next Friday, in their third game of district play.

Eagles sweep Jackets despite slow finish

After a pair of quick wins in their first two games on Saturday against the Kermit Yellowjackets, the Pecos Eagles had to struggle some in Game 3 before beating Kermit and completing a sweep of their second half District 4-3A volleyball opener.

Pecos jumped ahead of Kermit early in the first two games and won by 25-15 and 25-13 scores, then had to come back from 7-2 and 23-21 deficits in Game 3 to beat the Jackets, 25-23, and open up a two game lead for second place in the district standings.

"In the third game we let up. We played in the first and second games, then in the third we weren't doing anything on offense or defense," said Eagles' coach Becky Granado. "It wasn't like they were hitting the ball. We were just having a hard time passing."

The Eagles had a tougher time overall against the Jackets in their first meeting in district, last month in Pecos. But that was before Kermit lost 6-foot senior hitter Amber Broadway, who quit the team a few days later.

"Amber was his (coach Eddie Knight's) offense. Once she quit they really don't have much offense," Granado said.

Meanwhile, Granado said junior Danielle Garcia had a good game for Pecos, leading the Eagles with 16 kills. "Leslie (Rodriguez) didn't have a good game, but she still ended up with 10 kills and Stephanie (Herrera) had seven," Granado said. "They gave us a lot of free balls and we took advantage in the first and second games."

In the third game, Pecos would rally from their 7-2 deficit to go ahead by a 13-9 score, only to see Kermit later come back and take an 18-17 lead. The Jackets would later lead 23-21, before Pecos broke serve and then scored three more points to end the match, the last two on balls hit into the net by Kermit.

"I don't know if we were overconfident, but we didn't get out there with much intensity," said Granado. "In the third game we started hitting it into their one-man block. They only had one girl up at the net and she still managed to block a couple of our hits."

The victory improved Pecos' record to 5-1 in district play and 13-14 overall, while Kermit falls to 0-6 and 8-13. The win, coupled with Monahans' victory over Greenwood and Fort Stockton's win over Presidio, keeps the Eagles a game behind the Loboes and puts them two games ahead of the Prowlers and Rangerettes, going into their Tuesday home game against Presidio.

Pecos also won Saturday's freshman match, 25-16, 11-25, 25-13, and took the junior varisty contest, 25-21, 11-25, 25-9. Granado said the starting times for Tuesday's JV and freshman matches have been moved up to 4:30 p.m. and the varsity match to 5:30 in to allow Presidio to return home earlier on a school night.

Second half turnovers cost Eagles in loss

Staff Writer

The third time was not the charm for the Pecos Eagles Friday night, in their District 4-3A football opener against the Kermit Yellowjackets.

In each of their previous two home games, the Eagles' defense had set the offense up in their opponent's end of the field thanks to a turnover in the fourth quarter, giving Pecos a chance to either tie or take the lead in the game. And in both cases, the offense was unable to come through.

It happened again on Friday, as Booker Fobbs stripped running back Gabby Saucedo and Victor Reyes recovered the ball at Kermit 30-yard-line early in the final period. But after an option run by Oscar Parada got the ball down to the Yellowjackets' 11-yard-line, center Adam Ybarra and quarterback Saul Pina mishandled the snap on the next play, and the Jackets' Manuel Valles recovered the ball.

Kermit would use an interference call to get out from under their own goalposts and in the closing minutes of the game, the Jackets were the ones to convert a turnover deep in Pecos' end of the field into a touchdown. Landon Forga went over on a quarterback sneak with 2:55 to play to help Kermit clinch a 14-6 win at Eagle Stadium.

"The center said he just didn't get the snap up," said Eagles' coach Patrick Willis, whose team turned the ball over five times in the second half, following a one-hour delay after halftime homecoming ceremonies due to rain and lightning. "We had our chances, but we've just got to take advantage of our opportunities."

Kermit's Michael Akins ran 80 yards for a touchdown late in the first period to give Kermit the lead, then broke through on a 27-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up Forga's touchdown. Akins, who was subbing for Randy Butterfield, who missed Friday's game, ended up with 153 yards on 18 carries.

Meanwhile, Parada, who missed the previous week's game at Lubbock High, got his first-ever playing time at quarterback for Pecos and led the Eagles to what turned out to be their only touchdown of the night on the game's opening drive. That included a 44-yard run that set up Rashad Terry's 3-yard run around left end for the score.

"We're trying to get some more offense and trying to run the ball more," Willis said about the change. "When you've got a running quarterback it makes a difference in this offense. Up to this point we've only got one running back in the backfield for them to worry about. When we've got Oscar back there, then they've got him to worry about."

Parada would alternate at quarterback with Saul Pina, and Jose Reyes even played one series for Pecos in the second half at quarterback. They attempted 16 passes, while Parada did not throw a pass and attempted just one that he never got off. That allowed Kermit to adjust their defense for the Eagles' "running" and "passing" quarterbacks after being surprised on the opening series, holding Pecos to just 113 yards in offense following the touchdown drive.

Alex Orosco's extra point after Terry's TD was blocked, but the Eagles' defense then stopped Kermit on its opening possession and forced a short punt by Lupe Munoz that set the Eagles up near midfield. This time, the Eagles came out with Pina at quarterback, and while he hooked up with Jaime Muela for one completion, he was also sacked for a 3-yard loss on the series, and the Eagles had to give up the ball. Two plays after Eddie's Vela's punt, Akins found a hole on the right side and went 80 yards for the score, and Eron Saenz' extra point put Kermit ahead to stay.

Parada would have one more big run in the first half, which didn't set up a score, but got the Eagles out of a hole deep in their own end of the field, after a Munoz punt was downed at the 1-yard-line. But Pecos wouldn't threaten again until the fourth period, while Pecos' defense had to stop Kermit from scoring a couple of times before then.

The first came just before halftime, after Kermit used a 26-yard run by Akins and hook-and-ladder play by Munoz and Saucedo to get a first down inside Pecos' 20. But on the next play Akins fumbled, with Adrian Barreno recovering for the Eagles at their own 17-yard line.

The next two stops came after Pecos turnovers in the third period. Parada would muff a punt at the 40 that the Jackets recovered, but a deep pass by Forga to Munoz was intercepted by Muela at the 5-yard-line. Five plays later, it would be Munoz stepping in front of a pass meant for Gabriel Gonzales and intercepting it at the Eagles' 20-yard-line. This time, Akins was held to no gain on two runs, and after a procedure call, Fobbs sacked Forga for an 11-yard loss, forcing a punt.

"I was really pleased with our defense in the second half. They did a great job," Willis said. Kermit ended up with 221 yards in offense for the game, but only 43 yards in the final two periods.

Aside from the fumbled snap at the 11-yard line, the Eagles missed one other chance to take the lead in the fourth period, when John Parent couldn't hold onto a deep pass from Pina after he had gotten behind the Kermit defense at the 10-yard-line on the series prior to the fumble.

Forga's score was set up by a bad option pitch from Parada to Terry that Brady Widner recovered at the Pecos 33. It was the second attempt at running the option by the Eagles, the first resulting in a 19-yard gain for Terry.

"I shouldn't have called it, but we were facing third and long, and I thought they were going to try and eat us up, and I could catch them," Willis said. The bad pitch out kept Parada from having a 100-yard rushing night, as he finished with 14 carries for 93 yards.

Even after Forga's touchdown, Pecos still had just under three minutes to come back and score a touchdown and get a two-point conversion to tie the game. But Terry couldn't hold onto a deep pass from Pina and then Munoz came up with his second interception of the game, taking a pass meant for Parada and returning it to the Pecos 16-yard-line. Kermit was able to get a first down at the Eagles' 5 three plays after that, and then ran out the clock.

Kermit improved to 5-2 with the victory, while Pecos fell to 3-4 and at 0-1 are surprisingly tied with Greenwood, which was upset by Monahans on Friday, 35-34. The Rangers, who came into that game ranked sixth in Class 3A, host Kermit on Friday, while Pecos takes the week off, before hosting the Loboes in their next game, on Oct. 24.

At Pecos

Kermit 7 0 0 7 - 14

Pecos 6 0 0 0 - 6

First Quarter

Pec. - Terry 3 run (kick failed), 3:55

Ker. - Akins 80 run (Saenz kick), 8:59.

Fourth Quarter

Ker. - Forga 1 run (Saenz kick), 9:05.

Ker Pec

First Downs 10 8

Rushes-Yds. 36-175 29-116

Passing Yds. 49 61

Passes 4-8-1 8-17-2

Punts-Avg. 6-35.8 5-28.3

Fumbles-Lost 2-2 6-3

Penalties-Yds. 7-70 3-29


RUSHING - Kermit, Akins 18-153, Saucedo 8-37, Hardaway 1-2, Bennett 1-0, Forga 8-(-7). Pecos, Parada 14-93, Terry 6-49, Fobbs 3-3, Pina 7-(-26).

PASSING - Kermit, Forga 4-8-1-46. Pecos, Pina 8-16-2-61, Reyes 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING - Kermit, Akins 1-15, Hardaway 1-9, Evans 1-9, Munoz 1-5, Saucedo 0-8. Pecos, Parada 2-45, Muela 4-9, Pendelton 1-8, Parent 1-0.


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Pecos Enterprise
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