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Van Horn Advocate
Playing at home, the Eagles and Fort Stockton Panthers tied at 10-10, with the Eagles winning the tie-breaker by taking 170 games in the 20 matches, to 163 for the Panthers.
"Yesterday was just a great comeback from Tuesday," said Eagles' coach Bernadette Ornelas, after the Bronchos blanked Pecos in their home opener.
On Thursday, the Eagles won five of nine matches on the boys' side, while the Panthers took six of the 11 girls matches.
"The kids were playing consistently. They were really working hard. From a coaching standpoint, I've never been so delighted," Ornelas said.
Top seeds on the boys side Jonathan Fuentes, Mark Marquez and Tye Graham won both their singles and doubles matches Thursday. Fuentes and Marquez teamed up to beat Chris Yarborough and P.J. Haney, 9-7, while Fuentes downed Luke Epps, 6-2, 6-0, and Marquez beat Haney, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. Graham downed John Burgess, 6-3, 6-0, and teamed with Jeff Lam to beat Burgess and Benny Cordova, 6-1, 6-0.
On the girls' side, Erin Dominguez was the lone dual winner, beating Diana Falcon, 6-2, 6-2, and teaming with Rachel Pharoah to beat Kristina Cantu and Kristy Lawson, 10-8.
The match was the second of four straight at home for Pecos. They'll host Monahans on Tuesday, then open District 4-4A play on Sept. 13 against Andrews. The Eagles will close their district season at home in a rematch against the Panthers in October. "It will be pretty evenly matched, but I think we'll come out ahead then," Ornelas said.
Fort Stockton (10-163) at Pecos (10-170)
Jonathan Fuentes defeated Luke Epps, 6-2, 6-0; Mark Marquez defeated P.J. Haney, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6; Tye Graham defeated John Burgess, 6-3, 6-0; Jeff Lam lost to Chris Yarborough, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3; Allen Fleming lost to Benny Cordova, 6-3, 6-0; David Lam lost to Scooter Hanley, 6-3, 6-0.
Randa Taylor lost to Nicole Holguin, 6-0, 6-4; Teresa Minjarez lost to Alyna Marquez, 6-2, (6-3), 6-2; Nichi Dannelley defeated Pam Tavarez, 6-2, 6-2; Erin Dominguez defeated Diana Falcon, 6-2, 6-2; Vanessa Miranda defeated Kristina Cantu, 9-7, 6-0; Rachel Pharoah lost to Kristi Lawson, 7-5, 6-2.
Fuentes and Marquez defeated Yarborough and Haney, 9-7; J. Lam and Graham defeated Burgess and Cordova, 6-1, 6-0; D. Lam and Fleming lost to Hanley and Cantu, 9-7.
Taylor and Dannelley lost to Holguin and Marquez, 8-6; Minjarez and Miranda lost to Tavarez and Falcon, 9-7; Dominguez and Pharoah defeated Cantu and Lawson, 10-8; Salem Mitchell and Lorie Minjarez defeated Amby Fuentes and Miranda Gonzales, 8-3; Tiffany Jarrett and Sarah Metler lost to Sarah Casas and Naomi Garcia, 8-2.
The freshman began scrimmage play by having trouble tackling the Crane Golden Cranes, and after a scrimmage shutout of Greenwood last week, ran into the same problem on Thursday night, in their season opener against Lamesa.
The Eagles allowed the Golden Tornadoes to score three touchdowns off broken tackles, including one with five seconds left in the first half that put the visitors ahead for good, as Lamesa defeated Pecos by a 32-16 final score.
The Tors scored first, on a three-yard run following an interception late in the first period. Pecos came back and took an 8-6 lead on July Franklin's six-yard run and two-point conversion, but Lamesa then went in on an 11-yard run off a trio of broken tackles.
They missed the two-point try, and the Eagles came back for a 16-12 lead with 58 seconds left in the half, on a 16-yard pass from Alex Garcia to Chris Bryant, and Omar Muniz' conversion run. But Pecos then let Lamesa go down the field in just over 50 seconds, scoring on a quarterback run from 12 yards out.
The Tors would score on their first two possessions of the second half as well, the last on a 29 yard quarterback run after breaking free of two Eagle tacklers at the 35.
The freshman game was the only one on the schedule Thursday. The Eagles' junior varsity game at Lamesa was canceled, and the junior high teams start their seasons later this month.
Tonight at 7:30 p.m., Pecos' varsity opens its 1997 season by hosting Lamesa. The Tornadoes won their first game in Pecos in over 20 year in the last visit, 42-0, as special teams woes helped Lamesa score four of their six touchdowns.
Tonight's other games feature the Eagles' District 4-4A rival, Andrews, hosting the Tors' rival, Snyder, while another former district squad, Monahans, goes to Big Spring for the Steers' 1997 opener. The main game of the night has Sweetwater hosting Brownwood, while Kerrville Tivy is at San Angelo Lake View and Fort Stockton goes to Santa Tersa, N.M. for their season opener.
Snyder (4-6 in 1996) at Andrews (6-6): The Tigers have had the Mustangs' number since the teams resumed their season, after Andrews dominated Snyder while they were district rivals in the 1980s. The past three seasons, Snyder has come away with narrow victories, the latest a 22-21 score last season.
The Tigers are in a rebuilding year this season, having to replace their top runner and pass from last season, as well as seven other starters on offense and nine on defense. Andrews has most of their defense back, plus quarterback David Kessler and running back Shaud Williams, who averaged 200 yards per game rushing last season.
Monahans (10-1) at Big Spring (2-8): Based on the records, and the boost the Loboes' poll rankings were given by the arrival of coach Lary Hanna (unranked before, Top 10 after), you would think the Loboes would be favored tonight. They're not, probably because Big Spring looked very good in beating Midland High in the final preseason scrimmage, on three 70-yard scoring plays involving four different players.
Antwoyne Edwards and Tori Mitchell are probably the most dangerous backfield duo in the district. Monahans will have Hanna's son Robin, joining quarterback Brandon Stephens and fullback Lucas Jacquez this season, though the younger Hanna has been hampered by an injury going into the season. Last year, Monahans racked up four quick touchdowns, then had to score late after Big Spring rallied to tie.
Fort Stockton (4-6) at Santa Teresa, N.M. (1-9): Finding the field will probably be the toughest thing for the Panthers to do tonight. They ran wild last season, scoring a 42-0 victory as Jacob Vasquez scored four touchdowns.
Santa Teresa is one of many schools just outside of El Paso that are gaining in enrollment, but their program is still below the level of the nearby Class 3A teams of similar size like Fabens and Clint. Of course, strange things tend to happen to Permian Basin teams travelling out to El Paso, and having to deal with New Mexico's blocking rules could also hurt Fort Stockton.
Kerrville Tivy (3-7) at San Angelo Lake View (9-3): In a story on new Tivy coach Neal Lahue this week, the «MDUL»San Angelo Standard-Times reported one of the Antlers' recent problems under former coach Donnie Laurence was declining enrollment. That can be a problem, except that with an enrollment of 1,240, Tivy would be the biggest school in District 4-4A if they were out here.
Kerrville played Lake View tough a year ago, losing by a 21-14 score, and Lahue gets about half of last season's starters back. Lake View, in contrast, will have a bunch of new faces on both sides of the line, though based on their scrimmages against Dumas and Abilene Wylie, the losses will hurt more on defense than on offense.
Brownwood (10-2) at Sweetwater (12-1): After completing one final West Texas reclamation job (after Sweetwater and Andrews), W.T. Stapler turned over the Lions to assistant Steve Freeman. Brownwood went from 1-9-1 to the District 5-4A title in 1996, and get back quarterback Colby Freeman, who ran and passed for over 1,150 yards last season.
But Sweetwater's Andrew Boatright ran and threw for over 2,000 in the Mustangs' 13 games last season, and the Mustangs return almost all of their defense from a year ago, including five all-district selections. The Mustangs also figure to come up with an offensive star from out of nowhere, just going on the team's history dating back to Stapler's state title in 1985.
Pecos rallied last Saturday from a 14-10 third game deficit to beat Greenwood, 17-15, and win their first volleyball tournament title in five years, so the Rangerettes will be out for revenge when the teams meet at 3:30 p.m. today. But it wouldn't be a major upset if the Colorado City Wolves came out on top in the teams' pool, after play is over.
Pecos opens up at 10:30 a.m. against the Vernon Lions, then closes out with a 5:30 p.m. match against Colorado City, which went into Monahans on Tuesday and swept the Loboes and Fort Stockton Prowlers in a pair of matches. THey beat Monahans, 15-6, 13-15, 15-6, and downed Fort Stockton, 18-16, 15-4, while Greenwood was sweeping Big Spring, 15-7, 15-7.
The Eagles, meanwhile, split their matches in Alpine with the Bucks and Odessa High Bronchos, falling to Alpine, 15-13, 15-9, then downing OHS, 10-15, 15-2, 15-9, to go to 8-4 on the season.
Problems generating offense were cited by coach Becky Granado as the Eagles' main trouble Tuesday. "We just didn't hit the ball at all, but a lot of times the setting was just not there," she said. "We're still getting called (for setting violations), but the reason we're getting called is positioning. We're not positioning ourselves to where we can set it anywhere."
"We're also still having problems with a lack of concentration. We let so many balls drop because we think somebody else is going to take it," Granado said. "Right now we're just making it tougher on ourselves."
The pool's second place finisher figures to get a Saturday morning matchup against Hereford as their reward. Midland High, Lubbock Estacado and Kermit are the other teams in the Whitefaces' bracket, while Monahans, Lamesa, Alpine and Lubbock Coronado are in Pool III and the host Maidens are joined by Amarillo River Road, Odessa High and Midland Lee in Pool I.
Deion Sanders will finish his season with the Cincinnati Reds today so he can concentrate on what he does best: shut down receivers. The Reds have given Sanders permission to leave for the rest of the season so he can play cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys.
When he returned to baseball after a year's absence, Sanders hoped to have a breakthrough season. Instead, it's been one much like all of the rest: ordinary in most other ways.
Those flashes of what could be -- a NL-leading 56 steals, a .383 batting average in April -- were overshadowed by a lot of other below-average statistics and months.
McKeon, who has managed the club for little more than a month, became the latest to wonder what Sanders could do if he worked at baseball year-round instead of March to September.
``If he would just devote himself entirely to baseball, I think he'd be a better hitter,'' McKeon said. ``I think he'd become a better outfielder. We know he's an outstanding base runner.
``I think he'd be an All-Star.''
Baseball won't get to find out. After a game tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sanders won't perform at Cinergy Field again until the Cowboys visit to play the Bengals on Dec. 14.
A bulging disc in his lower back made it impossible to play both sports effectively, and the added travel was wearing him down. Sanders was tired of the two-sport status he once loved.
``It gets tough emotionally more than physically, to tell you the truth,'' Sanders said.
He started in left field on Thursday night and went 0-for-4 in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Only five days earlier, Sanders played a role in beating Pittsburgh's other team -- he had two tackles and returned a punt in the Cowboys' 37-7 victory at Three Rivers Stadium.
His unusual contract arrangement with the Reds allowed him to play both sports in September. He was free to leave the Reds once they were eliminated from contention, sooner if they gave permission.
General manager Jim Bowden spoke to Sanders on Wednesday and gave Sanders the option to stay or leave.
``We just let him know from the club's standpoint we would not stand in his way from going to play football full-time, given his situation and given our situation,'' Bowden said.
Sanders made a $1.2 million base salary this year and there's a mutual option for another season at $2.5 million. He will not be paid for time missed to play football.
Bowden is one of Sanders' biggest fans -- he named one of his dogs ``Prime Time'' -- and would love to have him back next season. He speaks glowingly of what he accomplished this season.
``I think he had a great year,'' Bowden said. ``For not playing for a full year, I think he should be comeback player of the year in the National League.
``I think it's unfortunate he had the injury to his back, which really set him back since the middle of August. For the first three months of the year, when he was hitting .300, if we had enough RBI guys in the middle of the lineup, he would have scored a lot of runs and his year would have been a lot better.''
Sanders hit .383 and stole 19 bases in April, when he took the club's advice and became more patient at the plate. He fell back into his free-swinging mode and his numbers plummeted.
Since May 1, he has hit .243 and stolen 37 bases. His batting average has fallen to .273 -- two points below his National League career average -- and his on-base percentage is a poor .329.
He leads the NL with 56 steals, but Pittsburgh's Tony Womack is likely to pass him now. Womack has 47.
Asked how he'd characterize his season, Sanders said, ``I just had personal problems this year that prevented me from doing things. This year overall I think has been OK. It could have been better.''
There are several factors working against Sanders giving it another shot. Although Bowden would like to have him back, Sanders says he's putting his children first.
Sanders is going through a divorce and is trying to get custody of his children, ages 6 and 3. Playing baseball during the summer works against his chances.
``Right now, that's a factor,'' Sanders said. ``I must be in a stable place. ... That carries a lot of weight.''
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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