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Styles of Eagles, Lions to clash Friday

Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 22 -- Mirror images in the standings but exact
opposites on the field, the Pecos Eagles and Clint Lions
will both try to clinch playoff berths Friday night and take
a big step towards ending long district title droughts, when
they meet at Eagle Stadium starting at 7:30 p.m.

Every week this season when the Eagles have won, the Lions
have also, and each week when Pecos lost, so did Clint. But
there have been wins for each the past two weeks, when
District 2-4A play began, leaving them both atop the
district standings with 2-0 records, 4-3 overall.

However, the way they've gotten there couldn't be more

Pecos is ranked first in the district in defense and last
in offense. That's due mainly to their passing attack,
though it came alive in last week's 24-14 win at Clint. The
Lions, meanwhile, have picked up almost 80 percent of their
district-leading 2,662 yards in offense through the air, but
have run for 700 yards less than Pecos. They're also last in
defense among 2-4A teams, giving up over 360 yards per game.

Clint's win last Friday over Fabens was almost typical of
their season so far on offense, except that Alonzo DeLeon
ended up running for the winning score, in a 49-42
double-overtime victory against the Wildcats. Before then,
Lions' quarterback D.J. Check threw for nearly 300 yards and
three touchdowns -- Numbers that are slightly below his
average for the season.

"Running the ball is something we've tried to work on the
past three weeks," said Clint coach Bill Culpepper, who
missed last Friday's game because his wife was in the
hospital. "I feel like to beat Pecos we've got to run the
ball better than we have so far.

"Last year when we put this offense in we threw the ball in
some games over 60 times. This year, I feel like we need to
run the ball in key situations more effectively in order to
win. But if we can get to about 100 yards (rushing) per
game, I'd be pretty happy with that," said Culpepper, whose
team is averaging just 77 yards right now.

Check leads all Class 4A quarterbacks in passing, averaging
just over 300 yards and three touchdowns per game. "Their
offense is big play, and very explosive," said Eagles' coach
Dan Swaim. "D.J. Check does a great job and Jeremy Arnold is
a big-strong receiver."

Arnold took over the district leadership in both passes
caught and receiving yardage last week, while adding to his
lead in TD receptions. Arnold has caught 39 passes for 940
yards and 11 TDs operating at wingback and also ran a punt
back 76 yards for a score last week, while tight end Patrick
Tullins and split end David Elias have combined for 35 more
catches and another nine TDs.

"They like to run short and intermediate routes and throw
on timing, but they also have the capability of throwing
deep when they need to," said Swaim, who added the Check
gets good protection from his offensive line.

Fabens did chase the senior out of the pocket last week,
but he ended up scoring from six yards out late in the
fourth quarter to send the game into overtime, though DeLeon
and D.J. Shepherd are the Lions' main running threats.

Mountain View's Adolfo Villa had a couple of big runs last
week in the Lobos' scoring drives, but the Eagles were able
to use the blitz in the fourth quarter to bottle El Paso up
in their own end of the field before Louis Valencia's
27-yard field goal with a minute to play sealed the victory.

Valencia earlier caught his first two passes of the season,
including one for a touchdown, but Culpepper said he's more
concerned about the Eagles' running game.

"If our offense is not clicking, we've got to be able to
take the ball away and we have to be able to hold the ball
ourselves," he said. "Against Canutillo (two weeks ago) we
were able to drive it down the field and were able to win
the game."

Clint did hold Fabens to just 120 yards rushing last week,
and Tullins returned a fumble for a score. But the Lions
were burned by the Wildcats' passing attack for over 280
yards and two TDs.

"We really did a good job on run defense against Fabens,
but they were able to throw the ball against us, which was a
concern, because we had the same thing happen to us against
(El Paso) Bowie a couple of weeks ago," Culpepper said. "But
we're going to make a commitment defensively to stopping the
running game. If that involves putting more people in the
box (at the line), then that's what we'll have to do."

"We're just going to see what they give us, and try to take
advantage of that," said Swaim, whose team had all 95 yards
of their passing offense in the first half last week.

The Eagles will get back running back Lucio Florez, who was
injured on the third play of last week's game, though Swaim
said offensive lineman/linebacker Daniel Terrazas will miss
his second game in a row due to a thumb infection.

The winner of Friday night's game will clinch a playoff
spot with two weeks to play. While that's not so unusual for
Clint -- they faced Reagan County in a playoff game in Pecos
just three years ago -- Culpepper said the Lions haven't won
a district title since 1982.

That's still seven years later than the Eagles' last
district crown, and Pecos hasn't advanced to post-season
play since 1975. "The kids are excited. They know what's on
the line and know it's a big game for us to do something
that hasn't been done in 23 years," Swaim said. "They kids
have done a good job keeping their focus this week and just
taking it one game at a time."

Yank' 125th win completes Series sweep

AP Baseball Writer
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 22 -- They have no sure Hall of Famers, no
one to equal Ruth, DiMaggio or Mantle. Not a single one of
them even got elected to start this year's All-Star game.

Their true greatness is as a team. Maybe the best in
baseball history.

The New York Yankees ended their season Wednesday night the
only way that seemed proper -- a 3-0 victory over the San
Diego Padres for a World Series sweep and their record 24th

Andy Pettitte recorded the Yankees' 125th victory of the
year, a win that caused owner George Steinbrenner to weep
with joy. Scott Brosius won the MVP award and that was
appropriate -- batting ninth for most of the season, hardly
a superstar.

So now, after the Game 4 win, let the debate begin. Better
than the '27 Yankees, better than the '61 Yankees, better
than the Big Red Machine?

``I think that will probably be talked about forever,''
Brosius said. ``The comparisons will go on and on, and maybe
nobody will have a definite answer. But you can look at this
year and say we had the single best season of any other

At 125-50, the most victories ever and the best winning
percentage since that Murderers' Row club in 1927.

``'27 Yankees, they may have a better club, but we had the
best record,'' manager Joe Torre said. ``To me, that was the
standard that I was looking to pass because the Yankees --
more important to have a Yankee record than anything else.

``You look at the Oakland A's clubs that won a few world
championships in a row and the Cincinnati club in '76 that
was always a standard for me, I think we have better
pitching than they have,'' he said. ``We have to take a back
seat to no one in my lifetime.''

And in a season that brought baseball some truly huge
numbers, from Mark McGwire's 70 home runs to Cal Ripken's
2,632 consecutive games to Kerry Wood's 20 strikeouts, the
Yankees posted one that may remain for a long time.

``This is truly, you can say it now, one of the greatest
teams in baseball,'' a champagne-soaked Steinbrenner said.

``We really worked for this,'' he said, too overcome to go

It was New York's second title in three years and its
seventh sweep, its first since 1950. The Series sweep was
the first since Cincinnati upset Oakland in 1990, and was
the Yankees' seventh.

Also, New York won its eighth straight Series game while
the Padres lost their seventh in a row.

San Diego was not embarrassed, especially with ace Kevin
Brown on the mound for the last game. Instead, they were
just overmatched, leading for a total of four innings.

``Sure, we would have liked it to have worked out better,
but the Yankees have a great club -- probably the best team
we've faced all year,'' said Tony Gwynn, who went 8-for-16
for the Padres. ``They did everything they needed to to

While the Yankees celebrated in the clubhouse, the Padres
had their own party. Several San Diego players came out of
the locker room to speak to the record crowd of 65,427.

But this was New York's night.

``This is the most determined team I've been around,''
Torre said. ``I don't know if we have the best team of all
time, but I do know that we have the best record. We have to
take a back seat to no one in my lifetime.''

Steinbrenner and Torre met in the clubhouse, both wearing
hats emblazoned with ``World Champions.'' They embraced.

``You're the best manager I ever had. You deserve it,''
Steinbrenner said.

``Thanks, Boss,'' Torre said.

Brosius carried on the Yankees' tradition of unlikely
infielders coming up big in huge games -- remember Bucky
Dent and Brian Doyle? The third baseman went 8-for-17 in the
Series with six RBIs.

Fittingly, Brosius handled the last ball of the year, a
grounder by pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney.

``I think the biggest moment is that third out, throwing
the ball and knowing it's going to end the game and end the
season,'' Brosius said. ``There's nothing better than coming
up and seeing the players' eyes and that sense of
achievement and accomplishment and excitement.''

Perhaps the Yankees had something else going for them, too
-- inspiration from slugger Darryl Strawberry, out because
of colon cancer. All the Yankees had his No. 39 embroidered
on their caps, and they chanted ``Straw Man! Straw Man!'' in
the victorious clubhouse.

Bernie Williams, playing perhaps his last game for New
York, broke a scoreless tie with an RBI chopper in the
sixth. In the seventh, Brosius singled home a run, and
surprising rookie Ricky Ledee hit a sacrifice fly.

The Padres tried to rally in the eighth, when Gwynn's
single finished Pettitte. A single by Ken Caminiti off
Mariano Rivera loaded the bases with two outs, but Jim
Leyritz, a postseason hero in the past for the Yankees and
San Diego, flied out to Williams in center field.

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