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Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas


Wednesday, December 23, 1998

Eagles already preparing for `99 season

Staff Writer
PECOS, Dec. 23 -- The All-State football teams have just
been announced, and the All-West Texas squads are just
coming out now, but Pecos Eagles head coach Dan Swaim and
his staff are already working on the Eagles' 1999 football

"We've got 70 kids in off-season, not including the varsity
basketball players," Swaim said last week. "I'd say right
about now we've got about 80 kids in the program."

Pecos ended a 23-year playoff drought this past year by
winning a share of the District 2-4A title with Canutillo,
before a bi-district loss to El Paso Burges. Just under half
of the starters off this year's 6-5 team will be lost to
graduation, and Swaim said of those returning, "They've been
hitting it hard for a month, month-and-a-half. We started
right after we got knocked out of the playoffs."

While Pecos went 4-1 in district, in their loss to Burges,
along with earlier losses to Crane and Denver City, the
Eagles were unable to control the line of scrimmage when
they needed to. "We've been putting an emphasis on getting
faster and strong and are looking to take it to the next
level," Swaim said. "Now that we've gotten to the playoffs,
the next step is to do what it takes to get back and win
when we get there."

While Canutillo will lose most of their key players to
graduation, Clint gets back both its quarterback, D.J.
Check, and all-state receiver Jeremy Arnold, so the Lions
figure to be the Eagles' biggest test in district.
Meanwhile, Swaim said, "Right now our biggest question mark
is finding a quarterback. I think our offensive line will be
all right. Out of our front seven we basically have five
coming back, but we have to find a quarterback (replacing
Oscar Luna) and a safety (replacing all-state pick Mark

Jason Payne and Joe Robert Lara were first-team selections
on defense who'll be back for the Eagles, while two other
underclassmen, linemen Trent Riley and Jacob Weidner were
second team picks, and linebacker Daniel Terrazas was an
honorable mention selection.

"Jason is going to step over and take Mark's spot, but we've
got to find someone to replace Jason," Swaim said. "We're
also going to have to find a kicker and punter to replace
Louis (Valencia), and we're going to have to find a kickoff
guy to replace John (Gutierrez) and his booming kickoffs."

Pecos will also have to play six of their 10 regular season
games on the road in 1999. That includes road trips to
Odessa, Alpine and Fort Stockton the first three weeks of
the season, plus a trip of 190-mile trips to Clint, San
Elizario and Fabens in district play.

Willis calls for vote on latest NBA offer

Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK, Dec. 23 -- First it was Karl Malone, now it's
Kevin Willis.

One day after Patrick Ewing expressed surprise at Malone's
view that the NBA's latest contract offer was ``fair,''
Willis called for players to vote by secret ballot.

``The majority would vote for the owners' latest proposal,
just to start playing ball again,'' the Toronto Raptors
forward said Tuesday, defying his union leadership.

While the first signs of dissension appear to be forming in
the players' unity, NBA commissioner David Stern talked
about getting permission to cancel the season.

Stern, interviewed by Fox Sports News while on vacation in
Aspen, Colo., said he called Billy Hunter, the head of the
players union, to convey his intentions.

``I've told him we have serious disagreements,'' Stern said.
``I'd love to sit down and negotiate. I would say we are
getting pretty close'' to losing the season for lack of a
contract after owners locked out players.

``If nothing happens in the next several days. I think I'll
be required to schedule a board meeting of our Board of
Governors for right after the first of the year.''

Stern needs to get permission from the Board of Governors
before he can cancel the season.

Malone was the first player to express a favorable view of
the proposal that arrived by overnight mail last Thursday
and outlined the owners' concessions.

``To me, I feel the deal is almost done,'' the Utah star
said Saturday before playing in the charity exhibition game
in Atlantic City, N.J. ``Without a doubt, that deal (the
owners' offer) is fair. It just needs some minor changes. I
think the deal is decent.''

Ewing disagreed Monday, saying ``all they did was make the
numbers look great, but it's not a good deal.''

On Tuesday, Malone's agent, Dwight Manley, dismissed rumors
that Malone is working with Jazz teammate John Stockton to
bring the owners' proposal to a vote or replace union
leaders Ewing and Alonzo Mourning.

``That's not true; I have never heard of it,'' Manley said.
``I don't know where that comes from. ... I don't know that
Karl has even talked to John lately.''

Today marked the 11th day since the last round of
bargaining, and players continue to lose $50 million a week
in salaries. If a deal isn't reached soon, the entire season
will be scrapped.

Steve Woods, Willis' agent and a professor of sports
business at South Carolina, endorsed his client's view.

``I believe that a blind ballot would be acceptable,'' Woods
said. ``I think 80 percent would accept it (the proposal),
based on the 15 players I talk to on a regular basis. They
would accept it and be ready to play tomorrow.''

Union spokesman Dan Wasserman disagreed.

``We conducted conference calls over the last two weeks with
more than 120 players on each call,'' he said. ``At least a
dozen players on each call specifically told us they will
wait for the negotiating committee to recommend a deal that
is worthy of putting to a vote.''

``A secret ballot is something the union is adamantly
against because they would feel it would tear a hole in
their blanket of unity,'' Woods said. ``The players union
unity is based more on peer pressure and collective egos
rather than on reasonable minds coming to a reasonable

In addition to losing out on salaries, some players are
beginning to miss out on endorsement revenue. Nike, the
world's largest athletic shoe company, is exercising its
option to withhold quarterly payments to most of the 230 NBA
players it has under contract.

Nike spokesman Vizhier Mooney admitted the decision risked
alienating some athletes, but said that after three straight
quarters of declining Nike profits, the company must
reassess its investment in the league.

``There is no way we'd threaten our relationship with the
NBA or the many NBA players we're partnered with,'' Mooney
said. ``But as a business, we have to make common sense,
fiscally responsible decisions.''

Fila USA also is taking that action, but Adidas, another
footwear manufacturer, has not followed suit.

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Pecos Enterprise
Ned Cantwell, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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