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Thursday, August 19, 1999

Eagles to scrimmage fourth-ranked Loboes

Staff Writer
PECOS, Aug. 19, 1999 -- If you go by the preseason ratings, the Pecos Eagles' toughest test of the season will be Friday night, when they play the first of their two preseason football scrimmages, in Monahans against the Loboes.

Play will open about 7:15 p.m., after the Eagles and Loboes' freshman and junior varsity teams square off, starting at 4:30 and 5:45 p.m.

"We'll go 20 plays with the first team, 15 with the second and then 10 with the first team again," said coach Gary Grubbs. "Then we'll have a sudden death situation with each team going four downs from the 25 yard line."

After several years in Class 3A where they started fast but saw their season end earlier than their fans expected, Monahans reversed that a year ago, starting slowly before advancing to the Class 3A Division I semifinals. As a result, the Loboes come into 1999 ranked fourth in the State 3A football poll.

"They're picked fourth in the state, so they'll be plenty tough. They'll be plenty big compared to us, too," said Grubbs, who'll make his debut as varsity head coach Friday.

"I know they've got Roy Porras back. He was defensive end and full back and was the District MVP, and they've got Brand Lee at middle linebacker and playing tailback. They've also got a good quarterback (Raul Hinojos) who stepped in in the middle of the year."

Pecos shut out Monahans' first team offense last season, and the Loboes struggled on offense until Hinojos took over. Along with Porras and Lee, the Loboes also return Chris Adams at tight end, and Grubbs said, "They moved him to defensive tackle and have got their other defensive tack back, so all of their front four is back.

"I would think as far as size they'll have an advantage, but on quickness we should have the advantage," he added.

Defensively, the Eagles will be trying out the `split 6' defense for the first time. It's one they've played against often but never used themselves until this season.

"They seem to be catching on," said new defensive coordinator Ron Arnesen. "With the split defense you react, and I feel like being more aggressive fits their style, because we are smaller and quicker."

The Eagles will have to go without returning linebacker Joe Robert Lara, who injured his knee in practice this week.

"Doc (trainer Joel Birch) said the best prognosis is we get him back by district, and the worst is he's done for the year," Grubbs, said. He'll be replaced by Jaime Herrera for Friday's scrimmage, Arnesen said, while adding, "We're not set anywhere yet on defense."

On offense, Pecos does return two of their four running backs, in Len Carson and Jacob Esparza, but Esparza will be out four to six weeks after suffering a broken hand in practice. Pecos will also be looking at a trio of new quarterbacks, with Alex Garcia scheduled to work with the first team offense. "The offense is behind the defense right now as far as where we are, but we are going to try and throw the ball more this year," Grubbs said.

Friday's scrimmage is the first of five straight out-of-town trips for Pecos. They'll scrimmage at Greenwood next Thursday, open the regular season Sept. 2 versus Denver City in Odessa, and go to Alpine and Fort Stockton before their Sept. 24 home opener against Crane, which is picked to finish second behind Monahans in District 4-3A this season.

Pecos looks for better results at Sandhills

PECOS, Aug. 19, 1999 -- After opening their 1999 season the say way they began play in 1998 and 1997, the Pecos Eagles will hope to change the recent results of their first tournament of the year on Friday, when they compete in the Sandhills Tournament at Monahans.

The Eagles beat Odessa High 15-12, 17-15, on Tuesday after losing to Alpine, 15-3, 15-7, to start the season. It was the third year in a row that's happened to the Eagles, though this year's games were in Odessa instead of Pecos.

"At least we were moving in the second game," said coach Becky Granado about the win over OHS. "We picked up more balls, but we're still having a hard time passing. Whenever they give us a free ball, we cannot pass it to the target."

Like Tuesday's matches, the site of this year's opening tournament is also different, with the Eagles coming back to Monahans after competing in the Ector County ISD Tournament in Odessa the past three years. Two of those three years Pecos wound up in the consolation bracket, something they'd like to avoid this time around.

The Eagles are in Pool III of the tournament, which has only three teams, two of which will advance to Saturday's quarterfinals. They'll open at 9 a.m. Friday against El Paso Americas, then face former district rival Fort Stockton at 1 p.m.

Americas is El Paso's newest high school, and is only in it's second year of varsity competition and returns all its players from last season. Fort Stockton opened their season on Tuesday with a three-game victory over Wink and a sweep of Fort Davis results similar to what the Eagles did during scrimmage play against those two teams last Friday.

The pool winner will face the runner-up of Pool I at 9 a.m. Saturday, while the second place team plays Pool I's winner at 11 a.m. Pecos' District 2-4A rival Clint, San Angelo Central, Denver City and Kermit make up Pool I, while Pool II is made up on Monahans, Anthony and El Paso Northeast Christian, and Pool IV has El Paso High, Marathon, Tahoka and another 2-4A team, Fabens.

Rangers add to lead by downing Indians

CLEVELAND, Aug. 19, 1999 (AP) Based on the explosive way the Texas Rangers have been hitting lately, it was just a matter of time until they overwhelmed the suddenly slumping Cleveland Indians.

Rafael Palmeiro hit a three-run homer and Royce Clayton had a two-run shot in a five-run seventh inning Wednesday night, giving the Rangers a 6-1 victory.

The Rangers have 44 runs and 60 hits during a four-game winning streak that has helped them to a 6 1/2-game lead in the AL West.

Texas has pounded Cleveland pitching, hitting 10 homers in winning the first three games of the four-game series by a combined 34-10 score.

John Burkett (4-6) pitched eight strong innings to get his first victory since July 22. He held Cleveland's lineup to one run and five hits and had a season-high eight strikeouts.

Burkett lowered his ERA from 6.30 to 5.90.

"I felt more comfortable than I have all year," Burkett said. "When it is an important game, I believe I'm going to do it. I was confident and felt good."

Palmeiro snapped a 1-1 tie in the seventh with his 33rd homer of the season. Rusty Greer opened the inning with a single and went to third on a double by Juan Gonzalez before Palmeiro homered off Charles Nagy (13-8).

"Nagy always pitches me tough. He just made a mistake and left a pitch up in the zone. I looked at their defensive alignment, and the second baseman and first baseman were back. I was just trying to hit it their way and score the runner from third," said Palmeiro, who has nine homers in his last 20 games.

After Todd Zeile singled, Nagy was replaced by Ricardo Rincon, who was helped by two sensational fielding plays.

Roberto Alomar made a diving stop of a sharp grounder and flipped the ball over his back to shortstop Omar Vizquel to force Zeile. Clayton then hit his seventh homer for a 6-1 lead.

After Tom Goodwin walked, Mark McLemore hit a drive into the gap in right-center, but Manny Ramirez made a running, backhanded catch and doubled Goodwin off first base to end the inning.

Texas, which has 17 homers in its last five games, scratched out a first-inning run when McLemore singled, went to third on a one-out single by Greer and scored on a groundout by Gonzalez.

Cleveland tied it in the sixth. Vizquel got a bunt single, stole second and scored on Ramirez's one-out single.

Ramirez went to third on David Justice's single, but Burkett struck out Jim Thome and Richie Sexson to end the rally.

Nagy said he had experienced flu-like symptoms all week and might have gotten a bit weak in the seventh.

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