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Monday, September 13, 1999

Eagles bag Bucks after slow start

Staff Writer

ALPINE, Sept. 13, 1999 -- The band showed up a little late at the Pecos Eagles' football game Friday night in Alpine against the Bucks. The offense arrived even later, but the important thing for Pecos was it made an appearance in a big way for the first time this season.

The band got to Jackson Field too late to play the school song prior to the start of the game, while the Eagles' offense showed up after Pecos had dug itself a 12-0 hole in the first period against the Bucks. That changed everything in the second period, when the Eagles scored three times, before adding solo touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to notch their first win of the season, by a 34-20 final score.

Jacob Esparza ran for 156 yards and three touchdowns, and caught three passes for 100 yards, including a short dump pass from quarterback Alex Garcia that turned into a 75-yard scoring play in the fourth period, which gave Pecos some breathing room in a turnover-filled game.

"I was pleased with the kids. They played their hearts out, and when they got down 20-6 they never gave up," Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs said. "We played good on defense and tonight they did an outstanding job on offense. Coach (Elias) Payan did a good job mixing the plays up."

Pecos ended up with 360 yards total offense, 313 more than in their 17-0 season-opening loss to Denver City. But in that game, the Eagles didn't allow a second touchdown until there were 90 seconds to play. On Friday, Alpine had put it into the end zone twice before eight minutes had gone by in the game.

"It didn't look good down in the first quarter 12-0," Grubbs said. "They got an interception and a TD and on the play the receiver was wide open. He (Garcia) just overthrew him."

Robert Rodriguez picked off the pass and raced 46 yards to the end zone with 3 ½ minutes gone in the game, and four minutes later, quarterback Cougar McBride broke through a pile and raced 51 yards for a touchdown after Aaron Funk had recovered a bad pitch by Garcia to Esparza, caused by nose tackle Joel Vega.

"One thing he was doing was swatting at the ball, and he was reaching through and getting the quarterback's legs," Grubbs said. Vega caused all kinds of problems in the early going for Garcia and the Eagles, including hitting running back Lea Carson behind the line on a 4th-and-2 play early in the second period to stop a Pecos drive.

But the Bucks would have turnover problems of their own as the game wore on. Daniel Terrazas stopped McBride for a five yard loss after Vega's play on Carson, then stripped the ball from the quarterback in a pile and recovered at the Bucks' 35.

On the next play Esparza took a pitch out from Garcia and went left, then improvised, cutting back against the play and running 35 yards for the Eagles' first score of the season, with 8:28 left in the half.

"We had some blocks, but he didn't hit the hole and decided to cut back," Grubbs said. "He probably would have gotten five yards, but we'll take the other play the way it turned out."

McBride was banged up a little by Pecos' defense on the next series, after runs of 11 and 17 yards, and was replaced by quarterback D.T. Dominguez. The sophomore wasn't as good a runner as McBride, but did a better job pitching the ball out, getting it to James Carrillo for a 23 yard gain down to the Eagles' 5-yard-line. McBride then returned and went around right end two plays later for his second touchdown, and followed that with a two-point run to give the Bucks a 14-point lead.

Pecos cut that in half less than 90 second later, after a scary moment for the Eagles, when Carson failed to fall on a short kickoff at the 28-yard line. Abraham Bustos tried to fall on the live ball, but knocked it out of bounds at the 22. One play later, the Bucks were flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct call after stopping Garcia for a two-yard loss, and that seemed to jump-start the Eagles' attack.

Garcia found Terrazas over the middle for a 14-yard completion, and Esparza then got outside for runs of 22, 17 and 11 yards, the final one taking it all the way to the end zone with 3:10 left in the half.

Pecos had the ball back less than a minute later after a pitch-back play by Alpine was busted up by the Eagles' defense, with Jaime Herrera recovering the loose ball at Alpine's 38-yard line. Mason Abila gained 18 yards on a reverse, and two plays later Garcia found Kevin Bates behind the Bucks' defense for a 17-yard touchdown. Roy Marta's extra point was wide, leaving Pecos down 20-19 at the half.

The turnovers continued in the second half for both sides. Each team ended up losing the ball seven times, with Pecos fumbling nine times overall, losing five. Alpine also lost five fumbles, and threw a pair of interceptions to Bates, the first coming at the Eagles' 26-yard line four minutes into the second half.

Garcia then tossed his second interception of the night, to Paedric Rayburn near midfield. But Rayburn, who had fumbled a punt a few minutes earlier, lost the ball again, with Cesar Coria getting it at the Eagles' 47. That set-up the go-ahead score for Pecos, a five-yard run by Esparza after he and Donnie Winfrey had runs of 12, 13 and 11 yards on the drive. Marta then kicked the extra point from 30 yards out after a holding call, for a 26-20 lead.

Pecos' defense then had to stop the Bucks several times before Esparza's TD reception. They forced a punt on the next series, after a 30-yard completion from McBride to Rayburn, and then got the ball back on downs, after Vega slipped through and caused another Garcia fumble at the Pecos 36. A few moments later, Vega had the ball again at the Pecos 43, after an Abila fumble, and this time, with Dominguez back at quarterback, the Eagles were able to hold the Bucks at the 25.

Three plays later, Garcia dumped the ball off to Esparza on a 3rd-and-10 play, and the senior found an opening down the sidelines for his fourth touchdown of the game. Alpine would get the ball back three more times, but each ended in turnovers, with fumble recoveries by Richard Rodriguez and Abila and Bates' second interception of the game.

Rodriguez also split time with Garcia at quarterback in the second half, while Winfrey, who didn't run the ball at all in the first half, ended up as Pecos' second-leading rusher, with nine carries for 52 yards as a replacement for Carson, who Grubbs said aggravated a groin injury.

"Another thing that really pleased me was the offense was able to shift quarterbacks in and out, and that improves our dimensions," Grubbs said. "Alex really improved tonight, and Richard gives up the option of running the ball."

At Alpine

Pecos 0 19 7 8 -34

Alpine 12 8 0 0 -20

First Quarter

Alp. _ R. Rodriguez 46 interception return (run failed), 3:25

Alp. _ McBride 51 run (run failed), 7:41

Second Quarter

Pec. _ Esparza 35 run (kick failed), 3:32.

Alp. _ McBride 4 run (McBride run), 7:25.

Pec. _ Esparza 11 run (Marta kick), 8:50.

Pec. _ Bates 17 pass from Garcia (kick failed), 10:55.

Third Quarter

Pec. _ Esparza 5 run (Marta kick), 7:57.

Fourth Quarter

Pec. _ Esparza 75 pass from Garcia (Esparza pass from Garcia), 5:53.

Pec. Alp.

First Downs 17 9

Rushes-Yds. 50-229 36-139

Passing Yds. 131 53

Passes 5-11-2 3-9-2

Punts 3-23.3 3-34.3

Fumbles-lost 9-5 6-5

Penalties-Yds 9-65 6-50

Individual Statistics

RUSHING _ Pecos, Esparza 22-156, Winfrey 9-52, Carson 6-33, Abila 3-31, Rodriguez 2-(-18), A. Garcia 4-(-25).

Alpine, McBride 12-108, Carrillo 5-27, Dominguez 6-7, Bustos 3-2, Walker 1-2, LeBlanc 3(-4).

PASSING _ Pecos, Garcia, 5-10-2-131, Rodriguez 0 1-0-0. Alpine, McBride 1-5-0-30, Dominguez 2-3-1-23, LeBlanc 0-1-1-0.

RECEIVING _ Pecos, Esparza, 3-100, Bates 1-17, Terrazas 1-14. Alpine Mata 2-23, Rayburn 1-30.


Pecos pulls out win at Greenwood

GREENWOOD, Sept. 13, 1999 -- Winning at Greenwood hasn't been something the Pecos Eagles have been able to accomplish lately. So coach Becky Granado was happy to see her volleyball team pull out a three-game victory against the Rangerettes Saturday afternoon, even if there were some bumpy spots along the way.

"We played like we did on Tuesday night. We dug ourselves in a hole then had to work twice as hard to get ourselves out," Granado said about Pecos' 18-16, 11-15, 15-11 win. "In the third game, we had to come back, but once we took the lead we stayed in front, but it seemed like in all three games we were playing catch-up ball."

"As far as the offense goes, we did a much better job. Philly (Fobbs) had 10 kills, which is the most she's had in a match," the Eagles' coach said. Greenwood's Stephanie Willis had two more kills than that, but Fobbs also had nine blocks in the match to just one for Willis.

"We're not making as many mental mistakes as we did early in the season. On defense, we're moving a little bit quicker. Our back line kids are starting to read the hitter more and are not getting caught standing around," Granado said.

The win was the Eagles' first at Greenwood in four years and third straight this season, after Pecos failed to win a game at the Seminole Invitational on Labor Day weekend.

Granado said her team didn't look as nervous has they had at Seminole. "I think the kids are more relaxed. They're getting used to the rotation and are getting used to playing with the people around them," she said.

The win lifted Pecos' season record to 9-7 going into Tuesday's match in Monahans against the Loboes, the next-to-last one for the Eagles before District 2-4A play opens on Sept. 21 in Fabens.

Greenwood's freshmen defeated Pecos by 16-14, 11-15, 15-3 final scores on Saturday, while Pecos' junior varsity played in the Andrews Tournament, losing in the finals to Monahans' JV for the second time in three tournaments this season.

Cowboys' counterattack stuns `Skins in OT

AP Sports Writer
LANDOVER, Md. The Washington Redskins scored 32 straight points and thought the game was over. Then the Dallas Cowboys ran off 27 in a row, matching the biggest comeback in franchise history.

The result Sunday was the highest scoring edition of the historic Cowboys-Redskins rivalry, with Dallas winning 41-35.

"I was just a little overwhelmed out there," said Cowboys coach Chan Gailey. "It's all a little bit of a blur. It gives you more to build on than if you win 28-14."

The Cowboys trailed 35-14 entering the fourth quarter. Some astute play-calling, especially some strong runs from Emmitt Smith when the Redskins were expecting the pass, engineered a rally that culminated with Rocket Ismail's 76-yard touchdown catch in overtime.

"This was as good as any Cowboys-Redskins game I've ever seen," said Calvin Hill, a former Dallas and Washington running back. "And I've seen a lot and I've been involved in a lot."

Ismail, signed as a free agent to add speed to the receiving corps, split the safeties after the Redskins bit on a play-fake to Smith. He was wide open for Troy Aikman's fifth touchdown pass.

"Right before we broke the huddle, I turned to Rocket," said Smith, who ran for 109 yards on 23 carries. "And I said, `Rocket, get it,' because I knew all I had to do was make a good fake, the way we were running the ball."

Dallas has rallied from 21 points down to win once before, 30-27 in overtime against New Orleans in 1984. The Cowboys had made up a big deficits to beat the Redskins twice before, coming back from 20 points down in 1983 and 17 in 1979.

"I think this is probably the wildest game I've ever been a part of," said Aikman, 28-for-49 for 362 yards and three interceptions.

The Cowboys sent the game into overtime on Michael Irvin's 12-yard reception with 1:46 left. The crucial extra point by Richie Cunningham hit the left upright before going through.

Washington had a chance to win the game on the last play of regulation, but holder Matt Turk fumbled the snap on what would have been a 41-yard field-goal attempt by Brett Conway.

The loss hit the Redskins hard. They collapsed in last year's season-opener against the New York Giants, lost their next six games. They had hoped to put that behind them while impressing new owner Dan Snyder.

"I think we didn't taste blood like we probably should have," said fullback Larry Centers. "When we had them down, we should've gone into a feeding frenzy and really finished them off. We failed to do that and as a result we gave them hope."

By the end of the game, the Redskins were exhausted mentally and physically. Several players missed plays late while being treated for cramps.

"Five quarters just let the air out of my tires," said receiver Michael Westbrook said.

With the injured Deion Sanders, Kevin Smith and Quentin Coryatt and the suspended Leon Lett missing from the Dallas defense, Washington had no problems moving the ball for three quarters. Only fumbles by Stephen Davis and Brad Johnson inside the Dallas 15 kept the Redskins from putting the game our of reach.

Picking on reserve cornerbacks Kevin Mathis and Charlie Williams, Johnson marked his Redskins debut by completing 20 of 33 passes for 382 yards with touchdown throws of 41 yards to Westbrook and 50 yards to Albert Connell. Davis had his first 100-yard game, rushing for 109 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns.

On their first two possessions, the Cowboys marched 80 and 82 yards for touchdowns, with Aikman hitting tight end David LaFleur for scoring passes of 15 and 14 yards.

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Pecos Enterprise
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