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Thursday, September 16, 1999

Eagles face tough game in Stockton

Staff Writer
PECOS, Sept. 16, 1999 -- The Fort Stockton Panthers go into Friday night's game against the Pecos Eagles off two lopsided losses. The Eagles come in after bouncing back from an opening loss with a 300-plus yard offensive night in a victory over Alpine.

That's pretty much the way things stood last year as well, when the Panthers allowed over 80 points in losses to Crane and El Paso Riverside, then came into Pecos and led the Eagles until a flea-flicker touchdown pass to Jason Payne late in the fourth quarter allowed them to escape with a 7-3 victory.

So even though Fort Stockton enters their 1999 home opener and homecoming game Friday off back-to-back 50-0 losses, and Pecos comes in following a 34-20 win at Alpine, the Eagles aren't looking past their former District 4-4A rival.

"I think it's going to be a good game," coach Gary Grubbs said. "For Fort Stockton-Pecos our kids are more up for this game than they were for Monahans, since that was just a scrimmage."

Pecos' last trip to Fort Stockton was a season-ending 48-7 loss to the Panthers two years ago. Fort Stockton was supposed to compete for the district title last season, but injuries and a lack of a running game doomed the Panthers to a 1-9 season.

This year the Panthers _ like the Eagles _ have been plagued with turnovers. But while Pecos was able to win last week despite seven giveaways, the mistakes have been more costly for Fort Stockton.

"We've turned it over about 10 times so far this season," coach Phillip Lopez said. "We gave Riverside a lot of easy scores."

The Rangers went to the air against the Panthers, throwing for 235 yards, with receiver Omar Ferniza catching four touchdown passes for 190 yards. Riverside's controversial running back Mike Flores also ran for 136 yards in the victory.

"We were down 29-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter we played better and in the second half we played good, but we had dug ourselves such a hole we couldn't get out of it," Lopez said.

Offensively, Fort Stockton has almost an entirely new backfield from a year ago, and only managed 82 total yards in their loss to Riverside. "Ben Barron played some last year in district for us," Lopez said of his fullback, who gained 20 yards on three carries last week. "Adrian Matta is our tailback, but he's questionable. He got hurt against Crane and reaggrivated it against Riverside."

Lopez said quarterback Nathan Sawyer is also hurting after last week's loss, and sophomore Blake Yarborn could see some action.

"Sawyer is solid. He does a good job running the bootleg and likes to throw the ball to (tight end Luke) Groth," Grubbs said. The 6-6 240 pound senior is one of the few players left off the 1997 team that just missed a playoff berth. "He'll be hard for us to handle, but we did a good job with (Alpine's) David Rodriguez last week, so the kids are up to the challenge."

"Defensively, they run a `50' and have got one really good linebacker in Chase Wiest. He looks like about 225 pounds," the Eagles' coach said. "They're going to be a little bit bigger than us, but I think we're going to be quicker."

The Eagles will be without a couple of players from last week when they face Fort Stockton, but Grubbs said they would get one starter off the injured list this Friday.

"Micha Huffman is out with a concussion, so Sebero Jaquez will start at center," he said. "It's also doubtful Len Carson will play. We want to try and rest his groin injury, but he also had dental surgery (Monday)."

Carson needed 14 stitches after having a wisdom tooth that had fused to the bone pulled. Grubbs said Donnie Winfrey and Kevin Bates will take Carson's spots on offense and defense.

"We did get Omar Luna back, which is a plus," Grubbs said. Luna missed the first two games of the season after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. "I believe Omar will step in and play strong side linebacker, and we'll move Daniel Terrazas to outside linebacker to try and utilize his speed."

Friday's game is the last of five straight road trips for Pecos, beginning with their scrimmage a month ago in Monahans. The Eagles still have three long road trips to go this season, with District 2-4A games at Fabens, Clint and San Elizario in October and November.

Eagles add Jr. High games against Cranes

PECOS, Sept. 16, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagles varsity has another eight days before they have to worry about the Crane Golden Cranes, but the Cranes will be the opponent tonight for two of the Eagles' junior high teams, in games added this week to the seventh and eighth grade schedules.

Varsity coach Gary Grubbs said Pecos' seventh and eighth grade `B' teams will host Crane today at 5 and 7 p.m., while the Crockett and Zavala `A' squads will scrimmage each other before the regular games, at the Crockett Middle School field.

The Eagles' `B' team originally had been scheduled to face Crane next week, while the junior high `A' squads went to Alpine. Both teams will close out their seasons in November with games against the Cranes.

Meanwhile, Pecos' freshman and junior varsity teams will have their regularly scheduled games tonight against Fort Stockton. The Eagles' JV will host the Panthers, in a scheduled 7 p.m. start, while the ninth graders go to Fort Stockton for a 6 p.m. game.

All the teams except for the JV are looking for their first wins of the season. The seventh grade `B' team lost their season opener at Andrews last week by a 16-6 score, while the eighth grade `B' squad lost at home to the Mustangs, 30-0.

Pecos' freshmen are 0-2 on the season, after a 46-0 loss a week ago in Andrews, while the JV evened it's season record at 1-1 with a 6-0 win in Alpine over the Bucks.

NFL's still giving L.A. shot at team

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 16, 1999 (AP) The NFL's original deadline for Los Angeles to present an acceptable stadium proposal has passed, but the league insists that doesn't assure that Houston will get the expansion franchise.

The six-month window the NFL gave Los Angeles ended Wednesday with none of the Los Angeles groups able to organize a deal that satisfied the league.

Los Angeles, however, apparently still has some hope of landing what will be the league's 32nd team.

Three Los Angeles groups representing the Coliseum, Hollywood Park and Carson are very much in the running despite the passing of the deadline, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

"It means the window of exclusivity for Los Angeles has ended," Aiello said from league headquarters in New York.

This week, the NFL began talking again with representatives from Houston.

In Los Angeles, Hollywood dealmaker Michael Ovitz is among those still trying to bring a team to town.

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Pecos Enterprise
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