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Monday, September 20, 1999

Eagles overpowered by Panthers, 17-14

Staff Writer
FORT STOCKTON, Sept. 18, 1999 -- You're only as good as your last game. And that means that right now, the Pecos Eagles have a lot of work to do.

After bouncing back from a minus-1 yard rushing performance on offense against Denver City in their opener to roll up 360 yards offense against Alpine, the Eagles fell back to earth Friday night in Fort Stockton. Their line was dominated by the Panthers on both sides of the ball, at Fort Stockton - outscored 100-0 in their first two games - came away with a 17-14 homecoming victory.

Pecos was held to minus-23 yards rushing in the first half, although 22 of that was on a punt snap over the head of Daniel Terrazas that ended up as a safety for the Panthers. Things were better in the second half, when Pecos ran for 65 yards, but after cutting a 17-7 deficit to three midway though the final quarter, the Eagles' defense couldn't come through, allowing a series of runs by Ben Barron to eat up all but the final 47 seconds of the game, when Pecos got the ball back 84 yards away from the end zone.

"The kids didn't do what they were coached to do. We told them what to key on and what to do, but they just didn't execute it," said Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs. "We've just got to go back to the drawing board."

Fort Stockton rolled up 249 yards total offense, 227 of that on the ground, which was more than double their total for the first two games. Grubbs said the lack of offense hurt Pecos there as much as anything the defense did.

"The same thing happened against Denver City. When the defense is on the field that long that's not good. You cannot expect the defense to be on the field that long and not get tired with the size of kids we've got."

"Practice had been better, but it's not at the caliber we need to be successful. We go out there and have 1 1/4- 1 1/2 good practices a week and then play 1 1/4-1 1/2 quarters good in the game," the Eagles' coach said

Friday's game has to be a cause of concern, especially since the Panthers came in to the game off 50-0 losses to Crane - Pecos' opponent next week - and El Paso Riverside, the team the Eagles could face in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

"We better focus, or we're in for a long night next week," Grubbs said. Crane improved to 3-0 with a 16-7 victory Friday over Seminole.

The Eagles did get a good game out of quarterback Alex Garcia, who was 7-for-13 passing for 133 yards and two touchdowns despite being under pressure from Fort Stockton's pass rush much of the night. They also got a strong effort out of Terrazas, who turned a short completion into an 80-yard touchdown pass in the first period, after intercepting Nathan Sawyer at the Fort Stockton 30 on the first series of the game.

But in an omen of things to come, the Eagles ground game found few places to run against the Panthers' defense, with Donnie Winfrey coming up a half-yard short of a first down on a 4th-and-2 pitch around left end.

"I thought overall Donny ran the ball well, but we've got to take advantage of that situation," Grubbs said. "The defense does a good job, picks off the ball and we get it in an awesome spot on offense and don't convert, that sucks it out of your defense."

On Pecos' opening score, Garcia barely avoided defensive end Luke Groth before floating a pass off to Terrazas, who got the first down, then got one downfield block on his way to the end zone.

Pecos then stopped Fort Stockton on their next series but not before some runs by Barron got the Panthers past midfield, and allowed them to pin the Eagles deep in their own territory, setting up the bad punt snap and safety.

Pecos' defense stopped the Panthers again on their next series, after a 55-yard kickoff return by Chris Holguin set Fort Stockton up on the Eagles' 25. But again, the Eagles' offense went nowhere, and this time, the Panthers took advantage with a 12 yard punt return by Holgiun to Pecos' 45, followed by a 10-play march to their first touchdown of the season.

Barron, who would carry the ball 22 times for 112 yards in the first half, had a couple of nine yard runs and another shorter, but key run off tackle on a 3rd-and-goal, from the five down to the one. That set up Sawyer's fourth down quarterback sneak for the score. Barron then ran in for the two-point conversion, giving Fort Stockton a 10-7 halftime lead.

The middle of the Panthers' line remained a cement wall for Pecos in the second half, but the Eagles did have better luck running outside with Winfrey and Jacob Esparza. They drove the ball past midfield on their first series, but then did themselves in on a 4th-and-1 play, when Mason Abila missed a pitch back from Garcia and the ball landed in a pile short of the first down marker.

The Eagles stopped Fort Stockton's first drive of the half, but then hurt themselves again with a holding call at the 20-yard line, before a questionable call gave Fort Stockton the ball.

Garcia just lofted a ball over defensive back Mark Carrillo to Terrazas, who appeared to catch it as he and linebacker Elias Sanchez fell to the ground. But when the players got up Sanchez had the ball and the officials ruled he had taken it from Terrazas before the tight end had hit the ground.

"At first the official said he had taken it away from him, then he said Daniel caught it and it popped out and he took it from him," Grubbs said. "It led to a touchdown by them so it was a big call in the game."

Set up inside the Eagles' 20, the Panthers appeared to score on a sweep by Quintin Robledo. But a holding call set them back 10 yards, and Omar Luna playing his first game of the season after an appendectom tackled Arnulfo Molinar on an attempted reverse for another eight-yard loss.

Facing a 3rd-and-goal from the 22, Sawyer completed his only pass of the night, a perfect throw to Doug Tipton in front of the goal post and just over the fingers of defensive back Kevin Bates.

Down by 10, the Eagles appeared stopped on their next series when they were faced with a 4th-and-7 from their own 38 after a holding call wiped out most of a 16-yard Winfrey run.

But instead of punting, Pecos snapped the ball to Abila at the up-back spot, and he was able to get around the left side and just past the first down marker.

The Eagles then went 53 yards for their touchdown, though it wasn't easy. An interference call on a pass to Terrazas got Pecos out of a hole after Esparza was tackled for a seven yard loss.

Esparza then got outside for 12-yards on a 4th-and-1 at the 31, and finally, on 3rd-and-9 from the 18, a scrambling Garcia evaded three Fort Stockton tacklers and throw the ball into the corner of the end zone, where Derek Zubledia was just able to keep his feet in bounds for the touchdown.

Roy Marta's extra point made it 17-14, and then the Panthers got their biggest break of the game, after Carrillo elected to run the kickoff out when Marta boomed it nine yards deep into the end zone.

He was met by a trio of Eagles at the five, with Terrazas popping the ball loose from Carrillo's hands. Unfortunately for Pecos, it bounced right to Holguin and he almost took it all the way for the score, but was knocked out of bounds by Tye Edwards at the 19.

With the wind blowing into the Panthers' face, that could have left Pecos in good field position if they could stop Fort Stockton and force a punt. They did on first down, holding Barron to a one-yard gain, but on second down Robledo took a pitch an ran for eight yards behind the blocking of Groth and Jaime Gonzales. Barron then went off tackle on eight of the next nine plays, with gains of 13, 13, 11 and 12 yards on the drive.

Pecos finally got the ball back with 47 seconds left and with no time-outs, after having to use two in the third period. A pressured Garcia was flagged for grounding on first down, and had to spike the ball to kill the clock on third down. He could only manage two short passes to Esparza on the other two plays, as the Panthers took over on downs with 11 seconds left and ran out the clock.

Fort Stockton's win left both teams with 1-2 records on the season, with the Panthers going up against Monahans next week, while the Eagles take on Crane in their 1999 home opener.

Pecos' two main District 2-4A rivals, Clint and El Paso Mountain View, both won on Saturday, Clint 20-7 over El Paso Cathedral and Mountain View 39-0 against Santa Teresa, N.M.. Fabens, the Eagles' first district opponent on Oct. 9, was routed by El Paso Parkland, 55-7, while San Elizario beat Tornillo, 33-0.

at Fort Stockton

Pecos 7 0 0 7 -14

Fort Stockton 2 8 7 0 -17

First Quarter

Pec. - Terrazas 80 pass from A. Garcia (Marta kick), 7:02

Ft.S - Safety, Terrazas runs bad punt snap out of end zone, 11:10.

Second Quarter

Ft.S - Sawyer 1 run (Barron run), 5:51

Third Quarter

Ft.S - Tipton 22 pass from Sawyer (Hamm kick), 9:03.

Fourth Quarter

Pec. - Zubeldia 18 pass from A. Garcia (Marta kick), 5:02.

Pec. FtS

First Downs 7 12

Carries-Rushing Yds. 33-42 51-227

Passing Yards 133 22

Passes 7-13-0 1-6-1

Punts-Avg. 2-32 3-39

Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0

Penalties-Yds 3-26 5-40

Individual Statistics

RUSHING - Pecos, Winfrey 12-43, Esparza 14-21, Abila 3-14, Rodriguez 1-(-2), A.

Garcia 2-(-12), Terrazas 1-(-22). Fort Stockton, Barron 35-193, Robledo 8-34, Matta 3-7,

Sawyer 3-(-2), Molinar 2-(-5).

PASSING - Pecos, A. Garcia 7-13-0-133. Fort Stockton, Sawyer 1-6-1-22.

RECEIVING - Pecos, Esparza 3-13, Zubeldia 2-25, Terrazas 1-80, Weidner 1-13. Fort

Stockton, Tipton 1-22.


Eagles' defense improves in win over Wildcats

PECOS, Sept. 20, 1999 -- Pecos Eagles coach Becky Granado was happy with her team's defensive efforts on Saturday, as the Eagles closed out their pre-district schedule with a win over the Wink Wildcats. But she's still looking for a little more offense, with the 2-4A opener at Fabens coming up tomorrow.

"We did a better job on defense than we have," Granado said after the Eagles downed the Wildcats in Wink by 16-14, 15-10 scores. "Wink has a couple of girls who can really hit the ball, but our defense adjusted.

"Saturday was the first time they understood to be ready for the hitter and to be facing where the hitter is going to hit, so they did a much better job getting to the ball," she said.

"As far as our offense, we have three strong rotations when Philly (Fobbs) is up on the front line. But when she goes to the back line we don't have somebody to step up and hit the ball on the floor."

"I felt good about the defense going into tomorrow's match. It's the offense I'm worried about," the Eagles' coach added.

Saturday's game was similar to the Eagles' win over Wink 10 days earlier in Crane, when the Eagles had one tough game against the Wildcats, with a second that was a lot easier. Granado said while Wink again had some problems with Pecos' serves, but "It wasn't so much the serves this time. We got a couple more kills and they had a lot of mental mistakes."

The win improved Pecos' season record to 11-8 going into Tuesday's match at Fabens, which will start about 7:45 p.m. CDT. Granado said the Eagles' freshmen and junior varsity teams would both play the Wildcats at 6:30 p.m. CDT.

Defensive finish cost DelaHoya decision


AP Sports Writer

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 20, 1999 Oscar De La Hoya heard the boos as he backpedaled around the ring in the final rounds, his anticipated brawl with Felix Trinidad drawing to what seemed to be an anticlimactic close.

Perhaps the fans knew something De La Hoya didn't that he was throwing away certain victory in the biggest fight of his career.

What De La Hoya thought would be a triumphant boxing performance Saturday night instead became a bitter defeat, proving once again that it never pays to make assumptions in boxing unless your opponent is sprawled on the canvas.

"I thought I had it in the bag. I swear, I really did," De La Hoya said. "Now I know how Lennox Lewis feels."

De La Hoya's decision to spend much of the final three rounds letting Trinidad chase him around the ring cost him dearly, mainly because he and his cornermen were so intent on following their strategy that they forgot how to do the math.

They also didn't count on the tenacity and heart of Trinidad, who refused to be overcome by frustration and finally began landing some good right hands just as De La Hoya began coasting in the final rounds.

The most anticipated non-heavyweight fight in more than a decade didn't live up to its hype, despite the presence at ringside of the fighters who fought classic welterweight and middleweight fights in the 1980s.

Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns were all there to watch De La Hoya fight cautiously but effectively in the early and middle rounds only to give the fight away by simply not pitching enough in the final few rounds.

It was entertaining in a tactical way, but not to the 11,610 fans who packed the Mandalay Bay arena expecting to see a brawl between a pair of big punchers who both have suspect chins.

"For one time, I wanted to box and show a good boxing lesson," De La Hoya said. "I guess that wasn't enough for the people at ringside."

Punching statistics showed De La Hoya landing 263 punches to 166 for Trinidad, with almost all the difference coming in the left jab that the WBC champion used to bloody Trinidad's nose early and cause his left eye to almost swell shut.

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Pecos Enterprise
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