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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Tuesday, September 21, 1999

Eagles look  to continue road streak

PECOS, Sept. 21, 1999 -- The District 2-4A opener for the Pecos Eagles wasn't much fun last season. But they were playing at home, where most of their problems occurred in 1998.

Tonight, the Eagles will travel to Fabens to open the 2-4A volleyball schedule against the Wildcats, and they'll try and see if they can be as successful on a long weeknight road trip as they were in their five Saturday visits to El Paso a year ago.

Fabens came back to beat Pecos in three games on the Eagles' home court last season, before the Eagles went out to Fabens and downed the Wildcats, as part of a nine game winning streak that gave them the district title.

This season, the Eagles are about where they were a year ago, coming into play with an 11-8 season record after a 16-14, 15-10 win at Wink on Saturday. Eagles' coach Becky Granado was happy with the improvement of her team's defense, though she said Pecos still needs another hitter to come through when Philonicus Fobbs rotates to the back line.

Fabens has had a similar problem on offense this season, but comes into the game with just a 4-6 record. They lost their No. 1 hitter from a year ago, Beverly Alarcon, to graduation, leaving Cindy Arrieta as the Wildcats' main threat.

"Hopefully we can stop their big girl. If we can do that, that should be the key to the game," said Granado, who added she might make a lineup change to help slow Arrieta down.

"I'm thinking about putting D'Andra (Ortega) and Philly up on the front line together to take her out of the game," Granado said. Ortega has played middle blocker this season when Fobbs has rotated to the back line.

Bears to face Coyotes in semifinals rematch

PECOS, Sept. 21, 1999 -- The Balmorhea Bears were behind again in their second football game of the season. But this time the deficit was brief and the comeback far less exciting that their last-season win over Whitharral two weeks earlier.

The Bears improved to 2-0 on the season with a 56-6 win at Marathon on Friday over the Mustangs, in a non-district game between the two schools. The Bears will host Marathon to close out the home portion of their season in District 7-A six-man play in November, but before then, Balmorhea has a pair of tough games coming up in their home openers the next two Fridays, against Borden County and Grandfalls.

Borden County beat Balmorhea twice last season, 57-24 at Gail and then 70-24 in Kermit, in the six-man state semifinals. The Coyotes used their air attack to beat the Bears, and while Borden County did lose several players to graduation, Bears' coach Ennis Erickson said, "They've still got a bunch back."

"They're kind of like we are. They had several seniors, just like we did, but they still have several of their players out there from last year," Erickson said. Borden County beat Highland this past Friday by a 26-14 final score.

Marathon was looking for their second straight non-district win over a district rival _ the Mustangs opened the season by defeating Sierra Blanca _ and took a 6-0 lead on the Bears in the opening quarter on 63-yard touchdown pass from Erik Estrada to Johnny Samudo. But Balmorhea used two touchdown passes to Rudy Guebara and Ryan Clark from Billy Lozano to grab the lead before the period was over.

"We played good, but it was still close in the first half. We were only up 20-7 and then in the second half was when we took off on them," Erickson said.

Josue Mendoza, who had a 56-yard touchdown run in the second period, had TD runs of 6 and 45 yards and a 55-yard kickoff return for a score in the third quarter, after Adriel Ramon recorded a safety. Chris Cook also had a 55-yard scoring run in Balmorhea's 30-point third period, and the Bears ended the game in the fourth under the 45-point rule on Isaiah Rodriguez' 60-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Erickson said he only had about half his squad in Marathon for the game, while most of his younger players faced Midland Trinity on Saturday and scored a 64-18 victory. "We had about 13 in Marathon, so everybody got to play eventually," Erickson said.

The win kept Balmorhea at No. 4 in this week's six-man football poll rankings. Borden County is unranked so far this season.

Falcon's attack grounded by Cowboys' defense

AP Sports Writer
IRVING, Tex., Sept. 21, 1999 Walking off the field after a season-opening victory in Washington, the Dallas Cowboys defense didn't feel like a winner.

They knew their offense had bailed them out and vowed to repay the favor quickly.

Dallas' defense did that Monday night, rattling Atlanta's backup-filled offense into mistake after mistake and overcoming a bad night for the offense in a 24-7 Cowboys victory.

"It was really important to get off on the right step and play with confidence," said defensive end Chad Hennings, who had two of Dallas' six sacks. "We got after them early. This is a big momentum-booster."

The Cowboys are 2-0 for the first time since 1995, their last Super Bowl season. The Falcons are 0-2, as are the Denver Broncos, marking the first time both defending conference champions have been winless after two games.

Atlanta has an excuse: injuries. The Falcons started the game without quarterback Chris Chandler, and six minutes after kickoff, they lost Pro Bowl running back Jamal Anderson.

Anderson is hopeful he can return by Sunday. Ditto for Chandler, although coach Dan Reeves said it's too early to tell on either player.

Reeves isn't buying the injury alibi.

"I was embarrassed by our play," Reeves said. "The way we went out there was not what I expect."

Once Anderson went down, the Cowboys were able to focus on quarterback Tony Graziani. Defensive coordinator Dave Campo tested him with a variety of blitzes, and he failed miserably.

"I believe this is an injury league," Campo said. "When they lose a great player, you've got to get after his backup."

Dallas held Graziani to 7-of-16 passing for 90 yards in two quarters, plus two possessions. That was somewhat of a milestone for him considering he was benched at halftime of his other two career starts.

The left-hander almost burned the Cowboys on his first play. A flea flicker turned into a bomb to a wide-open Chris Calloway, but he dropped what would've been a sure touchdown, and things were never that good again.

Graziani's next pass was intercepted, leading to a 23-yard field goal by Richie Cunningham. On the third play of the third quarter, Graziani fumbled during a scramble, setting up the score that put Dallas ahead 17-0.

Atlanta's defense kept the game close, but the Falcons simply couldn't sustain drives.

Part of the problem was Byron Hanspard not being able to convert on third-and-short the way Anderson usually does. Atlanta failed to convert three of them while trailing 10-0, including once when Hanspard was stopped for no gain.

Danny Kanell replaced Graziani, but wasn't able to work the same magic as in 1997 when he beat Dallas twice while with the New York Giants.

He had some highlights, such as throwing a 45-yard touchdown pass to Tim Dwight with four minutes left and hitting another long pass to set up first-and-goal from the 4.

But after two incompletions, Kanell threw a pass directly to defensive end Greg Ellis, who returned it 87 yards for the Cowboys' final points.

"I looked up and there was 80 yards to go," Ellis said. "I wanted to pitch to someone. It was a long, hard run and I didn't think I was going to make it."

Dallas had three interceptions, two off Kanell, and returned them for 154 yards.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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