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Thursday, September 30, 1999

Eagles, Jackets seek to overcome  problems

Staff Writer
PECOS, Sept. 30, 1999 -- The Pecos Eagles and Kermit Yellowjackets have experienced similar struggles so far this football season. On Friday, both teams will try to solve some of those problems in their final pre-district game, when the Eagles host the Jackets at 7:30 p.m. in their 1999 homecoming game.

Each team has had a forgettable time the past two weeks, and both come off home losses they'd rather forget about.

After a win in Alpine over the Bucks, Pecos was beaten 17-14 in Fort Stockton, then were pounded a week ago in their home opener by Crane, 61-8. Kermit, meanwhile, was hammered two weeks ago in Lamesa, 50-0, then came home to Walton Field and were blanked last Friday night by McCamey, 19-0.

Kermit coach Todd Pearson said his team's problems on offense are similar to Pecos' troubles, with a lack of experience among his starters.

"Anytime you lose some good seniors and have to follow it up with some young kids, it's going to be kind of hard," said Pearson, whose team is winless in four tries this season.

The teams didn't light up the scoreboard a year ago, but running back Louis Bossett did enough for Kermit to score a 13-2 victory. Bossett had 114 of the Jackets' 203 yards in total offense, but he's gone and last week's leading rusher, Sergio Saenz, is hurting.

Allen Smithart is Kermit's other runner, and Pearson said both he and quarterback Norma Castillo have been doing a good job in their new roles.

"He (Castillo) had to replace our starting quarterback earlier in the year," the Jackets' coach said. "He's thrown for about 300 yards so far. The first two games were big games _ he had about a 45 percent completion rate, but we haven't thrown the ball as much the last two games."

"They're a true wing-T team and they try to run the lead, the sweep and the toss," said Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs. "They try to throw the ball a little bit, and they've been pretty effective."

Castillo and Smithart are both two-way starters, playing linebacker and free safety on defense, while Brandon Hobbs is one of three senior starters for Kermit, at wide receiver.

"They're plenty big inside, and they look like they've got decent speed," Grubbs said. Offensive tackles Michael Reed and Troy Wallace are the two other senior starters on offense, while the only senior starter on defense is cornerback Ivor Ramirez.

"Lamesa hit them with some big plays, plus they did like we did against Crane and turned the ball over on their own 20," Grubbs said. "They moved the ball on McCamey, but turned it over deep in their territory the first time. McCamey didn't have any big plays, but they moved the ball on them."

While Kermit's offense has appeared to struggle more than the defense so far in 1999, Pearson said the Jackets' problems haven't all been the offense's fault.

"When you're not stopping them on defense and the offense does sputter it looks like you're putting pressure on the defense, but they both go hand-in-hand," he said. "The defense also needs to make plays to help the offense out."

Pecos' defense couldn't make the big plays a week ago, failing to recover four Crane fumbles and dropping an interception, but the main problem for Pecos was kickoff and punt return coverage. Crane only needed to gain 304 yards to score their nine touchdowns, because the Eagles surrendered another 275 yards to the Cranes on kickoff and punt returns.

The Eagles are in better shape physically than at any time since before their opening scrimmage, though Grubbs did say they've lost three players for at least the next couple of weeks due to grades.

"We've got everybody else back except for (Micah) Huffman, and I believe he'll be back next week," Grubbs said. Huffman suffered a concussion against Alpine, then hurt his knee in practice and has missed the last two games. "He could play this week, but we want to give him one more week of resting his knee."

The Eagles get back fullback Jacob Esparza, who missed last week's game with a sore neck, and tailback Len Carson is closer to 100 percent, though Donnie Winfrey will start again on Friday.

"We'll use Len a little more and use Jacob and Mason (Abila) at fullback," Grubbs said. Abila gained 65 yards in last week's loss, but the Eagles' coach said playing both ways was a little tough on the sophomore.

"We're going to try and limit Mason a little more on offense, so he'll be a little fresher on defense," Grubbs said.

While grades only got three varsity players, about 20 junior varsity and freshman players will be lost after tonight's games in Kermit under the no-pass, no-play rule. Grubbs said the JV would have just 15 players available for the next few weeks, and as a result, will cancel their Oct. 7 game against Marfa's varsity.

The freshmen and JV will play at 5 and 6:30 p.m. today in Kermit, while the Eagles' junior high teams will host the Jackets for `A' and `B' games at 4:30 and 6 p.m. The eighth graders will play at Eagle Stadium, while the seventh grade games will be at the Crockett Middle School field.

Starting Lineups

Pecos                                             Kermit

Defense                                         Offense

DE (52) _ Jose Loa                     QB (11) _ Norman Castillo

ST (80) _ Jacob Weidner             FB (26) _ Allen Smithart

WT (71) _ Gilbert Rodriguez       TB (20) _ Miguel Porras

SE (32) _ Roy Marta                  SE (14) _ Brandon Hobbs

LB (86) _ Daniel Terrazas           LT (77) _ Michael Reed

LB (44) _ Omar Luna                 LG (70) _ Brian Duncan

LB (56) _ Trent Riley                  C (63) _ Corbett Graves

CB (27) _ Kevin Bates               RG (74) _ Ricky Rodriguez

SS (19) _ Jason Payne                RT (78) _ Troy Wallace

FS (20) _ Mason Abila               TE ( 4) _ Manny Munoz

CB ( 9) _ Richard Rodriguez        FL (83) _ Fabien Quiroz

Offense                                                 Defense

QB ( 7) _ Alex Garcia                 DE (10) _ Brent Leeson

FB (20) _ Mason Abila               DT (79) _ Anthony Glover

TB (21) _ Donnie Winfrey           NG (44) _ Raul Marquez

SE (27) _ Kevin Bates                 DT (78) _ Troy Wallace

LT (64) _ Ivan Guebara                DE (64) _ Thomas Rinheart

LG (51) _ Sebero Jaquez              LB (35) _ Omar Gallardo

C (77) _ Chris Deishler               LB (11) _ Norman Castillo

RG (55) _ Orlando Lara               LB (54) _ Mario Garcia

RT (54) _ Cesar Coria                CB (12) _ Ivor Ramirez

TE (86) _ Daniel Terrazas            FS (26) _ Allen Smithart

FL (10) _ Derek Zubeldia            CB (20) _ Miguel Porras

P (86) _ Daniel Terrazas

K (32) _ Roy Marta                      K/P ( 4) _ Manny Munoz

Pippen popping off  `bluberry' Barkley

BRISTOL, Conn., Sept. 30, 1999 (AP) The war of words between Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley has escalated.

Pippen unleashed a torrent of criticism at his teammate on Wednesday, calling Barkley "selfish" and "fat' and saying he doesn't have the desire to win an NBA championship. Pippen was responding to criticism initiated by Barkley, who was angered that Pippen said he'd welcome a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I probably should've listened to Michael (Jordan) a year ago when he said that Charles will never win a championship because he doesn't show any dedication," Pippen told ESPN. "He's a very selfish guy. He doesn't show the desire to want to win. That's my reason for wanting to get away from playing with him because he just doesn't show the dedication."

Barkley said he sacrificed to make salary cap room on the Rockets for Pippen, who signed a five-year, $67.2 million contract before last season.

"For him to want to leave after one year, it disappointed me greatly," Barkley said Tuesday. "The Rockets went out of their way to get Scottie, and the fans have treated him well, so I was just disappointed in him."

Pippen was offering no apologies Wednesday and reiterated that he wants to play elsewhere, preferably for the Lakers and Phil Jackson.

"I wouldn't give Charles Barkley an apology at gunpoint," Pippen said, never raising his voice. "He can never expect an apology from me. ... If anything, he owes me an apology for coming to play with his sorry fat butt.

"I was very shocked to see what type of player he was by spending half a season with him," he said of Barkley. "I'm a guy that's dedicated to winning, and I put out a lot of effort on the court. I expect that from my teammates, especially from a guy of his caliber.

"Charles is definitely one of the guys that needs to show more leadership for this ball club to be successful, and he don't show that to me. ... He feels that if he gets 10 rebounds and double-figure points, he's done a good job. But that's not what the game's about. It's about defending, being professional and coming to work every day."

Pippen said one of the reasons he wants to play for Jackson is because he longs to return to the system in which they won six NBA titles together in Chicago.

"I would like to play for Phil," Pippen said. "(But) I'm not demanding a trade."

The Houston Chronicle and Portland Oregonian, citing unidentified league sources, reported today that the Rockets and Trail Blazers were discussing a trade that would send Pippen to Portland for Kelvin Cato, Stacey Augmon, Walt Williams, Ed Gray, Brian Shaw and Carlos Rogers.

Pippen averaged 14.5 points last season, his lowest since his rookie year, and shot a career-low 43.2 percent. He also averaged 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists.

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