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Monday, October 4, 1999

Defense get Eagles past Jackets

Staff Writer

PECOS, Oct. 4, 1999 The Pecos Eagles solved some of their problems Friday night, mostly on the defensive side of the football, and ended a two-game losing streak with a 20-0 homecoming win over the Kermit Yellowjackets.

After allowing over 300 yards and 61 points to Crane a week earlier, the Eagles limited the Jackets to just 41 yards offense. The defense also did to Kermit in the second half what Crane did to Pecos Ï pin the Jackets deep in their own territory for most of the third quarter, setting up touchdowns off a 50-yard Mason Abila punt return and a two-yard run by Donny Winfrey, after Jacob Weidner recovered a fumble at the Kermit 8.

"We won, that's the good thing," said coach Gary Grubbs, who was still not happy with the Eagles' missed opportunities.

"We should have put some more points up," he said. "We squandered at least three chances to put the ball in the end zone. If we do that later on, it's going to hurt us."

Offensively, the Eagles gained 156 yards in the first half, but managed just one score on a 54-yard run up the middle by Jacob Esparza midway through the second period. Pecos misfired twice on fourth down passes that could have gone for touchdowns, and also turned the ball over deep in Kermit territory in the third period, before Weidner's recovery of Omar Gallardo's fumble gave it right back.

"There were some (offensive) spurts in there, but we've got to be more consistent. We've got to be able to put three touchdowns up on offense and capitalize on the chances, when we get them, to score," Grubbs said.

Esparza had 112 yards rushing in the game, 111 of that in the first half. He managed a couple of first down runs around end in the opening period before taking a handoff from Alex Garcia and breaking one tackle just past midfield, then outrunning Kermit's secondary to the end zone.

Offensively the night was a disaster for the Jackets, who had just 21 players suited up and began without their leading rusher from a wee ago, Sergio Saenz. Miguel Porras and Allen Smithart were both banged up by the Eagles' defense after a couple of early runs, 280-pound lineman Michael Reed suffered an apparent knee injury in the second period, and quarterback Ivor Ramirez was tackled nine times behind the line of scrimmage for 40 yards in losses.

Grubbs said the Eagles were using the same basic defense they had a week earlier against Crane, with only minor adjustments.

"We've been playing a 4-3 type of defense all along," he said. "We did go to more of a spoke-style in the secondary to get more pressure from the outside. But the difference was defensive we were a whole lot more aggressive."

Weidner had two fumble recoveries on the night, and Jason Payne also recovered a fumbled punt by Munoz, though Pecos was unable to score. The Eagles also got strong games from linemen Gilbert Rodriguez and Trent Riley, both of whom had sacks on Ramirez.

Kermit's best chance came early, when their defense forced a Daniel Terrazas punt from deep in Eagle territory. Porras returned it to Pecos' 29 and then had runs of nine and 10 yards, as Kermit drove the ball to a 1st-and-goal at the Pecos 7.

But two runs by Gallardo went backwards four yards, and then Ramirez who started in place of Norman Castillo missed a wide open Manny Munoz in the end zone, and saw his pass to Smithart deflected by Jason Payne. Munoz then tried a 28-yard field goal but it was blocked, with Pecos recovering at their own 40-yard line.

Abila had seen several good punt returns this season called back by penalties, before finally getting a flag-free run in the second period, taking the ball at midfield then finding an opening on the right side near the 40 and breaking clear at the 30.

He would bring one back 25 yards after Kermit's next series, but that one was called back by a flag. Pecos also was flagged for an illegal block 30 yards behind the play on Esparza's TD run, but it was ruled to have occurred after he had crossed the goal line.

The play did force Pecos into an extra point try from 25 yards out, and Garcia's pass was intercepted by Ervey Carrasco, leaving Pecos up 6-0.

While the Eagles managed just 22 second half yards, that was still six more than Kermit. Their best threat was actually deep in their own end of the field, when Castillo almost broke five tackles to get into the open on the first play of the half. Later, Kevin Bates was able to hold onto Munoz at the 32, after he broke through Pecos' line on a kickoff return after Abila's score.

Kermit did get into Eagle territory twice in the final period, after a failed onsides kick attempt and a mishandled punt snap by Terrazas. The first threat ended when the Eagles' run defense stiffened after a first down run by Gallardo, while the second was stopped after Ramirez had the wind knocked out of him by Omar Luna, when Porras came in to quarterback and a threw up a floater that Abila intercepted at the Pecos 16 yard line.

The win leaves the Eagles with a 2-3 record going into District 2-4A play, the same mark as a year ago. Kermit stayed winless at 0-5 going into their District 4-3A opener versus Alpine.

The Eagles begin their 2-4A schedule next Friday in Fabens against the Wildcats, 26-0 winners over Santa Teresa, N.M. on Friday. In the other three district games, Canutillo lost a late lead for the second week in a row and fell to El Paso Burges, 25-23, El Paso Mountain View outscored El Paso Ysleta, 35-28, and Clint, playing with quarterback D.J. Check (despite a knee injury) but without running back D.J. Shephard (suspended) was beaten by El Paso Bowie, 20-17.

at Pecos

Kermit 0 0 0 0 0

Pecos 0 6 14 0 20

Second Quarter

Pec. Esparza 54 run (pass failed), 5:40.

Third Quarter

Pec. - Abila 50 punt return (Marta kick), 5:45.

Pec. - Winfrey 2 run (Marta kick), 12:00.

Ker Pec

First Downs 4 7

Rushes-Yds. 41-37 39-135

Passing Yds. 4 43

Passes 1-7-1 3-17-0

Punts-Avg. 6-34.8 4-33.5

Fumbles-lost 3-3 5-1

Penalties-Yds. 8-45 9-75

Individual Statistics

RUSHING - Kermit, Porras 4-29, Gallardo 12-22, Carrascp 7-21, Smithart 7-5, Ramirez 11-(-40. Pecos, Esparza 19- 112, Winfrey 6-29, A. Garcia 2-8, Abila 4-7,

Luna 1-4, R. Rodriguez 1-(-2), Carson 5-(-4), Terrazas 1-(-11).

PASSING - Kermit, Ramirez 1-6-0-4, Porras 0-1-1-0. Pecos, A. Garcia 3-15-0-43,

R. Rodriguez 0-1-0-0. Carson 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING - Crane, Gallardo 1-4. Pecos, Zubledia 1-21, Carson 1-17, Winfrey 1-5.

MISSED FIELD GOALS - Kermit, Munoz 28 (blocked).

Pecos girls post victory in Canutillo

EL PASO, Oct. 4, 1999 -- The referees showed up this time in El Paso, for the Pecos Eagles' game on Saturday against the Canutillo Eagles, and they didn't have to spend a lot of time at the match, either, as Pecos made quick work of Canutillo to get back over the .500 mark in District 2-4A play.

Pecos jumped on Canutillo in the opener, 15-4, then after falling behind in Game 2 by a 3-0 score, shut out the host Eagles the rest of the way to win, 15-3 and improve to 2-1 in district. However, Eagles' coach Becky Granado said her team is still not playing as good as it needs to against teams besides Canutillo, which has won only twice this season.

"We're still flat. There's not enthusiasm, no fire in there," she said. "It was like we were out there going through the motions.

"We played good enough to win," Granado said. "I changed our lineup to have Philly (Fobbs) come in when their big girls were at the back to take advantage of not having any big blockers up there, but we didn't."

Fobbs had five kills in the match, the same as Alexa Marquez, while Ashley Salcido led Pecos with six. "Alexa and Ashley are starting to come around. They're hitting the ball more and becoming more consistent, and that's a good sign," Granado said.

The Eagles have an unusual schedule coming up this week. They've got two home matches _ one more than they had the entire month of September _ but after hosting San Elizario on Tuesday they'll play at home against Fabens on Friday afternoon instead of Saturday, at the same time the Eagles' football team and band are traveling to Fabens for Friday's game against the Wildcats.

Pecos' junior varsity also won their match with Canutillo, going three games, while the freshmen lost in three games on Saturday, Granado said. No scores were available for those matches.

Slow start does in Bears

Staff Writer

BALMORHEA, Oct. 4, 1999 -- There was a football game with a capital "F" Friday night in Balmorhea.

Somebody forgot to tell the Balmorhea Bears about it, but they showed up at the end of the first quarter and the fireworks got underway.

When the Bears took the opening kickoff from the Grandfalls Cowboys it looked like Balmorhea's homecoming might turn into a repeat of last week's decisive loss to Borden County.

The Bear's took the opening kick and came out in a tight formation for the opening series, but punted three plays later.

Grandfalls took possession at their own 32-yard line and opened up with a pass for first down yardage in Bear territory.

On the next play the Cowboy back rolled off the right tackle and sprinted to the Bear 8 yard line and giving Grandfalls first and goal. Balmorhea stopped the Cowboys for no gain on a first down run, but on second down the Cowboy back went off right tackle again and reeled off seven tough yards before being dragged down at the two-yard line.

Grandfalls ran the same play on third down, but Isaiah Rodriguez and Reggie Lozano came up with the stop at the goal line caught the Bears up on the line looking for a run and the Cowboy quarterback Stephen Phillips tossed a soft pass to a wide-open Junior Ramirez in the back of the end zone.

The points-after kick was good and the score was 8-0.

On their second play from scrimmage after the touchdown, Balmorhea fumbled the ball and Grandfalls came up with it at mid-field.

The next play the Cowboys caught Balmorhea looking and Ramos pulled the pass in for a 41-yard touchdown. After the point after kick the score was 16-0 and Bear fans felt like they were having a flashback.

Balmorhea stalled on their next drive, turning the ball over on downs four plays later at the 39-yard line.

Two plays later Grandfalls posted another touchdown with a long run. The Cowboys passed for the point-after attempt and the score was 23-0.

After spotting Grandfalls 23 points the Bears started to wake up on their next possession. They reeled off a strong drive and several first downs before being turned away at the end zone.

On first down the Cowboys tried another long pass and this time Isaiah Rodriguez stepped in front of the receiver for the interception, returning to the Cowboy 19. A blocking in the back penalty backed the Bears up to the Cowboy 36, but Chris Cook took the handoff on second down and rumbled down to the Cowboy 4 yard line before being stopped. Josue Mendoza took the ball up the middle and scored the first Bear touchdown of the night on the next play, but the extra-point attempt failed, in what was to be a recurring problem all night for the Bears.

A stiffening Balmorhea defense stopped the Cowboys cold after the kickoff but Grandfalls held off the Bears with an interception at the Cowboy 11 yard line.

After a fumble recovery, a long pass to Chris Cook got the Bears to the 10. Two plays later, Billy Lozano tossed a perfect pass to Jerry Mendoza and the Bears had another touchdown. The PAT kick flew wide and the score was 23-12 early in the second quarter.

The Cowboys answered later in the period and by the end of the half the score was 37-18 in favor of the Cowboys.

But Balmorhea refused to die.

A strong defensive effort led by Cook, Lethco and Rodriguez held the Cowboys to a couple of rushing yards on their first two possessions of the second half.

Long runs by Lozano and Cook brought the Bears to the Cowboy 28.

One play later the Lozano found himself in the middle of a busted play with no receivers open. Lozano scooted out of the pocket and picked up two downfield blocks before he found paydirt. The extra point was missed and it was a 37-24 ballgame.

Grandfalls tagged on another score before Balmorhea found the end zone again with 3:29 left in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 11.

Balmorhea tried an on-side kick that Grand Falls recovered leaving it to the Bear defense to get the ball back for one more try.

The Bears did stop Grandfalls on three downs and on fourth down the Cowboys passed and Josue Mendoza picked it off at the Bears' three yard line.

But the Bears couldn't find the end zone. With 47 seconds left a long pass bounced off of Jerry Mendoza's shoulder pads and Grandfalls took over on downs.

"We didn't start when the game started," Bear coach Ennis Erickson told his team afterwards. "We also gave up 8 points in extra points. You can't do that an win."

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Pecos Enterprise
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