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Thursday, November 11, 1999

Eagles eye better success against Indians

Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 11, 1999 -- When the Pecos Eagles go into their Class 4A bi-district football playoff game on Friday, they'll be facing:

- A third place team with a below .500 record;

- A team that has a big line and runs the ball a lot;

- A school with twice the enrollment as the Eagles and with the home field advantage;

Which means the Eagles are pretty much in the same situation this week against the El Paso Ysleta Indians that they were a year ago against the El Paso Burges Mustangs. But Pecos will be hoping the similarities end there, as they'll look to avoid a repeat of last year's 27-14 loss when the teams meet at Hutchins Field, starting at 8:30 p.m. CST.

The Eagles aren't flying as high as they were a year ago entering the playoffs _ they went into last season's bi-district game off a 48-0 win over San Elizario, which gave them a share of the District 2-4A title. This time, Pecos comes into the game following a 12-0 loss that gave San Eli the district title and dropped Pecos into third place in the final standings.

However, thanks to Clint's victory over El Paso Mountain View, the Eagles ended up as the Division I (large school) representative in the playoffs, and facing a Ysleta team that, while one of the biggest Class 4A schools in the state, is also coming into post-season play off a defeat, 27-20 in double overtime to El Paso Riverside.

"We've got a lot of similarities, record-wise and on offense and defense," said Ysleta coach Steve Carri, whose team comes in with a 4-6 mark compared with Pecos' 5-5 record. Both teams went 3-2 in district play.

Ysleta's 1-4 start in pre-district play included a 35-28 homecoming loss to the two teams' only common opponent, Mountain View. The Eagles beat the Lobos two weeks later in Pecos by a 28-20 score.

"Mountain View broke some long plays. They had some special teams plays," Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs said. "The first couple of times Ysleta moved the ball on them, but then Mountain View just shut them down,"

Along with losing the game, the Indians also lost starting quarterback Ricky Najera for the season with a broken collarbone that night. Larry Villarreal took his place, and has been the Indians' starter for the past five games.

"He plays a lot for us at defensive end, and he played for us last year at quarterback," Carri said. "He started three games and comes from a long line of quarterbacks, so he was never really uncomfortable."

Last week, Villarreal was 5-for-12 for 89 yards, with an interception and a 40-yard touchdown pass to Manny Morales. "They've got a real strong-armed quarterback, even though they don't tend to throw very much," Grubbs said. "They run the I (formation), the power set, and the run the veer."

"Basically we run out of the I formation and are about 70-30 run to pass," Carri said. Most of the running is done by Victor Bustillos, who had 122 yards and two touchdowns last week, and has run for 1,263 yards and 12 TDs overall this season.

Ysleta' offense has been up and down this season, scoring 32 points on Burges, but managing just 14 against El Paso High during district play. "We've got a pretty young offensive line," Carri said, though the Indians do have seniors Daniel Quinones and Bubba Morales and average about 230 pounds.

"They look pretty big on both sides of the line, and they've got a big fullback and a real experienced tailback," Grubbs said. "They've got a couple of players the play both ways, but it appears that they're mostly skill (position) players."

Defensively, Ysleta will be trying to bounce back mentally from last week's loss. Riverside forced overtime by tying the game on a fourth down touchdown pass from 12 yards out with five seconds to play. "Our kids are focused," Carri said. "They'll be able to bounce back, because we've had our backs against the wall several times."

"I think on my part, I'm a first year head coach and the staff is inexperienced, and that hurt. At one point we were starting seven sophomores, but we went into the season knowing that's what pre-district is for," Carri added.

"They play defense like we do and run a 4-3," Grubbs said. Pecos' defense has played well in four of the Eagles' five district games, but the offense continues to struggle. They failed on two early scoring chances last week, and were unable to get inside the 40-yard line in the second half before San Elizario clinched the win with a touchdown in the final minute.

"We're going to try some new wrinkles, but we try some every week. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't," the Eagles' coach said. "Every Saturday when we game plan, we come up with a series or two we think will be best against our opponent."

Grubbs will get fullback Jacob Esparza back from his one-game suspension, and will have a healthier Mason Abila in the secondary. But the Eagles lost five players to grades this week, which will have linebackers Trent Riley and Daniel Terrazas playing both ways against Ysleta and Craig Wein getting a start at the third linebacker position.

The winner of Friday's game will face either Hereford or Plainview in the area round of the Division I playoffs. Ysleta beat Canutillo last season in bi-district before losing to Plainview in the area round.

Pecos' past results at Ysleta mixed

PECOS, Nov. 11, 1999 -- It's been a while since the Pecos Eagles have met the El Paso Ysleta Indians on the football field -- 52 years to be exact. That's the last time the Indians hosted the Eagles in a football game, and that's also two fewer points than they scored against the 1947 Pecos squad, in a 54-6 victory.

The Eagles definitely don't want a repeat of that game on Friday night, but they wouldn't mind duplicating the results of their last game at Ysleta's Hutchins Field, just eight years ago. Pecos opened the 1991 season with a 21-0 victory over El Paso Del Valle, a school so new at the time it didn't have a football field of its own.

Hutchins Field is located right behind Ysleta High School, and while not many Eagle fans headed out there on Friday may have made that 1991 trip to El Paso, some may have been in the area in recent years, since the school is located just a half-mile west of the Turning Stone Casino on the Tigua Indian reservation.

Fans coming from Pecos to the game should get off Interstate 10 at Exit 34 and go south on Loop 375 (Americas Ave.) over the railroad bridge to Alameda Ave. (State Highway 20). From there, turn right and head west about 1½ miles, past the casino and Zaragoza Road. The high school is on the left side of Highway 20, at 8600 Alameda Ave.

Barkley fights Shaq to draw but Rockets get loss

HOUSTON, Nov. 11, 1999 (AP) - The game got interesting after the second-quarter wrestling match between Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley.

After the scuffle, Glen Rice took over with 24 points as the Los Angeles Lakers sent the Houston Rockets to their fifth straight loss, 89-88 Wednesday night.

The Lakers won for the fifth time in six games, and the Rockets are off to an 0-5 start, their worst since 1982.

"At first, I didn't think Shaq did anything," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "But in looking at it from a different angle, it look like he (Shaq) might have tried to shove him with an open hand to the shoulder or something.

"For whatever reason, Charles was upset and instigated it. It sure changed the complexity of the game. It was an exciting game after that."

O'Neal and Barkley were ejected after a scuffle under the Rockets' basket with 9:03 to go in the second quarter.

Barkley tried to go up for a layup, and his shot was blocked under the basket by O'Neal, and the ball went out of bounds.

Barkley threw the ball at O'Neal, and the two grappled each other to the floor as players and coaches from both teams rushed to quell the scuffle.

"He (Barkley) did one of his Charles-like things, he just didn't want to play tonight," O'Neal said. "Obviously he is frustrated the way his team is playing. He wasn't doing much and his team is 0-5."

Barkley had calmed down after the game.

"I can't let him hit me and get away with it," Barkley said. "My grandma would be mad at me if I let him get away with it. I had to defend myself."

Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich had little to say about the ejections.

"When you've got the strongest man in the league coming at you, what are you going to do?" Tomjanovich asked.

The Lakers were in the lead most of the game and had an 89-84 edge with 1:38 to go.

The Rockets got it down to one point on a basket by Carlos Rogers with 57 seconds to go and two free throws by Steve Francis with 38 seconds left.

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