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Nov. 18, 1996

Last-second TD at half helps Bears rout `Cats

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Staff Writer

IMPERIAL, Nov. 18 -- One second the Balmorhea Bears are clinging onto a
one-point lead over the Grady Wildcats, and in the next second --
literally in the next second, as far as the scoreboard was concerned --
they're making the play that would propel them towards a 45-point
bi-district playoff victory over the Grady Wildcats.

Leading 15-14, the Bears were able to pull down Grady's Brady Peugh a
yard short of a first down at the Balmorhea 23-yard-line, after he
caught a fourth down pass in the closing seconds of the first half.

Not only did the Bears stop the drive, but they were also able to stop
to clock with one second left before halftime. And that was all it took
for quarterback Zane Rhyne to dump a short pass over the line to Roger

He eluded two Grady tacklers near midfield, then got a block from Scott
Clark to spring him for a 57-yard touchdown that sent Balmorhea into the
locker room with a 23-14 lead on the way to a 59-14 victory.

"Roger's energized us a lot this year. He was hooking it downfield,"
Bears' coach Michael Barrandey said of the half-ending play, which
wasn't even planned -- the initial snap sailed was meant for Lopez, but
sailed over his head and into the arms of Rhyne, who then got the ball
to Lopez going the other direction.

The play sparked Balmorhea to their best second half effort of the
season. After several games in which the Bears slumped after halftime,
they dominated the final two periods, holding Grady to 30 yards offense
in the second half. They also took advantage of the Wildcats' mistakes
deep in their own end in the third period to score 36 unanswered points
and win under the 45-point rule with 2:20 to play.

"At the half we made one technique change to try and sake their
defense," Barrandey said, "and on third down passing situations, we went
to a 2-2-2 (defense). We also took the wind facing us in the third
quarter, because we didn't want them winging it in the fourth."

Even with the strong wind in their face at the outset of the game, the
Bears still jumped ahead 15-0 after less than three minutes. All but 10
yards of Debiasie Mendoza's 60-yard touchdown run were called back by a
holding penalty on the game's first play, but Lopez then took a pitch
and went 50 yards on the next play for the score, with Rhyne's extra
point making it 8-0 just 25 seconds into the game.

Grady's Brad Cox picked up 12 yards on his first carry, but fumbled the
second, with Kriss Natividad recovering at the Wildcats' 33. Four plays
later Mendoza found the end zone, scoring from 22 yards out. The extra
point snap was high, but Rhyne was able to locate Clark for a one point
conversion and a 15-0 lead.

Grady's next drive would get into Balmorhea territory, but the Bears
were able to shut down the Wildcats passing attack, and took over at
their own 37. This time, Balmorhea came out in their spread offense, and
almost got their third TD of the game, but Matthew Sanchez couldn't hold
onto Mendoza's pass at the Wildcats' 10.

Having dodged that bullet, Grady got back into the game. Taking over at
their own 36, the Wildcats drove 44 yards for a touchdown, 35 of that on
a run by Cox, who finished with 112 yards on 25 carries.

"We came out and boom, boom, scored right away, then they settled down
and started moving the ball some," Barrandey said. Cody Peugh would get
the TD, going over from 3-yards out, but Clark was able to block Jed
Hinojosa's extra point kick, keeping it at 14-6.

Grady would dodge two more bullets in the second period, before Lopez'
half-ending touchdown. The Bears drove to the Wildcats' 15 to open the
second period, only to lose the ball on a bad handoff. Frankie Garza
recovered for Grady, which then drove downfield in nine plays for their
second score, converting twice on third down and getting help from a
spearing call on the Bears.

One again, Balmorhea drove into Wildcats' territory only to come up
short. A sack of Mendoza by Garza left the Bears in a 4th-and-23 hole
they almost got out of, when Rhyne hit Mendoza with a short pass and he
was knocked out of bounds at Grady's 10, a yard short of a first down.

Taking over with less than 90 seconds to play, Cox and Cody Peugh hooked
up on a 35 yard completion that got the ball to midfield. A run by Cox
netted five more with 36 seconds to go, but he was then sacked by Lopez
for a six yard loss, and a run set up a 4th-and=13 with 15 second left.

Cox then dumped a pass off to Brady Peugh, and he was almost able to
struggle and spin for the first down. Had he made it, time probably
would have expired, but instead, the Bears took over and hit the big
play, and the Wildcats never recovered.

They did survive Cody Peugh's fumble on the first play after the second
half kickoff. Lopez recovered at the 25, but the Wildcats' defense
allowed the Bears just five yards, and they got the ball back at their
own 20. However Lopez then sacked Cox for a 13-yard loss, and three
plays later, the sophomore blocked Brady Peugh's punt, after he had to
chase down a high snap over his head at the Wildcats' 7.

This time, the Bears capitalized, with Mendoza scoring on a 7-yard run
with 5:21 left in the period. Balmorhea then stopped Grady on three
straight passes, and after Peugh's punt went out at the Bears' 26,
needed only three plays to score.

Lopez took a pitch left, cut back and went 33 yards, and Arturo Miranda
then got the first of his three scores, on a 7-yard sweep with 3:2 to
play. Balmorhea's defense then forced another Grady punt. and closed out
the third period the way they ended the second, with a touchdown, this
one by Miranda from 14 yards out, making it 43-14.

Down by 29 going into the final period and with the strong wind in their
face, the Wildcats elected to stay on the ground with Cox. The senior
had gained 96 yards on 14 carries in the first half, but his longest
gain in the final two periods was just five yards, as Balmorhea took
away the outside run.

Miranda scored again with 7:36 to play, off a 22 yard run, after the
Bears took over one play earlier at Grady's 26. They almost ended it
with five minutes to play, but Lopez fumbled the ball, with Joey Rivas
recovering at the Wildcats' 3.

The play only added another 2½ minutes to the game. A 1-yard punt by
Cody Peugh gave the Bears the ball at Grady's 13, and after Rhyne
recovered another Lopez fumble, the Bears' 320-pound lineman Ryan Steig
was given the handoff, and he plowed in from seven yards out. Rhyne's
two-point kick then clinched the victory.

"Roger was starting to have some problems with his hands at the end. He
still is playing with two broken fingers," Barrandey said of the
late-game drops by Lopez, who finished with 126 yards rushing to 122 for
Mendoza and 98 for Miranda.

Grady finished its season with a 9-2 record, while the Bears improved to
9-1 going into their area round matchup this Friday against Southland,
in Stanton at 7:30 p.m. Southland outscored Borden County, 52-37, to
advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Balmorhea's District 8-A six man rival Grandfalls also won its
bi-district game, rallying from a 22-0 deficit after one quarter to
defeat Wellman, 47-36. The Cowboys, 11-0, will now take on Highland at
2:30 p.m. Saturday in Grady.

at Imperial
Grady 6 8 0 0 - 14
Balmorhea 15 8 20 16 - 59

First Quarter
Bal. -- Lopez 50 run (Rhyne kick), 0:25.
Bal. -- D. Mendoza 22 run (Clark pass from Rhyne), 2:47.
Gra. -- C. Peugh 3 run (kick failed), 9:37.
Second Quarter
Gra. -- C. Peugh 8 pass from Gray (Hinojosa kick), 6:16.
Bal. -- Lopez 57 pass from Rhyne (Rhyne kick), 10:00.
Third Quarter
Bal. -- D. Mendoza 7 run (Rhyne kick), 1:24.
Bal. -- Miranda 7 run (kick failed), 6:38.
Bal. -- Miranda 14 run (pass failed), 10:00.
Fourth Quarter
Bal. -- Miranda 22 run (Rhyne kick), 2:24.
Bal. -- Steig 7 run (Rhyne kick), 7:40.
Gra Bal
First Downs 7 11
Rushes-Yds. 35-141 38-353
Passing Yds 81 109
Passes 4-13-1 5-9-0
Punts-Avg 3-29.3 0-0
Fumbles-lost 3-2 6-2
Penalties-Yds. 4-20 7-61

RUSHING -- Grady, Cox 25-112, C. Puegh 10-29. Balmorhea, Lopez 11-126,
D. Mendoza 14-122, Miranda 12-98, Steig 1-7, Rhyne 1-(-2).
PASSING -- Grady, Cox 4-7-0-72, B. Peugh 1-7-1-9, C. Peugh 0-1-0-0.
Balmorhea, Rhyne 3-4-0-83, D. Mendoza 1-2-0-19, Miranda 1-3-0-7.
RECEIVING -- Grady C. Peugh 3-47, B. Peugh 1-15, Rivas 1-9. Balmorhea,
D. Mendoza 2-26, Lopez 1-57, J. Mendoza 1-19, Rhyne 1-7.

Eagles score surprises at Pecos swim meet

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Staff Writer

PECOS, Nov. 18 -- A break from their normal races and swimming in their
own pool seemed to do the Pecos Eagles a lot of good Saturday, as both
the boys and girls squads came up with their best finishes of the young
1996-97 season.

The Eagles easily won the boys division of the Pecos Invitational,
scoring 273 points to 200 for District 4 rival Big Spring. Pecos' girls,
meanwhile, placed second to Midland Lee by four points in the girls'
division, 215-211, while finishing ahead of both Monahans and Big Spring
for the first time this year. The Loboes wound up with 198 points to 197
for the Steers, with Abilene Cooper next with 194 points.

"It was a big surprise," said Eagles' coach Terri Morse. "I actually
didn't expect us to win either the girls or boys.

"I knew we would do go having the `B' relays," she added. "The relays
helped a lot, because we were scoring through 12th place.

The boys were able to score `A' and `B' relays in both the 200 medley
and 400 freestyle, while the girls placed in the 400 free relay at both
the `A' and `B' level.

Kevin Bates, Al Tillman, Kenneth Friar and Dennis Harris won the 200
medley relay, with a 1:50.09 time, while Friar, Bates, Seth Whitworth
and William Kiefer took the 400 free relay with a 3:34.60 time, and
Whitworth, Kiefer, Tillman and Harris captured the 200 free relay in
1:38.19. Michael Lukins, Jeff Lam, Tim Harrison and Matt Ivy placed
sixth in the 400 free relay, and the Eagles also scored in the 200
medley with a 12th place effort by the `B' team.

The girls were able to finish on top of Monahans and Big Spring thanks
to the 400 freestyle relay, which closed out the meet. Randi Key,
Dionnie Munoz, Megan Freeman and Liz Parent took first with a 4:07.96
time, while Jaime Corson, Leslie Armbruster, Sarah Lam and Christi
Whitworth eared a fifth for the `B' team.

Monahans had won the early 200 medley and 200 free relays, with Corson,
Armbruster, Lam and Whitworth placing sixth in the free relay and Key,
Freeman, Parent and Munoz sixth in the medley.

"The kids always get fired up at home. Coming off the San Angelo meet,
which wasn't as good as I had hoped, I was glad we were able to do as
well as we did," Morse said. "Some of the times were much faster than
last week or when we went to Big Spring (Nov. 2). Most of the relays cut
their times, and the one who were swimming their races were either
faster or at least what they did at Big Spring."

Individually, the Eagles picked up a couple of firsts in the 100 yard
freestyle from Parent and Seth Whitworth, who hadn't swum those events
previously. Parent took first with a 1:00.48 time while Whitworth won in

Morse said early last week she planned to change up some of her swimmers
races, but said after the meet she would "probably not" make those moves

"I just wanted to change it up a little, since we've been swimming every
weekend and it was getting boring for the kids to swim the same thing
every time out," she said.

Whitworth later won the 100 yard breaststroke with a 1:08.13 time, while
Parent had finished fourth in the 200 freestyle prior to her 100 meter

Bates had the other individual first on the day for the boys, taking the
100 yard backstroke with a 59.64 time. He also finished second in the
100 butterfly.

Friar took home a pair of second place finishes, in the 200 individual
medley and the 500 freestyle, while Harris was third in the 200
freestyle and seventh in the 100 free; Tillman was third in the 100
breaststroke and Scott Pound had a second in the day's first event, the
1 meter diving competition, for Pecos' other medal on the boys' side.

Other finishes for the Eagles included a fourth in the 200 free and a
ninth in the 100 free by Kiefer; a ninth in the 100 back and a 13th in
the 50 free by Ivy; a 17th in the 200 free by Harrison; a 17th in the
100 free and a 19th in the 50 free by Lukins; a 22nd in the 100
breaststroke by Jeff Lam, a 23rd in that event and a 41st in the 50 free
by Craig Wein, and a 40th in the 500 free by Pounds.

Along with their two firsts, the Eagles also got a second place medal
from Christi Whitworth in the 500 freestyle. She earlier had placed
ninth in the 200 free. Freeman took fourth in the 200 medley and the 100
butterfly; Munoz was fifth in the 100 fly and sixth in the 100
backstroke; Armbruster was fifth in the 500 free and 21st in the 50
free; Corson was sixth in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 medley; Key
was eighth in the 100 back and the 100 free; Briar Prewit was 19th in
the 50 free and 24th in the 100 free, and Sarah Lam was 20th in the 200
free and 22nd in the 100 free.

Morse pointed out that the close finish by Pecos' girls to area
powerhouse Midland Lee was due to the fact that several of the top Class
5A swimmers from Lee, as well as from the three Lubbock schools in
attendance, did not make the trip to Pecos. However, all of the Eagles'
District 4 rivals were at full strength for Saturday's competition.

After the top five finishers on the girls' side came Abilene Cooper with
151 points, Odessa Permian with 68, Lubbock High with 59, Midland High
with 47, Fort Stockton with 10 points and Seminole with two. On the
boys' side, Abilene High finished one point behind Big Spring in third,
with 199, and were followed by Midland Lee with 151, Abilene Cooper with
131, Midland High with 114, Fort Stockton with 101, Monahans with 87,
Lubbock High with 36, Seminole with 21, Lubbock Coronado with 19, Odessa
Permian with 17 and Lubbock Monterey with seven points.

The Eagles will have a two-day meet coming this weekend, and will be
part of another 13 team field when they compete in the Monahans
Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
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State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times

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