LYFORD — Lyford senior quarterback Aiden Olivas-Romo had his mind set on playing defense in 2023 after standout performances as a safety during his previous two seasons as a Bulldog.
The senior quarterback is having an excellent start to the season, helping the Bulldogs to a 4-0 start to the season and being statistically one of the best quarterbacks in the Valley so far in 2023.
“His sophomore and junior year he was first-team safety, so he wanted to play on the defensive side,” Lyford head coach Jerry Jauregui said. “He is a team player, though. We told him that we need him at the quarterback position and it was a fight between him and Adrian Chavez, but he won the battle.”
Jauregui said his quarterback has progressed since then and has turned into a field general for a Bulldogs team that was slept on entering the season.
“I am feeling good,” Olivas-Romo said with a smile. “Being 4-0, you have to be feeling some type of good way. The first two weeks were my better games, the last two weeks I have kind of fallen off a bit, so the goal is just to get better every day and win for my team.”
Olivas-Romo is fourth in the Valley in passing yards with 1,135 yards on only 52 completions. No quarterback in the top 10 has as few attempts, 75, as Olivas-Romo — the highest is 135.
The senior quarterback also has 434 rushing yards, fifth-most among Valley sub-5A teams regardless of position.
The Bulldogs are currently the top-ranked sub-5A team in the Valley and have a bye this week before taking on Bishop at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday at Lyford, but coming into the season they were not ranked in the RGVSports.com poll and were pegged to come in fourth in District 16-3A DI by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.
Jauregui said the Bulldogs used that as motivation, but he understands that many eyes might not be on who is coming back for the team and instead on who is lost because Lyford is a small school. It graduated standout playmaking twins Osmar and Oscar Martinez — Osmar was the quarterback.
Olivas-Romo started for Osmar Martinez in the opener against Port Isabel in 2022 as precaution because of an injury. Olivas-Romo threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns before Osmar entered in the second half and went on to play the rest of the season.
Jauregui said that offensive coordinator Douglas Ames has catered the offense to fit Olivas-Romo’s strengths.
“I have never been one to complain, so whatever they have me do, running or passing, I am going to do it,” Olivas-Romo said.
The senior may not be pleased with huge numbers offensively the last two games, but defensively the Bulldogs gave up 12 to Hebbronville and three to Raymondville. Seniors Jorge De La Cruz and Elijah Vela lead the team in tackles with 54 and 52, respectively.
“Honestly, I like how this team is going right now,” Vela said. “I really think that we can do something special.”
Other sub-5A quarterbacks impressing
The Valley’s sub-5A quarterbacks have been putting up impressive numbers so far this season, not just Olivas-Romo.
Rio Hondo’s Ruben Atkinson leads the Valley in passing yards with 1,205 and has thrown 11 touchdowns.
Brownsville St. Joseph’s Gavin Cisneros is third in passing among sub-5A quarterbacks and seventh overall in the Valley with 1,024 yards, and he also has 11 passing touchdowns. Cisneros has added 354 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Santa Rosa quarterback Bryan Rojas has thrown 10 touchdowns in only three games; Harlingen MMA’s Ben Smith has 485 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns; and Santa Maria’s Miguel Alaniz, La Feria’s Andruw Rivera and La Villa’s Brandon Felix all have similar passing numbers behind Atkinson, Olivas-Romo and Cisneros for top quarterbacks among sub-5A Valley teams.