MISSION Roma’s best season in program history has culminated in clinching at least a share of the District 16-5A DII championship, the first in the team’s 34 years of varsity football. One more victory by the Gladiators and they’ll win the program’s first district title outright.

Standing in their way is Mission Veterans, a team rich in tradition with five district championships since 2010, the latest coming in 2021.

The Gladiators (9-0, 4-0) and Patriots (5-4, 3-1) are slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Tom Landry Stadium in Mission with the District 16-5A DII championship up for grabs.

“We can play with anybody, and we’re going for that gold ball,” Roma senior running back Isaac Lozano said following the Gladiators 48-40 double-overtime win over PSJA Memorial.

A Roma win, and the district title and No. 1 seed is theirs. A Mission Veterans victory, and the Patriots clinch a share of the district championship and potentially create a three-way tie for first depending on Sharyland Pioneer’s result against PSJA Memorial on Friday.

The matchup pits Roma’s run-heavy attack against Mission Veterans’ aerial assault. Lozano leads the Rio Grande Valley in rushing with 1,715 yards and 28 touchdowns in nine games. Patriots passer Braden Luedeker ranks third in the RGV with 2,747 passing yards and is tied for the lead in touchdown passes with 32. He’s also racked up 965 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns as the Patriots’ leading rusher.

The Patriots won last year’s matchup against the Gladiators, 49-35, but Roma will be fighting to complete a perfect 10-0 regular season this time around, while Mission Veterans fights to add another district championship trophy to its case.