MISSION — Sharyland Pioneer’s offense was firing on all cylinders Thursday night to capture a bi-district playoff victory.
The Diamondbacks defeated the Edcouch-Elsa Yellow Jackets 48-29 at Richard Thompson Stadium in Mission thanks to a five-touchdown performance by quarterback Julian Valdez and two touchdowns from running back Dylan Tijerina.
“That was a tough team out there,” Sharyland Pioneer head coach Eddie Galindo said. “They presented some challenges at times, but it is about being resilient and fighting hard. Proud of my kids, they just keep grinding and finding a way. Just could not be more proud of a group of young men.”
Valdez’s longest touchdown was his last. The senior quarterback found the sideline and took it 64 yards to put the game away. Edcouch-Elsa quarter Elijah Trevino scored a 6-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 19 during the final seconds.
Valdez also had touchdown runs from 4 and 5 yards, and Diamondbacks defensive back Andrew Rivera grabbed two interceptions as Sharyland Pioneer built a 35-14 lead.
“You have to be multi-dimensional,” Galindo said. “We can run the ball a little bit, throw the ball a little bit and get some things going. When there is opportunities to do somethings and especially to keep their offense off the field, you have to do some of those things. Whatever opportunity presents itself, we have to take advantage of it.”
Trevino found Jayreed Amaya for a 20-yard touchdown to cut it to 35-21.
Sharyland Pioneer went into the half up 28-14 with Valdez’s first touchdown run of the night from 3 yards. Tijerina, a sophomore, was ripping long runs all night and found the end zone with runs of 36 and 38 yards.
Edcouch-Elsa did not go away early despite Sharyland Pioneer’s strong start. Trevino found Alex Rodriguez for 8 yards and Miguel Rodriguez scored from 2 yards to keep pace with the Diamondbacks.
Valdez started things with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Diego Chapa after picking up a big 26-yard run.
“It was just the blocking,” Valdez said. “The O-line was just doing a great job and the receivers were blocking and we were able to find the gaps out there. That is what led to the big play.”
The Diamondbacks move on to face either Liberty Hill or Harlandale in the area round.
“We just need to keep working hard, practice hard and go out and do our thing as a team,” Valdez said about the area round.