Coach Jason Wheeler and his Sharyland Pioneer High Diamondbacks knew they had their work cut out for them Friday night when they hosted the Edinburg Vela Sabercats at Richard Thompson Stadium. Entering the game the 5-1 Sabercats were scoring an average of 45 points a game while allowing less than 19 and had won all five of their games rather handily.
It didn’t take long for the Sabercats to demonstrate their offensive prowess against Pioneer Friday night when on their opening possession they drove the ball 75 yards in less than two minutes to take a 7-0 lead. That was when the Diamondbacks responded in kind on their next possession when sophomore Alec Garcia took a handoff from junior quarterback Alex Ramirez and proceeded to run down the home sideline 70 yards for a touchdown that tied the game at 7-7 with 8:32 left in the first quarter.
When asked how he managed to break such a long run against a highly rated defense like Vela’s Garcia said, “I just followed my blocks. I have to give credit to my offensive line, my running back and my receiver that opened up the gap and I cut to the inside and then went outside for the 70-yard touchdown.”
Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks’ faithful, Vela responded with their second touchdown of the game on their very next possession and never looked back from there. By halftime the Sabercats had opened up a 28-7 lead over Wheeler’s squad and went on to win 42-15.
After the game Wheeler explained that even though his team lost, they did achieve one of their main goals defensively.
“Our game plan was to stop the run and make them throw the ball that’s what we did,” said Wheeler. “They’ve been rushing for 400 yards against people and as a defensive guy I always try to get people to beat me left-handed. And they did beat me left-handed tonight but that’s fine. At least they didn’t beat me with their bread-and-butter.”
“Even though the score did not reflect it, I thought this was one of our better performances of the year and I think we’re starting to peak at the right time,” added Wheeler. “We have a big game against Mission Veterans next and if we can win that one and win the Roma game, or at least two out of the next three, then we have a chance of getting in the playoffs.”