Even without their main offensive weapon in the lineup the Veterans Memorial Patriots improved their overall record to 5-2 and their district record to 2-1 with a 33-19 victory over the Sharyland Pioneer Diamondbacks Friday night at Tom Landry Stadium. Patriots’ senior quarterback Santos Villarreal, who is still recovering from a high ankle sprain he suffered two weeks ago against the Sharyland Rattlers, watched from the sidelines in street clothes as his backup, sophomore Diego Hernandez, led his team to victory for the second week in a row.
The Patriots led-off the scoring with a field goal at the 9:43 mark in the first quarter and never gave up the lead the rest of the night. VMHS’ first touchdown of the game came when John Garcia ran the ball in from the two yard line with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter. Garcia’s touchdown was set up by a Kevin Liebano interception and return to the Diamondbacks’ two yard line.
While the never-say-die Diamondbacks did mount somewhat of a comeback in the fourth quarter by putting 12 points on the scoreboard, it was too little too late as they dropped to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in district play with their second loss in a row.
After the game VMHS head coach David Gilpin told his team that the win was all that mattered and he echoed that sentiment when asked to comment about the game and he said, “We’re right where we’re supposed to be. We’re 5-2 with a loss to Odessa Permian and a loss to Sharyland. Going into tonight Odessa was 5-1, Sharyland was 5-1 and those are dad-gum good football teams. Other than those two games every time we’ve lined up, including tonight, we’ve won and that’s all that matters.”
“I don’t care about so-called moral victories when we played Odessa tough and Sharyland tough and I also don’t care when people say things like, ‘You should’ve beat Mission by this or you should’ve beat Pioneer by this,’” added Gilpin. “I live in a black-and-white world and we won the game and we’re moving forward and that’s all that matters. I like the fact that the kids are a little subdued even though we just won a district football game against a worthy opponent but I also want them to remember that we work all year long for 10 football games and so far we’ve played seven and we’ve won five of them.”
Gilpin’s squad will be looking to make it three wins in a row when they travel to Valley View Friday night while Pioneer will be hosting the Sharyland Rattlers in the first-ever head-to-head matchup between the two sister schools – also on Friday.