Going into Thursday night’s battle of the only two undefeated teams remaining in District 31-5A, the Pioneer Diamondbacks and the Edinburg Vela Sabercats, it was a given that only would emerge with their perfect record intact. Early on and throughout the first half it was looking as if which team that would be would not be known until the final seconds ticked off the clock as the Edinburg Sabercats clung to a slim 21-14 lead at the intermission.
However Vela scored early and often in the third quarter to take a 42-14 lead going into the fourth. The Sabercats then added insult to injury by tacking on another score in the fourth quarter, while holding Pioneer scoreless throughout the second half, to make the final score 49-14 Sabercats.
Pioneer’s first score of the game was scored by Bobby Acosta when he hauled in a 16-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Tyler Bulthuis with 8:53 remaining in the first quarter. The Diamondbacks’ second, and as it turns out final, score of the game came with 8:10 remaining in the second quarter when senior fullback Salvador Gonzalez took a hand-off from Bulthuis and ran up the middle of the Sabercats’ defense 59-yards to make the score 21-14 Vela at the time.
After the game Pioneer head football coach Jason Wheeler commented on his team’s first loss of the season when he said, “We played toe-to-toe with them for the first half and I believe that we earned their respect. But we gave up some big plays defensively in the second half and we couldn’t get anything going offensively. Even so I’m proud of the kids because I don’t think we quit and we kept our composure really well.”
Despite the loss the Diamondbacks still control their own playoff destiny so Wheeler’s job now is to prepare his team for the final three games of the district schedule in hopes of securing one of the four playoff spots
“We have Veterans Memorial on Friday of next week,” Wheeler said. “We’ve had two Thursday night games in a row so we’ll have an extra day to prepare for that game which I think is good. Then we’ll have a big game against Sharyland and then we’ll have Roma. Our goal is to get into the playoffs before the Roma game.”
With the loss the Diamondbacks drop to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in district play.