Through three weeks, the Pioneer Diamondbacks have experienced their share of ups and downs.
First year Pioneer Head Coach Tom Lee scheduled four 6A opponents for non-district play, and the results have varied. After a Week 1 blowout loss to Harlingen, the Diamondbacks responded with a comeback win over Juarez-Lincoln to pick up their first of the season and first under Lee’s tenure.
Last week, Pioneer went down to the wire with the unbeaten Mission Eagles before falling 21-17 in a game where the Diamondbacks had an opportunity to pull out the win late. While Pioneer fell to 1-2 on the year, senior quarterback Jacob Rosales believes the Diamondbacks are coming into their own.
“I just saw a lot of people grew up that game,” Rosales said. “I’m just liking that we’re able to use everyone on the football field. A lot of people are starting to step into the roles we need them to play.”
The biggest role on the offense is the quarterback position and the Diamondbacks are fortunate enough to have two solid options. When Rosales went down with an injury in the third quarter against Mission, sophomore Eddie Lee Marburger, who has rotated series with Rosales, stepped up to finish the game and nearly led Pioneer to their second victory of 2018.
Through three games, the two quarterbacks have combined for 831 passing yards and eight touchdown passes. Lee said to expect more of the same as both guys will have the opportunity to lead the Diamondbacks to success.
“Eddie and Jacob are getting better each week,” Lee said. “Both of our quarterbacks are doing a great job and feeding off each other and it’s making us a better football team.”
Now, Pioneer turns its focus to the final non-district test of the season, a Friday night matchup against the 6A Brownsville Rivera Raiders.
Senior safety Aaron Cuevas, who is back playing football for the first time in two years after focusing on basketball, said competing against their non-district opponents has shown them the potential this Pioneer team has.
“I feel like we have a lot of talent and we have a lot of potential to get better,” I think we’re doing pretty well competing against these 6A teams.”
The Raiders sit at 0-3, and they haven’t been close either. After losses to Brownsville Veterans Memorial (50-13), Edinburg High (44-12), and Valley View (35-3), the Raiders are hungry for their first win of the season as they head into their matchup with Pioneer.
“Rivera is hungry too; they’re 0-3 and they want to get a win before their district season starts,” Lee said. “We got to play a good first half and get after it. We know Rivera is going to come out swinging and give us their best punch, but if we can come out and do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be successful this week.”
Lee feels the Diamondbacks have gotten better each week in all three phases of the game and hopes to improve to .500 before starting district in two weeks.
“We got to get to 2-2,” he said. “We have an open week before Mercedes, so we don’t want to be going into our open week with a loss being 1-3 and getting ready for district.”
Rosales is motivated to put on a show against Rivera and prove the Diamondbacks are going to be a problem for opponents entering district play.
“Even though we’re 1-2, after this we’ll show what we can do and put points on the board,” he said. “Getting a win and a dominating win would be a big confidence booster going into district play.”
Kickoff between the Pioneer Diamondbacks and Brownsville Rivera Raiders is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Richard Thompson Stadium in Mission.