With two weeks left in the Valley high school football season, two of the seven football teams from the Mission, Sharyland and La Joya school districts, the Big 7, are already assured of extending their seasons into the University Interscholastic League’s (UIL’s) state playoffs. Of the remaining five teams, four are in the thick of the playoff races in their respective districts.
That leaves only one of the seven that has already been eliminated from playoff contention.
The two teams that have clinched playoff spots are the 7-0 (7-1 overall) Mission Veterans Patriots and the 5-0 (6-3 overall) Sharyland Rattlers. In addition, these two teams are currently atop the standings in Districts 16-5A-1 and 16-5A-2 respectively which means that should they win-out, they will both be assured of claiming outright district championships. This is something that the Rattlers have not done since the 2014 season and something that the Patriots have never done. As for the last time they went undefeated against their district opponents, the same thing goes. The Rattlers have not done so since the 2014 season and the Patriots have yet to accomplish this in their previous 14 years of existence.
The four Big 7 teams that are in playoff contention going into tonight’s games are the 5-2 (5-3 overall) Palmview Lobos, the 3-1 (5-3 overall) Pioneer Diamondbacks, the 3-2 (6-2 overall) La Joya Coyotes and the 3-2 (6-2 overall) Mission Eagles. That leaves the 0-5 (0-8 overall) Juarez-Lincoln Huskies as the only Big 7 team that has nothing left to look forward to but possibly playing the role of spoilers.
With the district races heating up as we head into the next to the last week of the regular season, we will now take a look at each of the three districts involving Big 7 teams and how they’re stacking up.
Thanks to their 48-35 victory over the previously undefeated Brownsville Pace Vikings last week, the 7-0 Mission Veterans Patriots are sitting atop the District 16-5A-1 standings all by themselves. And while all the Patriots have to do to guarantee themselves at least a share of the district championship, is win one of their two remaining games, victories over both the 5-2 Palmview Lobos tonight and the 1-6 Brownsville Lopez Lobos Thursday will earn the Patriots their first ever undefeated district season and their first ever outright district championship.
At 6-1 the Pace Vikings are in sole possession of second place with the 5-2 Brownsville Vets Chargers and the 2-5 Rio Grande City Rattlers remaining on their schedule. Tied for third in this district of Division 1 schools are those same Chargers and the Palmview Lobos, both with 5-2 records. Of the remaining six teams in the district, the 4-3 Donna Redskins have the best shot of breaking into the top four by season’s end and making the playoffs; especially with the 0-7 Brownsville Porter Cowboys and the 2-5 PSJA Memorial Wolverines remaining on their schedule.
Thanks to their 5-0 district record, the Sharyland Rattlers have already clinched at least a share to the District 16-5A-2 championship. However, a victory tonight against 2-2 Valley View will earn Coach Ron Adame’s squad their first outright district title since 2014. At 3-1, the second place Sharyland Pioneer Diamondbacks still have some work to do. Should they win out by defeating 2-2 Roma tonight and 1-3 Edcouch Elsa a week from tonight, they will close out their district schedule in no worse than second place. However, a loss to either team, or worse yet losses to both teams, could result in the Diamondbacks being left on the outside looking in come playoff time; especially with the Mercedes Tigers, the Valley View Tigers and the Roma Gladiators all nipping at their heels with 2-2 records.
The 5-0 PSJA Bears and the 4-1 PSJA North Raiders are leading the way in District 30-6A with only two weeks remaining and will almost certainly claim two of the district’s four playoff spots. The remaining two spots will most likely go to one of three 3-2 teams that are currently tied for third place; the La Joya Coyotes, the Mission Eagles or the McAllen Memorial Mustangs.
Which two of these three teams succeed in extending their season into the playoffs will of course depend on how they each do against their two remaining opponents. With PSJA (tonight) and La Joya (next Friday) still remaining on their schedule, the Mission Eagles have what seems to be the toughest remaining schedule of the three third place teams. The Coyotes have 2-3 Nikki Rowe and Mission remaining on their schedule while the Mustangs have 4-1 PSJA North and Rowe remaining on their schedule, so whichever two teams do punch their tickets into the playoffs will certainly have earned it.