PHARR — The Valley View Tigers made program history last year by qualifying for the postseason, finishing 2018 with a program-best 7-4 overall record.

“It was tough getting there, but this team’s excited to get back into the playoffs,” senior running back Edwin Garcia said. “Knowing what we accomplished last year, I think we can accomplish more this year.”

The Tigers and fourth-year head coach Elifonzo Esquivel Jr. enter the season confident they have the ability to make it two straight appearances in the playoffs.

And if the Tigers do find themselves extending their season, it could be in large part due to the additions of Damian Gomez and Aleksander Gomez, twin brothers who transferred from Mission High.

Damian, a quarterback, and Aleksander, a linebacker, grew up playing football at Valley View ISD before moving to Mission High as freshmen. Now seniors, the two are reunited with their old teammates and ready to contribute to the Tigers.

“We’re excited and confident,” Damian said. “There’s a lot of athletes at Valley View. We grew up with most of these kids, and now they know what it takes to reach that playoff level, so it’s going to be a great season.”

Damian, who has three years of varsity experience, will be directing the Valley View offense behind center. Despite battling injuries, Damian is dual-threat quarterback who accounted for 1,159 passing yards and 17 total touchdowns during his sophomore and junior years.

A broken collarbone ended his 2018 campaign, but he’s fully recovered and ready to lead the Tigers offense after spending three years playing under Mission High head coach Koy Detmer.

“I learned a lot about being a leader from being at Mission and learning from Coach Detmer. I’m trying to bring that over here and help them keep building that playoff tradition,” he said.

He figures to be connecting often with senior receiver Richard Ordaz, who played peewee and junior high ball with Damian.

“It’s a bond that was already there. It just had to be built back up,” Damian said. “It’s been exciting being back together with the gang.”

Leading the Tigers on the defensive side will be Aleksander, a 6-foot tall linebacker who plays with a fire that can be seen and heard from the sideline. As a junior, he recorded 124 tackles and nine sacks.

“I’m just looking to be another piece in the puzzle looking to improve the team. They had a very good season making the playoffs for the first time in school history, and we’re just looking to one-up what they did last year,” Aleksander said.

Valley View is slated to open the regular season with a Week 1 road matchup against Hidalgo at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 30.