MISSION — Bragging rights are on the line Friday night at Richard Thompson Stadium as Sharyland High and Sharyland Pioneer, two schools separated by 6.3 miles down Shary Road, are set to square off in the sixth edition of “The Snakeskin Classic” in The Monitor’s Game of the Week.
The Rattlers enter as the defending District 16-5A DII champs from a season ago, while the Diamondbacks are looking to dethrone their rival and make their claim as the top team in the district.
Sharyland High currently leads the head-to-head series all-time with a 4-1 record, including two thrilling victories by the Rattlers in the previous two matchups.
In 2017, Sharyland High out-gunned the Diamondbacks 56-49 in a shootout and needed a last-second field goal in 2018 to win, 38-37.
Meanwhile, Pioneer’s only win over the rival Rattlers happened in 2016 by a score of 28-14, as the Diamondbacks eventually went on to capture the District 31-5A title.
Coming into this year’s bout, the Diamondbacks appear to be the team to beat at the 5A level in the Rio Grande Valley. Pioneer sits atop the District 16-5A DII standings at 2-0 (5-1 overall) and are the No. 3-ranked team in the latest RGVSports.com Top 10 poll.
This matchup features two of the top quarterbacks in 16-5A DII with Pioneer’s Eddie Lee Marburger and Sharyland High’s Benji Valdivia leading each offense. Although neither junior played in last year’s meeting, they’ve become crucial to their respective team’s success during the 2019 season.
Marburger leads Pioneer’s air raid offense with 2,035 passing yards and 29 touchdowns on 131 of 205 passing in six games this year. He’s the motor behind center for the Diamondbacks’ fast-paced attack that’s won five consecutive games.
As for Valdivia, he’s thrown for 802 yards and ran for another 341 with 15 total touchdowns in six games for the Rattlers. He leads Sharyland High’s versatile run game, which comes at defenses from different angles with multiple ball-carriers possessing ability to break a big play.
Both offenses hung 30-plus points on their opponents in Week 7, so this year’s rivalry game has the potential to be another high-scoring affair between the Rattlers and Diamondbacks.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Richard Thompson Stadium in Mission.