MISSION — It was a historic night Friday at Richard Thompson Stadium for the Sharyland Pioneer Diamondbacks.
After falling 1 yard shy of the program’s first playoff win a season ago, the Diamondbacks handled their unfinished business by dominating San Antonio Southside 59-14 to advance to the area round next week.
“Our kids were hungry. Since last year, losing that game on the 1-yard line, we had opportunities to win. We’re just excited with the way we played tonight, all three phases were unbelievable,” Pioneer’s Tom Lee said after his first playoff victory as a head coach. “We’re not done. We have higher goals this year and we’re going to represent our district with pride.”
The Diamondbacks offense only had possession of the ball for five minutes in the opening half, but that didn’t seem to slow down Pioneer as quarterback Eddie Lee Marburger dropped 42 points on the Southside defense.
Marburger exploded for first-half touchdown runs of 20, 53 and 64 yards, but the junior’s passing put him in the Rio Grande Valley record books.
Marburger entered the game with 49 touchdown passes, one shy of tying the all-time RGV single-season touchdown passing record set by Mission Veterans’ Landry Gilpin just last year.
During the first quarter, Marburger tied the record at 50 with a 7-yard touchdown toss to Lavar Lindo. During the second, Marburger broke the record with his 51st touchdown pass of the year on a deep dime to Evan Maldonado for a 52-yard score, sending the Diamondbacks into halftime with a 42-0 lead.
“I just want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me this opportunity. I’m just very thankful for my teammates. I love my guys,” Marburger said after the win.
The quarterback finished the game with 325 air yards on 19 of 23 passing, 155 rushing yards on seven carries and six total touchdowns.
“That’s one of the best quarterbacks in the state and in the country. He’s amazing,” Maldonado said about Marburger.
While it was a record-breaking night for Marburger and the Diamondbacks, the Pioneer defense came out and made a statement of its own by pitching a first-half shutout.
“Tonight, we used all the motivation we got all week with ‘we’re not very good’ and ‘our defense is not very good, we haven’t played anybody.’ All those things were on our bulletin board. I think we proved a lot of people wrong in San Antonio,” Lee said.
Pioneer defensive back Marco Oviedo came through with a forced fumble that was jumped on by teammate Ryan Bulthuis, one of the many plays the Diamondbacks defense made on the night.
“We say ‘11 brothers are hard to beat,’ and we really got after it today,” Oviedo said. “We jelled as a unit, had a really good week of practice. We’re just a family and we really balled out today. I’m proud of my guys.”
Next up for Sharyland Pioneer (10-1, 6-0) is an area-round matchup against Pflugerville Weiss (9-2, 6-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cabaniss Stadium in Corpus Christi.
“We got to keep this same mentality — all gas, no brakes,” Maldonado said.