MISSION — The stars were out Friday night as Sharyland Pioneer quarterback Eddie Lee Marburger and Mission Veterans receiver AJ Gonzaque, two APSE all-state players, took turns exchanging highlight reel plays at Tom Landry Stadium.
Ultimately, Marburger and the Diamondbacks as they held on for a 49-35 win over Mission Veterans in a pivotal District 16-5A Division I West Zone matchup. The victory keeps Pioneer unbeaten at 3-0 overall and 2-0 in district play, while the Patriots fall to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in 16-5A DII.
Marburger and Gonzaque, who play 7-on-7 football and train together during the offseason, put on a show.
Marburger opened the game with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Graham, to which Gonzaque responded with a 2-yard score on a fade to the right corner of the end zone off the arm of Patriots quarterback Ricky Reyna.
Then, Gonzaque went on to record a hat-trick with three touchdown catches and more than 150 yards receiving. On his final touchdown of the night, Reyna received the snap and scrambled away from multiple Pioneer rushers before fumbling and recovering the ball to keep the play alive. After evading two Diamondbacks, Reyna hurled the ball across his body and into the air in the direction of Gonzaque who out-jumped three defensive backs to bring down the pass and power into the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Marburger answered as he turned on the burners for a 72-yard touchdown run through the heart of the Mission Veterans defense. The rushing touchdown was Marburger’s third of the night, while the Pioneer gunslinger also threw three touchdown passes.
Pioneer’s Graham, Tristan Castillo and JJ Snyman were on the receiving end of Marburger’s three touchdown tosses, and the Diamondbacks defense added a score when Trevor Huddleston jumped on a Patriots fumble in the end zone.
Next up for Sharyland Pioneer (3-0, 2-0) is the “Snakeskin Classic” against rival Sharyland High (2-0, 1-0) slated for 4 p.m. Wednesday at Richard Thompson Stadium in Mission.
Meanwhile, Mission Veterans (1-3, 1-1) will have more than a week to prepare for its meeting against Sharyland High, set for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.