MISSION — Last week, Sharyland High watched its rival celebrate a big win after an interception return put the final nail in the Rattlers’ coffin at Richard Thompson Stadium.

But on Monday night, Sharyland High turned the tables.

Sharyland senior defensive back Alan Gonzalez came up with a clutch interception during the final minute and returned it for a 50-yard touchdown as the Rattlers emerged victorious over the Mission Veterans Patriots 40-25 at Richard Thompson Stadium.

The win locks the Rattlers into the District 16-5A Division II West Zone No. 2 seed, while the loss moves the Patriots into the West Zone’s No. 3 seed as both are headed to play-in games Saturday for a spot in the UIL Class 5A playoffs.

“Five days ago, we were on this same field after an emotional loss that was hard to come back from. But when you’re in this business, when you’re competing, you have to be able to bounce back and have a short-term memory and I’m so proud of our guys,” Sharyland head coach Ron Adame said. “Mission Veterans brought the best out of us tonight and there was no question they were going to do that. The irony here is five days ago in that same end zone, there was a nail in the coffin pick-six, and in this game five days later, the shoe was on the other foot. I’m just so proud of our kids.”

Sharyland quarterback Benji Valdivia led the Rattlers offensively as the senior finished with four touchdown throws. Receiver AJ Madrigal and running back Rolie Saenz each brought in a pair of scores.

After giving up three touchdowns to the Patriots during the first half, the Sharyland defense flipped a switch during the third and fourth quarters.

The Rattlers managed to hold a high-flying Patriots’ offense to just one second half touchdown, and Gonzalez capped off the defensive performance with his pick-six. Gonzalez also added one rushing touchdown during the first half as he scored on both sides of the ball.

“It was a tale of two halves and our defense rose to the occasion and that was good to see,” Adame said.

For the Patriots, Ricky Reyna ran for one touchdown and threw three more. Mission Veterans senior receiver AJ Gonzaque went over 150 yards receiving on the day and had two highlight reel touchdowns for the Patriots.

Next up for Sharyland High (3-1, 2-1) is a play-in game against visiting PSJA Southwest (2-3, 1-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Richard Thompson Stadium in Mission.

Meanwhile, the Patriots (1-4, 1-2) will have to go on the road for their play-in game as Mission Veterans will face Edcouch-Elsa (4-1, 2-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bennie Layton Sr. Memorial Stadium in Elsa. The winner of each play-in game will advance to the UIL Class 5A Division II state playoffs.

[email protected]