SAN ANTONIO — With the scoreboard showing a tie game and 1:48 remaining in Friday night’s Class 5A Division II area round playoff matchup between Sharyland Pioneer and Marble Falls, Eddie Lee Marburger and the Diamondbacks knew exactly what they needed to do.

Marburger promptly led his Diamondbacks downfield with swift running and smooth passing to Tristan Castillo, which set Pioneer up at the Marble Falls 16-yard line with under 20 seconds to go.

On the very next play, the UTSA signee Marburger received a low snap out of shotgun, rolled to his right and saw receiver Joseph Graham Jr. running across the field just shy of the end zone.

Marburger delivered a strike across his body into Graham’s arms as the sophomore wideout then broke two tackles and dove across the goal line to score the game-winning touchdown to give Pioneer a thrilling 54-47 victory at Heroes Stadium to advance to the Class 5A Division II Region IV semifinals next week.

It’s the second straight year the Diamondbacks (7-0, 4-0) have advanced to the third round of the playoffs and the second time in school history.

“Every week we work what’s called 9-1-1 and that’s our two-minute offense. I knew giving Eddie the ball with 1:48, we’d have every opportunity to go down and score,” Pioneer head coach Tom Lee said. “He (Marburger) did what he’s done all year. It’s what he’s done the last three years. Big time players make big time plays in big time games. And if you haven’t heard about Joseph Graham Jr. yet, you sure heard about him tonight.”

Marburger finished the game with five passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns, while Taylor Esparza added one rushing touchdown of his own.

“We were very confident that we were going to score. They left 1:48 left on the clock, that’s a perfect amount of time for us,” Marburger said. “We just had a feeling that we were going to score, we just believed in ourselves as a whole.”

But the breakout star of Friday night’s area round game was the sophomore wideout Graham.

He played freshman football for the Diamondbacks last year, but the playmaking receiver has quickly established himself as one of the top pass catchers in the Rio Grande Valley in less than a season.

Graham totaled four touchdown grabs on the night, upping his season total to 10.

“We work on the two-minute drill every day. We bounced back and kept that confidence in our team,” Graham said about the game-winning touchdown play.

“He’s a guy that’s worked hard, a guy that’s believed in himself and his teammates have believed in him. He has been clutch for us down the stretch these last four weeks,” Lee said of Graham.

Marburger credited his newest weapon for making him look good.

“You make it look easy for me,” Marburger said to Graham. “No one can guard him, it’s that simple.”

Marburger’s five touchdown throws increased his career total to 93 touchdown passes, which is the RGV’s all-time record.

Sharyland Pioneer now moves on to the third round of the playoffs for a matchup against Georgetown East View (7-4, 5-2), which beat Alamo Heights 48-14 in the area round to advance. Time, date and location have yet to be determined.

“This is another great opportunity for us. We got a lot of unfinished business from last year,” Lee said. “We want to get to that next round, and we know Georgetown East View is a good team. They got some good players, but we got some players too. It’s going to be another great high school football game.”

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