EDINBURG, Texas (Valley Central) – Robert Vela High School’s Jamal Polley ran for four touchdowns against Weslaco East to earn him Athlete of the Week honors. 

Polley’s running attack in the SaberCats 49-3 win against the Wildcats propelled them to the second round. Entering the game last Friday, Polley knew he would put his mark on the game.

“Our coaches, they just trusted in me,” said Polley. “They said they were going to give me the ball almost the whole game, and I just had to do what I did.”

Polley knew his success wasn’t based on just his ability in the backfield. It takes a solid offensive line up front, and a great gameplan from the coaches.

Polley made sure his offensive line knew how important they were to his big night.

“All the holes were open,” said Polley. “The o-line stepped up. I talked to them during the half. I just told them I needed them. Coach believed in me, and we just got the job done.”

Jamal has had to fill some big shoes in his junior season. Replacing star running back PJ Rivera, most thought the Sabercats’ run game would be less explosive.

Instead, Polley wanted to prove his worth. He wanted to show what he is capable of in the backfield.

“A lot of people doubted me because of PJ, but he’s a good athlete,” said Polley. “I just had to step it up. I knew the coaches were going to believe in me, and I just had to believe in everyone else.”

Vela now faces Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial High School on Nov. 18. For Polley and many other underclassmen on the Sabercat squad, this year’s playoff run is for the seniors.

The senior leadership has been a huge piece to Vela’s identity. They want to make sure their season doesn’t stop here. 

“They’ve been great role models. They just keep telling us to keep our heads up, and I’m just doing it for them. I don’t want to see them go home early,” said Polley.

Their next game will be played at Buccaneer Stadium at 7:30.