MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Pioneer’s Ariadna Lona is not afraid of full contact on the defensive line.

The senior is the only girl on the Diamondback squad this season. Lona began her football journey in middle school. What drew Ariadna to the sport were the helmets and pads.

At the beginning, she originally thought football was just for boys.

“At the end of seventh grade, I thought, ‘Well, I’m just going to ask if I can join,’” Lona said. “They said, ‘Yeah. There’s been girls before me.’”

Lona never looked back after. Her father was all in favor of her playing football, but her mother was a little nervous at first.

After Ariadna finished her first full season, her mother was fully onboard. Despite her mother’s early skepticism, as well as others, Lona never let that phase her.

“I don’t really care what people think,” Lona said. “If they say anything, I don’t really pay attention.”

Lona fully committed herself to the Diamondback program once she hit high school. Ariadna participated in off-season work and weights leading up to the regular season.

Just like a diamondback’s venom, her commitment and work ethic began to spread throughout the Pioneer program. 

“Seeing her push herself, like even go against the biggest guys on our D-line without fear, without a second thought, it really does kind of make us think, like dang. We kind of got to step it up a bit,” Chris De Leon, junior defensive lineman, said.

Aside from her teammates, her coaches took notice, too.

“She’s embraced the grind, and she’s embraced the brotherhood,” Eddie Galindo, Pioneer Head Football Coach, said. “She’s got an opportunity, and she’s made the most of her opportunities, and she’s just part of the family.”

For girls interested in playing football, Lona said, “If it’s one of your dreams, keep on trying to pursue it. Have no fear.”

Lona certainly shows no fear of going toe-to-toe in the trenches. 

Pioneer faces Rio Grande City in its next matchup on Friday, Sept. 1.