By RAUL GARCIA
McALLEN — Edinburg North and Edinburg Vela kick off District 31-6A play at Richard Flores Stadium at 7:30 tonight to battle it out on the gridiron for a mark in the winner’s column.
The Cougars (0-4) plan to use defensive pressure to stop the SaberCats (3-1).
Vela is the reigning two-time District 31-6A champions, and going in its passing game is running on all cylinders with junior quarterback Anthony Sotelo under center.
The SaberCats are averaging 239 passing yards per game and 112 yards rushing.
Sotelo has connected with Justin Cantu and Justin Vega for 60- and 66-yard touchdown receptions, respectively.
Sotelo has passed for 898 yards and 10 touchdown passes on the season.
The last time these two teams met, Edinburg Vela won 56-7.
“We take our games one at a time,” Edinburg Vela head coach John Campbell said in an earlier interview. “We are a threat because we are a balanced team.”
Edinburg North head coach David Gonzalez believes the Cougars could easily have been 2-2 or 3-1 if they had taken care of the ball a little better.
“We are going into this game like we would any other,” Gonzalez said. “Our guys have been working hard and it’s going to be a good game.”
He said they will be relying on their defense, and plan to apply pressure on Sotelo’s passing game to slow down the SaberCats offense.
“We don’t just want to let Sotelo sit in the pocket,” Gonzalez said. “We want to make him move and slow him down.”
Gonzalez said his team has talked about taking care of the ball and executing on both sides.
Edinburg North will look to junior quarterback Mike Rodriguez to execute the offense. He has thrown for 245 yards and two touchdowns
Rodriguez connected with Sergio Quintanilla in the end zone three times on the season. He is averaging 51.3 yards receiving per game. His longest reception came last week against McAllen Rowe for 36 yards.
“Our quarterback is doing really good,” Gonzalez said. “He’s connecting with his receivers and they have made some big plays.”