PSJA NORTH 21, McALLEN HIGH 20: At McAllen, the Raiders narrowly edged out the Bulldogs in a come-from-behind victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“It was the ugliest game in the world,” PSJA North head coach Marcus Kaufmann said. “It was all a blur.”
Five quarterbacks appeared in the game between both teams. Iziaah Rangel and Trey Elizondo both made appearances behind center for PSJA North.
McHi, meanwhile, trotted out Robert Amador, Hunter Curl and Felipe Magana at quarterback. Magana, who was an all-district wide receiver for the Bulldogs last season, provided a burst of quickness to his team’s offense that caught the North defense a little off guard.
Both the Bulldogs and Raiders had a difficult time establishing a rhythm in the passing game because of the two top-tier defenses in play.
“It was a weird feel and we couldn’t anything going,” Kaufmann said. “They did a great job of knowing what our tendencies were and knowing what we wanted to do.”
The Raiders returned to their power running game and found some success keeping it on the ground. Their ground-and-pound rushing attack was highlighted by sophomore running back Isaac Gonzalez, who ran for more than 100 yards on the night and multiple scores.
Senior defensive back and reigning district defensive player of the year Seven Sanchez had a tremendous game for his team, as the PSJA North defense put the clamps on McHi’s offensive attack.
Sanchez recovered two key fumbles late in the game that set the Raiders up in scoring position. The second recovery, which came with 3 or 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter, helped set up Gonzalez to run in the game winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining.
The Bulldogs end their season at 3-7 overall and 1-6 in district competition, but the Raiders finish the season at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in district play which keeps them in play for a potential playoff berth.
PSJA North can capture the fourth and final 30-6A playoff seed by virtue of a three-way tiebreaker between McAllen Rowe and La Joya. To get in, the Raiders would need a Coyotes’ loss and a Warriors’ win to lock up their spot.
If the Raiders were to advance to the playoffs, they would face Laredo United South on the road in the first round.