BY LUIS RUBIO | SPECIAL TO THE MONITOR
EDINBURG — The PSJA North Raiders stunned the Edinburg North Cougars with a late 6-yard touchdown run from running back Isaac Gonzalez to earn a 20-13 victory Thursday at Richard R. Flores Stadium.
The first quarter was a defensive showdown, as both the Raiders and Cougars’ defenseS held each other scoreless.
“Edinburg North did a great job of keeping the ball away from our offense,” PSJA North head coach Marcus Kaufmann said. “That first drive, they took 7 or 8 minutes off the clock and then we drove the ball down the field and missed the field goal and then again they took the ball the rest of the first quarter and we only had the ball three times on offense. It was one of those games where they played ball control and kept the ball away from us.”
During the second quarter, the Cougars’ offense came to life scoring two touchdowns to go up 13-0. Both scores came from Edinburg North quarterback Robert Gonzalez on a 27-yard pass to wide receiver Ricky Gonzalez and a 6-yard quarterback draw to cap off a 40-yard drive with 5:26 to go in the first half.
After giving up two first-half touchdowns to the Cougars, the Raiders’ defense buckled down and held the Cougars scoreless the rest of the game and its offense, which scored 48 points last week against Edinburg Economedes, came to life.
With 37 seconds remaining in the first half, Raiders freshman quarterback Sergio Aparicio led an impressive 62-yard drive that was helped by a 15-yard defensive pass interference penalty, by finding junior running back Isaac Gonzalez for a 6-yard touchdown as time expired in the first half.
“That was a big play from our quarterback,” Kaufmann said. “He grew up and we started leaning on him pretty heavy and he started making some plays at the very end (where) it was just him. We had a play and he goes and runs around and throws a touchdown pass… he did a heck of a job. It’s one of those growing things, he’s a freshman and he grows up before our eyes.”
The Raiders blocked a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter to keep the score at 13-7.
It wasn’t until late during the fourth quarter with 8:08 remaining that the Raiders went 60 yards down the field in nine plays and scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Aparicio to junior wide receiver Jack Lugo to tie that game at 13 after a missed PAT.
After holding the Cougars to a three-and-out and forcing a punt with 3:51 left, the Raiders held all the momentum and were looking to capitalize on it with a late game-winning touchdown.
The Raiders drove 61-yard down the field and with 1:09 left, Gonzalez bounced off of several Cougars defenders for a 6-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 20-13 lead and victory.
“He ran, he was cramping up and he ran,” said Kaufmann. “He broke like eight tackles and it was a great run and it was one of those (that) makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.”
PSJA North next faces PSJA High, while Edinburg North will battle Edinburg Economedes.