PHARR — The Edcouch-Elsa Yellow Jackets swarmed the PSJA Southwest Javelinas 35-21 in a crucial District 16-5A Division II East Zone matchup Thursday night at PSJA Stadium.

With two teams who mirror each other in the hunt for a spot in a 16-5A Division II play-in game, it was a battle of the rushing attacks.

“We did well. We wanted to give kids some different looks. Overall, I’m happy with the performance; they came out and played well,” Edcouch-Elsa head coach Christian Navarro said.

PSJA Southwest jumped early on the Jackets when defensive back Adrian Hernandez recovered an Edcouch-Elsa fumble. After a 34-yard run from Angel Hernandez set the Hogs up at the Edcouch-Elsa 1-yard line, sophomore fullback Edgar Villarreal plunged in for a Southwest touchdown to go up 6-0, but the extra point was blocked.

On the next three Edcouch-Elsa offensive possessions, the Yellow Jackets put their early mistake behind them and went to work.

A flurry of consecutive touchdowns from running backs Shawn Alvarado, Justin Galan and Joshua Gomez gave the Yellow Jackets a comfortable 21-6 lead. The defense surrendered just 56 first-half yards to the Javelinas.

“We’re young, but we need to execute. We need to learn from our mistakes and try to minimize them at all times. It’s like I tell them, ‘every good football team will make mistakes, but it’s the ones that grow from them and learn from them are that are going to succeed,” Navarro said.

During the second half, it was Galan’s time to take over.

On a third-and-1 early during the third quarter, the senior fullback flexed his muscle by breaking multiple tackles and reversing field on a 49-yard touchdown run, which pushed the Yellow Jackets further ahead 28-6.

Galan also put the finishing touches on the game as he recorded a hat trick with three rushing touchdowns, the third of which came on a 1-yard run up the middle with 6:31 left to play.

Hernandez was the Javelinas’ best weapon as the versatile slot back had racked up 139 all-purpose yards with one touchdown on the ground.

Galan led Edcouch-Elsa with 112 rushing yards, while Gomez and quarterback Brandon Cortez added 72 and 65 yards, respectively.

Ever Crispin and Alvarado also played key roles as the Edcouch-Elsa offensive line made room play after play.

“It’s something we enjoy, especially with the linemen. They really enjoy allowing every back that we have the opportunity to be successful,” Navarro said.

With the win over PSJA Southwest, the Yellow Jackets now own the inside lane in the race for the No. 2-seed in District 16-5A Division II’s East Zone.

Next up for the Yellow Jackets (3-1, 1-1) is a 16-5A DII matchup against PSJA Memorial (0-3, 0-1) scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at PSJA Stadium in Pharr. A win over the Wolverines would lock Edcouch-Elsa into the No. 2 slot in 16-5A Division II’s East Zone.

Meanwhile, the Javelinas (1-2, 0-1) will look to bounce back as Southwest travels to take on the Mercedes Tigers (4-0, 2-0) at noon Wednesday at Tigers Stadium.

bramos@themonitor.com