McALLEN — Edinburg Vela head coach John Campbell felt confident in the returners he had on the offensive line and in the backfield to lead the SaberCats’ offense this season.
Through three weeks of Texas high school football, Campbell was right on the money.
Edinburg Vela senior running back Jamal Polley ranks No. 5 in the state in rushing among all classifications with 743 yards and nine touchdowns on 50 carries. He’s averaging 247.7 yards a game and 14.9 yards per carry.
He also has three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown for the 3-0 SaberCats, who are set to face McAllen Memorial (2-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in their District 15-5A DI opener at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“We felt really good going into this year about our ability to run the ball. We have a lot of returning linemen, obviously Jamal Polley is a dynamic running back, but you have to give credit to Dimas (De Leon) and Cyrus (Golat) in terms of sharing the load and being just as efficient,” Campbell said following a 42-35 non-district win over Weslaco East last Thursday.
Polley torched the Wildcats for 327 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 21 carries in the win.
This week, Vela will be facing another program known for running wild against the opposition in the McAllen Memorial Mustangs, something the SaberCats have been susceptible to in non-district play.
Backs Sebastian Aleman and JP Garza are averaging 110 and 107 yards per game, respectively, and have found the end zone four times each. Receiver Dylan Goodson provides another playmaking threat on the Mustangs’ offense with 217 total yards and three touchdowns on nine touches.
McALLEN HIGH AT PSJA NORTH, 7 P.M. THURSDAY
The top-ranked Raiders and sixth-ranked Bulldogs are both unbeaten, but no team has figured out a way to stand up to the powerhouse that is this year’s PSJA North squad.
The Bulldogs (3-0) earned hard-fought victories against Edinburg High and Mission High to start the season before taking care of business against Mercedes 35-9 last week.
PSJA North, ranked No. 9 in Class 5A DI, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, will put its 13-game regular season winning streak on the line against McHi. The Raiders (3-0) have rolled over every team they’ve faced this season in PSJA High (41-0), Los Fresnos (54-17) and Laredo United South (35-0).
LA JOYA PALMVIEW AT McALLEN ROWE, 7 P.M. THURSDAY
The Lobos and Warriors finished in a three-way tie for third place in last year’s District 15-5A standings. A points tiebreaker kept Palmview on the outside, while Rowe made its way into the playoffs. Now, the Lobos (2-1) and Warriors (1-2) are set to open district play against each other tonight at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium. While it’s the first game of district for both, a victory for either will be key when tallying the final 15-5A DI standings at the end of the regular season.
LA JOYA JUAREZ-LINCOLN AT RIO GRANDE CITY, 7 P.M. THURSDAY
Rio Grande City (1-2) broke into the win column with a 35-0 Week 3 victory over La Joya High. Now, the Rattlers will look to keep the momentum rolling as they open 15-5A DI competition against the Huskies.
Meanwhile, Juarez-Lincoln (0-3) has scored 46 points through three games this season. In 2021 and 2022, the Huskies finished each season with 35 points scored in 10 games. The Huskies will look to take another step forward in district play.