Round 1 of the Class 6A playoffs featured several milestones for RGV teams, from PSJA High picking up its first postseason win since 2008, to Weslaco High securing an 11-win season for the first time under head coach Roy Stroman.
Just four teams remain in the Class 6A postseason after the bi-district round, with three of those teams coming from District 32-6A. Round 2 presents new challenges for the Valley’s 6A teams, with a trio of RGV vs. San Antonio matchups on deck and one RGV vs. Laredo contest.
CLASS 6A DI
SAN ANTONIO BRENNAN AT PSJA HIGH
PSJA High made history during the bi-district round, cruising past Los Fresnos 35-7 en route to its first playoff win since 2008. The victory also marked the eighth straight for the Bears after an 0-3 start to the year.
Leading the charge for PSJA High is senior quarterback Jaime Lopez and a high-flying aerial assault. The four-year starter has thrown for a career-high 3,410 yards and 38 touchdowns this season.
Juniors Ryan Vallejo and Jorge Alanis have played key roles alongside Lopez in the Bears’ explosive offense, with Vallejo hauling in a team-high 60 catches for 1,122 yards and 14 scores, and Alanis has added 1,207 total yards (921 rushing, 286 receiving) and 16 total touchdowns.
They’ll look to continue making history against a red-hot San Antonio Brennan squad riding an eight-game winning streak of their own. A win over Brennan would send PSJA to the third round for the first time since 2005.
Brennan (9-2) cruised past Laredo United South 37-0 during the bi-district round to secure a spot in the area round. They’re led into Round 2 by a balanced offensive attack featuring quarterback Cayden Glass (1,051 passing yards, 12 touchdowns) and running back Jason Love (854 rushing yards 14 touchdowns).
The Bears are 4-0 all-time against RGV opponents in the postseason, including three straight wins from 2020-2022. Kickoff between PSJA High and S.A. Brennan is set for 6 p.m. today at PSJA Stadium in Pharr.
SAN BENITO VS. LAREDO UNITED
San Benito bounced back from its first loss of the season in dominating fashion, opening the playoffs with a 42-10 victory over Edinburg North. The win secured a second straight 10-win season under head coach Dan Gomez and fifth overall since he took over in 2014.
The victory also punched the Greyhounds’ ticket to the area round for a second straight year, setting up a second-round contest against Laredo United (9-2).
The area-round matchup features a pair of potential future teammates in San Benito’s Fabian Garcia and Laredo United’s Atzel Chavez, both having received offers from UTRGV.
Garcia, a three-year starter for the Greyhounds, lined up at running back and receiver for his team this season, racking up 1,864 total yards (1,512 rushing, 352 receiving) and 22 total touchdowns in 10 regular-season appearances.
Chavez, a three-year letterwinner for the Longhorns, already has set career highs in passing yards (3,238) and passing touchdowns (33) this year, including 318-yard, three-touchdown performance during the bi-district round.
The matchup is a rematch from the 2019 postseason, when Laredo United defeated San Benito 47-28 in the same round.
Kickoff between the Greyhounds and Longhorns is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Buccaneer Stadium in Corpus Christi.
CLASS 6A DII
HARLINGEN HIGH VS. SAN ANTONIO HARLAN
Harlingen High opened the playoffs the same way it has the past two season, dominating its opponent. For a third straight year, the Cardinals dismantled their District 31-6A foe, cruising past Edinburg High 42-0 to secure a spot in the area round.
The victory also marked the third straight by Harlingen High since falling to San Benito in Week 9, moving to 8-3 overall on the year.
The Cardinals’ three-game winning streak has been sparked by a move at quarterback, with senior Drew Kornegay assuming the starting role and former QB1 Randy Morales making the move to receiver.
Kornegay has thrown for 671 yards and six touchdowns during his past three starts, also adding 186 rushing yards and one score. Meanwhile, Morales continues to make his presence felt as a receiver, hauling in 24 catches for 204 yards.
They’ll look to continue rolling against District 29-6A champions San Antonio Harlan (11-0). The Hawks squeezed past Eagle Pass during the bi-district round 27-20, securing their second straight area-round berth.
Harlan is led into the game by its quarterback-receiver duo of senior Noah Farris and junior Payton Matthews. Farris completed 170-of-277 passes for 2,610 yards and 26 touchdowns during the regular season, with Matthews on the receiving end of 74 of those passes for 1,033 yards and 12 scores.
Kickoff between the Cardinals and Hawks is set for 7 p.m. today at Cabaniss Athletic Complex in Corpus Christi.
WESLACO HIGH VS. SAN ANTONIO JAY
The 2023 season has been a special one for the Panthers. They secured their first district title since 2019 with a perfect run through the regular season, their first unbeaten season since 1991. The district crown also marked the first for head coach Roy Stroman.
They continued to ride that momentum into the postseason, crushing Mission High 35-6 during the bi-district round to advance to the area round for a second consecutive year.
The Panthers’ march into the postseason was led by a dominant defense and a breakout campaign from senior running back Eli Rodriguez Jr.
Weslaco High’s defense allowed just 224.2 yards and 12.6 points per game during the regular season. They continued their dominance during Round 1, holding the Eagles to just 283 total yards and six points. Mission High entered the contest averaging 435.1 total yards and 34.2 points per game.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez spearheaded the Panthers’ offensive attack all season long, rushing for 1,453 yards and 21 touchdowns in 10 games. He picked up right where he left off during Round 1, rushing for 244 yards and three scores during the Panthers’ bi-district victory.
They’ll look to keep rolling against a San Antonio Jay squad making its first playoff appearance since 2017.
The Mustangs field a dynamic one-two punch in the backfield in quarterback Jackson Gutierrez and running back Jack Mota. The duo has rushed for a combined 2,228 yards and 31 touchdowns this season, led by Mota’s 1,287 yards and 17 touchdowns on 155 carries.
Gutierrez adds another weapon in his arm, completing 84-of-140 yards for 1,330 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Kickoff between the Panthers and Mustangs is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Shirley Field in Laredo.