PHARR The Brownsville Veterans Chargers and PSJA North Raiders are set to run back their third-round playoff battle from a season ago as the two collide in the Region IV-5A Division I semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday at PSJA Stadium in Pharr.

Brownsville Veterans is riding an eight-game winning streak, while PSJA North has not lost a game this season as winners of 12 straight.

The Raiders got the better of the Chargers in last year’s regional semifinal, winning 35-15 at Sams Memorial Stadium in Brownsville to punch their ticket to the regional final. Both teams enter this year’s playoff matchup coming off impressive area-round wins to set up an all-Rio Grande Valley third-round showdown for the second season in a row.

PSJA North quarterback Alejandro Aparicio (3) fake handoffs the ball in a Region IV-5A DI bi-district playoff game against Donna High at PSJA Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Pharr. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

“They’re a very much-improved football team,” PSJA North head coach Marcus Kaufmann said about Brownsville Veterans. “They’re doing a great job over there. They’re very, very well-coached, they’re crisp, they got it all put together.”

The Chargers (10-2) earned their spot back in the regional semis by taking down defending Region IV-5A DI champion Corpus Christi Veterans 17-7 last week in Corpus Christi.

Brownsville Veterans ran for 247 yards against the Eagles with touchdown runs from Alvin Trevillion and Gilbert Trillo, and picked up key defensive stops down the stretch to oust Corpus Christi Veterans from this year’s playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Raiders (12-0) ran over Victoria East in last week’s area-round matchup, 42-7. PSJA North sophomore running back Ethan Guerra erupted for four rushing touchdowns, and senior quarterback Ale Aparicio threw one touchdown to senior receiver Markus Rendon and ran for another. The Raiders gave up just 165 yards of offense to the Titans, whose lone score came during the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.

Brownsville Veterans’ Gilbert Trillo with the ball against McHi on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023 at Sams Memorial Stadium in Brownsville. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

The Chargers enter Round 3 scoring 39.4 points per game while giving up 13.7 points to opposing teams. Brownsville Veterans averaged 413.6 yards of offense while holding opponents to 263.6 yards per game defensively during the regular season.

The Raiders have rolled all year with an average of 46.1 points per game and have given up just 52 points all season defensively for an average of 4.3 points per game. PSJA North’s offense put up 493.1 yards per game and surrendered just 124.1 yards per game on defense.

Forty-eight minutes of football in Pharr on the Friday after Thanksgiving will determine which Rio Grande Valley team will keep its season alive with a spot in next week’s Region IV-5A Division I final.

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