PHARR No. 1 PSJA North played host to No. 5 Los Fresnos in the Game of the Week and proved why the Raiders are the top-ranked team in the Rio Grande Valley and No. 10 team in the state, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football’s latest Class 5A Division I poll.

The Raiders rolled 54-17 over the Falcons on Friday at PSJA Stadium in Pharr to extend their regular-season winning streak to 12. Los Fresnos falls to 1-1 overall while the Raiders improve to 2-0.

PSJA North’s defender Mikey Gonzales, left, goes up high as he pressures Los Fresnos quarterback Robert Pineda, right, during a non-district football game at PSJA Stadium Friday, September 01, 2023 in Pharr. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

“We wanted to make sure we tried to put together a full four quarters. We played with emotion tonight for the first time since last year,” PSJA North head coach Marcus Kaufmann said. “We’ve been kind of going through the motions in practice, going through the motions, then the crowd got into it early and it made us play some football.”

PSJA North set the tone as defensive back Leroy Palacios came away with an interception on the first play of the game. The Raiders offense took over from there and kept the points coming until the clock showed zeroes.

PSJA North’s Leroy Palacios, right, gets past a Los Fresnos defender after an interception during a non-district football game at PSJA Stadium Friday, September 01, 2023 in Pharr. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

Quarterback Julius Arredondo tossed a pair of touchdowns to Jaden Fuentes and punched in another on the ground. He finished with 9-for-13 with 146 yards passing and 15 yards rushing. Fuentes pulled off the hat trick with two touchdown grabs in the first half and a 32-yard scoring run to start the second half.

“We just came out here with the fire and intensity that we needed, and we’re going to keep it going that way for the rest of the season,” Arredondo said.

PSJA North’s Jason Montes ran for more than 100 yards and a touchdown, and Ethan Guerra had 95 rushing yards and one touchdown. Defensive end Danny Garcia got in on the scoring fun with a 2-yard touchdown run late, and backup quarterback Darren Garcia connected with Markus Rendon for another PSJA North touchdown.

PSJA North’s Jaden Fuentes, left, scores a touchdown while tackled in the end zone by a Los Fresnos defender Cesar De Leon, right, during a non-district football game at PSJA Stadium Friday, September 01, 2023 in Pharr. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

“We had to focus up, and we’re a good team when it’s time to lock in. We came in and did our thing, pounded the ball and came out with a win,” Fuentes said.

Los Fresnos quarterback Robert Pineda gave the Falcons some life early as he broke loose for an explosive 75-yard winding touchdown run that started off-tackle to the left and ended racing down the right sideline with PSJA North defenders in pursuit. Pineda finished with 101 yards passing and 106 yards rushing.

Falcons kicker JJ Contreras drilled a 29-yard field goal during the third quarter and linebacker Cade Stumbaugh recovered a PSJA North fumble in the end zone for a late defensive score.

Los Fresnos moves on to play host to PSJA High (0-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Leo Aguilar Memorial Stadium in Los Fresnos.

PSJA North is back in action against Laredo United South (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at PSJA Stadium in Pharr. Last year’s non-district meeting between the Raiders and Panthers turned out to be PSJA North’s closest regular season contest a 26-21 road victory.

“We had to come back to beat them last year,” Kaufmann said. “That’s a really good, solid ball club. They’re a big, strong football team, and they’ll be a good test for us next week.”

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