PHARR — Anytime the PSJA North defense forced an opposing offense into a 3rd-and-long or passing situation this season, head coach Marcus Kaufmann could be heard shouting a four-letter word from the sideline.


That’s when PSJA North senior athlete Jack Lugo would come off the bench, from catching a breather, and run into the game.

Freshly removed from the field after driving down as a ball-carrier, lead blocker and pass-catcher on the Raiders offense, the part-time pass rush specialist showed off his versatility as a football player by also putting pressure on quarterbacks when called upon.

Lugo, the Raiders’ Swiss Army knife, is The Monitor’s 2021 All-Area Football All-Purpose Player of the Year.

“I like to think there’s nothing that’s below me, nothing that’s above me, so I can do anything. I like to think I’m a playmaker, so I just go in there and do what I need to do,” he said. “There’s a lot of good playmakers on that team, so for them to say, ‘We need a big play right now, we need someone we can rely on,’ and just plug me in anywhere, it really meant a lot to me. It’s an honor.”

The 6 foot 2 inch Lugo finished the year with 1,347 all-purpose yards and 19 touchdowns, while helping lead PSJA North to a 10-3 record and into the Class 6A regional semifinals for the first time since the 2009 season. He also ranked second on the team with nine quarterback hurries and three sacks.

“Jack did a great job of filling in wherever we needed him. Whatever play, whatever we needed to get the play to work, he was in the spot to be the missing link,” Kaufmann said. “He’s a good all-around football player. He’s been a great asset for us here at North.”

PSJA North’s Jack Lugo (7) carries the ball against Edcouch-Elsa defender Marlin Barco (36) in a non-district game at PSJA Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Pharr. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Lugo, an Academic All-State selection, ran for 1,104 yards and 18 touchdowns on 92 carries with four 100-yard games. He also hauled in 15 receptions for 243 yards and one score to increase his average to 12.6 yards each time he touched the rock.

No game displayed Lugo’s dominance all over the field quite like his monstrous bi-district playoff performance during a 56-26 win over previously unbeaten Harlingen South on Nov. 12 at Harlingen’s Boggus Stadium.

Lugo admitted he was a bit nervous heading into the game against a stout Hawks defense. After a pregame run in, however, the nerves turned into fuel for his fire.

“We get there and I like to go and shake hands and talk to people, and I forgot his number, but someone didn’t talk to me. Not to quote Michael Jordan, but I took it personally,” Lugo said.

By the time 48 minutes had ticked off the scoreboard, the PSJA North senior amassed 292 rushing yards, six touchdowns, three tackles and two sacks. He also consistently delivered key blocks which sprung fellow teammates Isaac Gonzalez and Jason Montez for long runs.

“All for one, one for all. We were the ‘Three Musketeers’ back there,” Lugo said about the PSJA North backfield. “We lived for each other and died for each other.”

“That’s my brother,” said Gonzalez, who helped clear paths for a number of Lugo scoring plays.

Entering his senior season at PSJA North, Lugo felt like he flew a bit under the radar his first three years. After 13 games of proving he can play wherever and whenever at a high-level, he’s going out as The Monitor’s All-Purpose Player of the Year. Lugo plans to play college football upon graduation.

“It feels like a culmination of all the hard work. The saying is true, ‘You reap what you sow,’” he said.

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