PSJA North senior Isaac Gonzalez has been a model of consistency throughout his four years as a star running back for the Raiders.
He set the tone during his first varsity game as a freshman piling up 118 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries to kick off the 2018 season.
In every game since, Gonzalez has been the Raiders’ workhorse and the motor that makes the PSJA North offense go.
He’s on pace to eclipse the 4,000 rushing yard mark for his career in the next game or two as he sits at 3,863 yards through 32 games played. He’s also scored 40 career touchdowns when combining rushing and receiving scores.
Gonzalez approaches his role with an “all gas, no brakes” attitude.
“Go hard every single play, can’t get tired, gotta keep pushing no matter how many times I touch the ball,” he said of his running style. “My mentality is to run hard every single play, put in work so when those lights come on Friday night, I do what I got to do.”
PSJA North fifth-year head coach Marcus Kaufmann has witnessed Gonzalez’s growth not only as the lead back in the Raiders’ offense, but as a leader who teammates look to for direction.
“When he first got here he was more of a shifty running back, but if you watch towards the end of the year last year, he started turning into a power back. He’s an extremely strong kid and he runs hard and with a lot of pride. A lot of kids kind of feed off of him,” Kaufmann said.
Heading into Week 3, Gonzalez leads District 31-6A in rushing with 244 yards and one touchdown on 35 carries this season. He also has one catch for 25 yards and one touchdown.
A boost to Gonzalez’s game this year is an experienced offensive line with all five starters back from PSJA North’s second-round playoff team last season. Left tackle and three-year starter Ram Martinez said it’s been a blast opening running lanes for Gonzalez.
“He has trust in us and we have trust in him knowing that he’s going to hit that hole full speed,” he said.
Gonzalez has recorded rushing totals of 133 and 111 yards during the Raiders’ 2-0 start this year, including a two touchdown day in PSJA North’s 35-0 Week 2 blowout win against Edcouch-Elsa.
Now, Gonzalez and the Raiders are set to kickoff District 31-6A action against Edinburg Vela (2-0, 0-0) in The Monitor’s Week 3 Game of the Week. The winner between RGVSports.com’s No. 1 and No. 3 teams will take an early, yet significant lead over the other in the district title race.
The Raiders and SaberCats are slated for a 7:30 p.m. start Friday at PSJA Stadium in Pharr.