PHARR — Edinburg Vela, the unanimous No.1 team in the RGVSports.com top 10 poll, has faced a top-five opponent in each of the first three weeks of the regular season.
The SaberCats have dispatched them all, after defeating PSJA North 24-0 in their District 31-6A opener and The Monitor’s Game of the Week on Friday night at PSJA Stadium.
“It’s very critical to get on the good side of the fence when you’re starting district play, regardless of the opponent,” Edinburg Vela head coach John Campbell said. “We were playing to me probably one of the toughest teams in the district, so to be able to get that ballgame out of the way and be able to be 1-0 in district is significant.”
The SaberCats (3-0, 1-0) defense flirted with a shutout in its first two games, allowing six points to McAllen Memorial and three points to Harlingen High, but they kept the Raiders (2-1, 0-1) from getting on the scoreboard.
Senior defensive end Jake Dufner recovered a PSJA North fumble in the final minutes to put the icing on the cake. He also added a sack and had multiple tackles for loss.
“Our coaches say we’re fast, we’re athletic,” Dufner said. “This is probably one of the fastest defenses we’ve had, and our coaches have been preparing us well for each game. We’re just moving on to the next.”
“Any time you get a shutout, that’s hats off to the kids first and foremost and the defensive staff,” Campbell said. “It takes a whole lot of work and execution to get a shutout in today’s football, particularly against a team like PSJA North, so I’m very pleased with their performance.”
Senior running back Ted Galvan led the SaberCats’ offense with 168 rushing yards and touchdown runs of 72 and 59 yards.
Versatile athlete Bobby Garcia scored Edinburg Vela’s third touchdown on a wildcat run from behind center.
“I just have to thank my line. The holes were there and I just hit ’em,” Galvan said. “We started off with a good win to start district play, but we still have work to do.”
The PSJA North defense kept the Raiders in the game as they came away with two interceptions in the red zone by defensive back Cookie Ramirez and linebacker Donovan Herrera.
Offensively, the Raiders lost starting quarterback Ale Aparicio to injury during the first half and he did not return.
“We’ll get the offensive problems and personnel fixed. We’re lucky we have a bye next week so we’ll figure out who we want there and polish it the next week, so that’s a positive,” PSJA North head coach Marcus Kaufmann said. “We’re going to be fine. We just need to find the parts. We’re not as deep as we need to be as a program, so we’re going to have to find those on the other side of the ball.”
The SaberCats face a short week as they host La Joya High (1-2, 0-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Richard R. Flores Stadium in Edinburg.
Meanwhile, the Raiders enter their bye week at 2-1 overall. PSJA North is scheduled to resume District 31-6A action Sept. 24 against La Joya High at La Joya ISD Stadium in La Joya.