LAREDO — PSJA North started and finished on fire, rolling to a 56-28 victory over Eagle Pass on Friday night at Shirley Field in a Region IV-6A DII area-round matchup.
The Raiders (10-2, 6-2) advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2009 and for the third time in program history. PSJA North will face Austin Westlake (12-0, 7-0) in Round 3 at 4 p.m. Friday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“This is a great group of kids. They focused up and did what they needed to do and pretty much dominated again,” PSJA North head coach Marcus Kaufmann said after the Raiders’ second straight 56-point performance. “It’s a little bit of redemption for us from last year’s deal, but we’re still going. We got another game in the Alamodome next week.”
PSJA North came out aggressive from the start as it received the opening kickoff and marched downfield for a 6-yard touchdown run by Jason Montez. They followed it up with two more unanswered touchdowns before Eagle Pass was able to get on the scoreboard.
“We had to build the momentum early. We came out with a good start, then we came out after halftime and did our jobs and got the ‘W,’” senior running back Isaac Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez finished with 151 all-purpose yards, while Jack Lugo added 165 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. The sophomore bruising back Montez totaled 124 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Raiders.
“That’s the way we roll back there with me, Isaac and Jason,” Lugo said. “We all block for each other, we all die for each other. Like the three musketeers, all for one and one for all.”
PSJA North entered the year with the motto “unfinished business,” referring to last year’s second-round forfeit due to COVID-19 concerns. Now, nearly one year later, the Raiders dominated in their second-round opportunity to punch their ticket to the regional semifinals.
“Last year we had unfinished business, so we had to come out here and prove our point,” Montez said.
Sophomore quarterback Ale Aparicio ran for one score, threw for another to receiver Andre Matamoros and added a successful two-point conversion on the ground.
Aparicio and sophomore defensive back Leroy Palacios came up with key interceptions towards the end of each half to shut the door on Eagle Pass’ hopes of a comeback.
The Raiders gained 543 yards of total offense, and defensively limited an Eagle Pass team that scored 54 points during their bi-district win last week. PSJA North’s defense made life miserable for Eagle Pass quarterback Issac Stanwick with constant pressure and tight coverage downfield. The Raiders defense made Eagle Pass’ pass-first offense turn to the run, which took the Eagles out of sync.