(McAllen, Texas)-The PSJA North Raiders (13-1) were almost perfect! Head football coach, Marcus Kaufmann will agree. “We should have won that game against Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial High School,” says Kaufmann. “We were almost perfect but we just didn’t punch it in that night.” The Raiders lost to the Eagles 20-14 in the Class 5A DI Quarterfinals at Buccaneers Stadium before a crowd of 12,000 fans. The Raiders were just two games away from making a trip to AT&T Stadium for the University Interscholastic League’s State 5A Division I Finals against Aledo High School. The Bearcats defeated College Station to win its 11th state title. “I felt we could have defeated College Station in the semifinals,” says Kaufmann. “Instead, we had trouble scoring in the quarter-finals against Corpus Christi Veterans.”

PSJA North HS head football coach, Marcus Kaufmann led Raiders to first UIL State 5A DI Quarterfinals in 2022. (HSSMImages)

Despite the all expectations that Kaufmann had for his team in 2022, High School Sports Magazine’s All-South Texas Coach of the Year award presented by the Law Offices of Hector Bustos, awards Marcus Kaufmann the top annual award. “This is a great honor and we still have some unfinished business.”

At AT&T Stadium, Brownsville Hanna High School senior, Brownsville Hanna Eagles, a Blue Grey All-American selection, probably had the biggest game of his life as he recovered a fumble, sacked a 4-Star, top notch quarterback as the West defeated the East 20-13. “I can’t believe this! Playing here at AT&T Stadium, this is just amazing,” said senior DE Manrique Cantu. 

Despite his Hanna Eagles not making the playoffs in 2022, Cantu played hard all season by recording 9.0 QB sacks, 10 hurries for 68 yards lost, 147 tackles with 87 solos in career. He also had one interception returned for score. A top academic student, Cantu takes the High School Sports Magazine Most Valuable Player presented by The Law Offices of Hector Bustos. “He’s an outstanding young man. He went through a lot during his freshmen and sophomore years. He gave his life to GOD, and kept working and believing,” said Hanna head coach, Marc Guess. “He earned this award.” 

In 2022, Ale Aparicio (5’10 155lbs) led his Raiders to four rounds deep in the State 5A Division I playoffs with an overall record of 13-1 before losing to Corpus Christi Veterans. “That game was nerve wrecking,” says Aparicio. The soft-spoken junior also led his team to the 7-on-7 State Championships at College Station this past summer and he ended the football season with 1,715 yards passing with 21 touchdowns. He also rushed for 957 yards and added another 17 touchdowns on the ground. For his heroics, Aparicio captures the High School Sports Magazine Most Valuable Player on Offense. “He returns next season as a senior and we are excited. He is well-deserving of this award,” says Kaufmann.

On defense, two players captured the Co-Defensive MVP honors and their head football coaches would agree too. PSJA North HS junior LB Michael Gonzales, a very athletic player at 6’1 215lbs LB was the anchor of the Raiders defense. He was the big-play maker recording 9.0 QB sacks for 45 yards lost, including 14 hurries, 158 tackles, with 80 solos. “He is well-deserving of this award. We get to have him back next season,” added Kaufmann. 
Like Gonzalez, Raymondville High School (4-6, 2-1) LB Hunter Posas, a senior at 6’0 Raymondville HS played offense and defense. He had 10.0 QB sacks 263 tackles 104 solos 22 hurries 2 caused fumbles in his career. On offense, he passed for 200 yards and rushed for another 499 yards this past season. “What can I say, he’s special and I enjoyed being his head football coach,” says Bearkats head coach, Frank Cantu.

Other awards goes to MVP Co-Offensive Lineman MVP from Flour Bluff HS senior Dylan Shaw, a 6’5 290lbs Texas Tech Raiders Signee and Matthew Pinion 6’3 285lbs, Brownsville Veterans Memorial HS. The Co-Defensive Linemen MVP awards goes to Harlingen HS DE 6’0 Pedro Silguero, a Blue Grey All-American Selection, and McAllen HS DT/DE McAllen HS Eddie Baleras 6’3 245lbs, who led his team to 5A DI Regional Finals. Silguero missed most of the season with a knee injury but returned for the playoffs, leading his team to the third round.

Just call both of these next players, “Mr. Excitement” as they capture the Co-Utility MVP. Tyrell Trevino, Mercedes HS, a Blue Grey All-American Selection Texas A&M Kingsville signee and Gunnar Williams, Brownsville Porter HS Valedictorian, Blue Grey All-American Selection, University of Texas School of Business selection. Williams caught 79 passes for 844 yards with 7 TDs with 611 yards rushing and 7 TDs. In the Blue Grey All-American Bowl at AT&T Stadium, he had five catches for 65 yards. 
As for Trevino, (Blue Grey All-American) he was a standout wide-receiver until Mercedes head coach Roger Adame switched him to running back and what a gusty move it was for the Tigers. The moved paid off too. Trevino rushed for 1,476 yards and scored twenty touchdowns. He also caught 41 passes for 422 yards and four more scores. “When I asked him to switch, he just looked at me and said, let’s do it,” says Adame.

On Special teams, the Punter/Kicker MVP is Kali Nguma, Sharyland HS. He connected on 11-of-17 FG made, with the longest from 44-yards. In his career, Nguma set a career kickoff yards record of 11,360 yards. He also converted 121-of-126 PAT with his longest career field goal from 53-yards. The 6’0 senior also led the team with punts with a 38.2 punting average. He landed 65 punts with 19 inside 20 yards. His longest punt went for 69-yards. He is now headed to the University of North Texas to play football. 

Co-Newcomers of the Year awards goes to Los Fresnos QB freshmen Robert Pineda and PSJA North RB Ethan Guerra, freshmen. Pineda started all 12 games and led the Falcons (7-5) to the second round of the state playoffs against SA Brennan while Guerra rushed for 1,105 yards and 13 TDs. Pineda passed for 1, 338 yards and 15 scores. He also rushed for another 908 yards with ten touchdowns. “He was just amazing,” said Falcons head coach, David Cantu. 

Here are High School Sports Magazine’s Coaches of the Year by District and Players selected from the Rio Grande Valley and Coastal Bend areas.

2022 HSSM All-South Texas Coach of the Year
Marcus Kaufmann, PSJA North HS (13-1)
Leads Raiders to first-ever 5A DI State Quarterfinals before losing to Corpus Christi Veterans 20-14 in the 5A DI Quarterfinals. The Raiders outscored its opponents 582-181 with four shutouts. “I am honored to accept this award from HSSM,” says Kaufmann. “It was a great season. Unfinished.”

HSSM District Co-Coaches of the Year
District 32-6A
Manny Gomez, Harlingen HS; San Benito Dan Gomez
Both coaches leads teams to Regional Finals in 6A. Cardinals lost to Dripping Springs in 6A DII and Greyhounds lost to Austin Westlake in 6A DI. “Thanks for this honor but our season wasn’t good enough,” says Cardinal head football coach, Gomez. “Our team played hard. It’s a lot of work that we put in with our coaches and players. This is for our seniors who fought hard.”

District 31-6A Coach of the Year
Damian Gonzalez, Edinburg North
Wins first District title as head coach. Lost to Los Fresnos in first round of Class 6A DI. “This was a great way to finish by winning the district title for the first time in my career as a head coach,” says Gonzalez.

District 15-5A DI Coach of the Year
Patrick Shelby, McAllen HS
Led Bulldogs to 5A DI Regional Finals losing to Corpus Christi Veterans 49-14. Defeated McAllen Rowe and McAllen Memorial to clinch playoff spot as the 4th place team with a 5-5 overall record before reaching the regional finals. “This has been a great season. We just kept fighting,” said Shelby. 

District 16-5A DI Coach of the Year
Kelley Lee, Brownsville Veterans
Led Chargers to Regional 5A DI Finals before losing to PSJA North 35-15. “I loved coaching in the RGV,” says Lee. He has since accepted the head coaching football position at Eastern New Mexico in the Lonestar Conference. 

District 16-5A DII Coach of the Year
Chris Steinbruck, Flour Bluff HS 
leads Hornets to UIL State 5A DII Quarterfinals before falling to Liberty Hill 63-43. In 2021, his Hornets advanced to the State 5A Semifinals. 

District 16-4A DI Coach of the Year
Steve Campbell, Calallen HS 
leads Wildcats to UIL State 4A DI Quarterfinals before falling Boerne 49-19. 

District 16-4A DII Coach of the Year
Port Isabel HS Tony Villarreal
Leads Tarpons to back-to-back 4A DII Bi-District Titles before losing Jarrell in the 2022 Area finals. “It’s a humbling experience. Our community and staff are great. Our players made the commitment. It’s been a tough road to rebuild after COVID-19,” said Villarreal. “We believed in our program.”

District 16-3A DII Coach of the Year
Santa Rosa HS Joe Marichalar
Leads the Warriors to the playoffs for the first since 2017 and lost to Nixon-Smiley 20-14 on a fumble inside the five-yard line as time was expiring. The Warriors finished in second place. “Definitely, It’s going to add urgency. Our team knew we had it. We could have won that game (Jarrell HS) and advanced to the next round. It’s all about competing,’ says Marichalar. “We had not had winning season since 2012. To finish 7-4 overall, was rewarding,” said Marichalar. “Winning this honor was well worth it. This is the pride of Santa Rosa.”

District 16-3A DI Coach of the Year
Rio Hondo HS Rocky James
Leads Bobcats to first title in Class 3A after realignments. “It was great for our school district. Just being able to play with teams with the same enrollments was. Winning the title. It’s unbelievable football in Class 3A once you make the playoffs..

District 16-2A DI Coach o the Year
La Villa HS Daniel Perez leads the Cardinals to back-to-back district titles. 

2022 HSSM Player of the Year Awards—

2022 High School Sports Magazine’s Most Valuable Player Manrique Cantu, DE 6’3 275lbs 
Brownsville Hanna Eagles, a Blue Grey All-American selection; 9.0 QB sacks 10 hurries 68 yards lost 147 tackles with 87 solos in career. He also had one interception returned for score.

Offensive MVP: Ale Aparicio, PSJA North QB
Recovered from injury that kept him out of six games in 2021 and returned to lead his team to a perfect 13-0 record and a State 5A DI Quarterfinals appearance in 2022.

Defensive MVP: PSJA North HS junior LB Michael Gonzales 6’1 215lbs LB 9.0 QB sacks 45 yards lost 14 Hurries 158 tackles 80 solos; LB Hunter Posas senior 6’0 Raymondville HS 10.0 QB sacks 263 tackles 104 solos 22 hurries 2 caused fumbles; 

MVP Offensive Lineman MVP: Flour Bluff HS senior Dylan Shaw 6’5 290lbs Texas Tech Raiders Signee; Matthew Pinion 6’3 285lbs, Brownsville Veterans Memorial HS 

Defensive Linemen MVP: Harlingen HS DE 6’0 Pedro Silguero, Blue Grey All-American Selection; McAllen HS DT/DE McAllen HS Eddie Baleras 6’3 245lbs led team to 5A DI Regional Finals

Utility MVP: Tyrell Trevino, Mercedes HS, a Blue Grey All-American Selection Texas A&M Kingsville signee; Gunnar Williams, Brownsville Porter HS Valedictorian, Blue Grey All-American Selection, University of Texas School of Business selection. He caught 79 passes for 844 yards with 7 TDs with 611 yards rushing and 7 TDs. In the Blue Grey All-American Bowl at AT&T Stadium, he had five catches for 65 yards. 

Punter/Kicker MVP: Kali Nguma, Sharyland HS
11-of-17 FG made Longest 44 yards; Career kickoff yards 11,360 yards; 121-of-126 PAT; Longest Career FG 53 yards; 38.2 Punting average 65 punts 19 inside 20 yards; longest 69 yards

Newcomer of the Year: Los Fresnos QB freshmen Robert Pineda; PSJA North RB Ethan Guerra, freshmen

HSSM 2022 All-South Texas Team

Quarterback: Julian Valdez, Sharyland Pioneer (2,872 yards passing 27 TDs, 893 yards rushing 9 Tds); Osmar Martinez, Lyford (1,302 yards passing, 2,059 yards rushing 17 TDs); CC Veterans Elijah Durrette 3,619 yards passing 40 TDs; Jayden Paluseo, Flour Bluff HS 3,120 yards 41 TDs; Cutter Stewart, Alice HS 2,881 yards passing 39 TDs; Jaime Lopez, PSJA HS 2,737 yards passing 23 TDs; Joaquin Valdez, McAllen HS 2,112 yards passing 24 TDS

Running back: Izaiah Bell, Harlingen HS (1,651 yards rushing), Harlingen High; San Benito HS Fabian Garcia 2,230 yards rushing 29 TDs), San Benito; Kriz Pena, Hanna HS (1,765 yards 14 TDs); Jamal Polley, Edinburg Vela (1,402 yards rushing 20 TDs); Jason Montes, PSJA North 1,711 yards 13 TDs; Alan Guerrero, Sharyland HS 1,408 yards 16 TDs; 

Fullback: Bryan Chavez, Brownsville Veterans (1,721 yards rushing 34 TDs) Eastern New Mexico University signee; Viktor Rodriguez, 6’2 235lbs, PSJA Memorial

Wide receiver: Joseph Graham Jr., 5’10 Sharyland Pioneer; Christian Gamboa 6’3, PSJA High 733 yards 11 TDs; Gunnar Williams, 5’9 Brownsville Porter 703 yards 7 TDs; Justin Navarro, 6’1 Edinburg Vela; Obed Alvarez, 6’2 McAllen HS; 6’1 Christian Echazarreta, McAllen HS; Caleb Salas, PSJA 913 yards passing 11 TDs; Ross Dubose, Gregory-Portland 999 yards 12 TDs; Andres Gutierrez, Zapata HS 905 yards 7 TDs; Alejandro Vasquez, Alice HS 846 yards 11 TDs; Marc Zamorano, Donna HS; Xavier Sanchez 623 yards; Gerardo Gomez, Brownsville Veterans 784 yards 7 TDs; Xavier Sanchez, Mercedes HS; Adrian Guajardo, Raymondville; Oscar Martinez, Lyford HS

Tight end: Julius Arredondo, 6’2 PSJA North, Jesus Hinostrosa, 6’2 LJ Palmview; Colton Harrison 6’3 Gregory-Portland HS 

Offensive line: Raymondville HS 6’5 320lbs Lando Cantu, Raymondville; Nick Gomez 6’3 300lbs; Dante Garcia, 6’2 PSJA North; Roy Reyna, Harlingen High; Joe Derek Vecchio, PSJA North, Nathan Martinez Port Isabel; Kayvin De la Rosa, Los Fresnos; Andres Lara, Brownsville Pace; Eduardo Cano, Brownsville Lopez; Gabe Dougherty, 6’5″ McAllen Nikki Rowe; Tony Garcia 6’4 290 lbs McAllen Nikki Rowe; Thomas Domain, 6’3 285lbs McAllen Memorial HS; OT Jon Pitts La Joya HS 6’6 255lbs; Rio Hondo HS Scott Atkinson 6’1 295lbs; Damyn Zepeda, 6’2 290lbs Hidalgo HS; Lizandro Garcia, 6’4 295lbs Grulla HS; Julian Lopez, 6’2 275lbs PSJA Memorial; Abraham Lozano, Brownsville Rivera HS; James Cadena, Flour Bluff HS; Stephen Flores, Edinburg North 6’4 290lbs; Emilio Rivas, Donna HS; Rudy Sanchez, La Feria. 

Kicker: Eduardo Valdez, Edinburg Vela 11-of-13 made FG Longest 46 yards

HSSM 2022 All-South Texas Team-Defense
Defensive line: Jake Dufner, 6’0 Edinburg Vela; Danny Garcia, 6’2 PSJA North 129 tackles, 6.0 sacks 70 solos; Cole Woydziak, 6’4 Sharyland Pioneer, Heriberto Baleras, 6’2 285lbs McAllen HS; Rey Gonzalez, 6’0 Roma HS; Edward Guerrero Brownsville Pace DE 9.0 QB sacks; Luke Valdez, Port Isabel HS; DE Santa Rosa Adrian Zamora 6’3 76 total tackles 8.0 QB Sacks forced fumble; Christian De La Garza, Brownsville Veterans; Kevin Garcia, Brownsville Pace, Samuel Moreno, Brownsville Porter; LJ Palmview DT/DE Stephen Zeledon 6’4; Angel De la Cruz LJ Juarez-Lincoln 4 QB Sacks 24 solo tackles; Mission HS Jalen Cantu; Rio Grande City DE Jesus Garcia; Aiden Stafford, Rio Grande City DL; La Villa HS Everado Reyes, 6 QB sacks. Manny Vela, Lyford HS. Angel Lomas, La Feria HS; Jaime Munoz, Weslaco East.

Linebacker: Mariano Garcia, San Benito 167 career solos tackles 15.5 QB sacks, 5 INTS, 6 caused fumbles; Stephen Garza, Edinburg North; Keyan Lopez, Rio Hondo HS 168 tackles 35 solos, 6.5 QB sacks; Nova Bejaran DE/LB San Benito 14.5 QB career sacks 87 career solo tackles; Khalid Gholsby, 6’3 220lbs Gregory-Portland 8.0 QB sacks 34 solo tackles; Ernest Hinojosa, Calallen HS 13 career QB sacks 11 solos, 63 total, One INT, 2 Fumble recoveries; Edcouch-Elsa HS LB Marlin Barco, 148 tackles 57 solos, 4.0 QB sacks 15 hurries; Jesus Badillo, Mission Veterans HS Jesus Badillo 6’0 LB 104 tackles 33 solos; Devin Fuentes LB Weslaco HS 76 career solos, 147 tackles; Johnathon Maldonado, Edinburg HS 88 career solo tackles 163 tackles fumble recovery returned 75 yards; McAllen HS Diego Avila 78 tackles 38 solos QB Sack, Interception; Tristan Garcia Port Isabel HS; Daniel De La Cruz, McAllen Memorial 44 solo tackles; Eric Requenez McAllen Nikki Rowe 47 solo tackles; LJ Palmview Andres Pruneda 6’2; Francisco Curry LJ Juarez-Lincoln 86 tackles 34 solos; Gonzalo Cortez, Mission HS 6’4; Damian Carbajal, Hidalgo HS; Daniel Gonzalez, Sharyland HS 74 tackles, 53 solos; Caleb Anaya, Harlingen South HS; Santa Maria HS Jordan Ramirez; Pedro Ortiz, La Villa. Aaron Hinojosa, Lyford HS 6.0 QB sacks. Carlos Roman 6’2 Weslaco East; Joe Lugo, Weslaco East 5 QB Sacks. 

Defensive back: Keyshawn Garcia, Edinburg North; DeAnthony Mireles, San Benito; Albert Vasquez, Harlingen High; Victor Sandoval, Donna HS 6’0 152 career tackles, 82 solos 4 INTs; Skyler Rubio Calallen HS 7 INTS; Joshua Munoz Los Fresnos HS 6 INTs; Gavin Silva, Weslaco HS 6 INTs; Diego Santos PSJA 5 INTs; Anthony Nava, Hidalgo 4 INTs; Nick Gonzalez Edinburg HS 4 INTs, Santa Maria HS Chris Ibarra 4 INTs; Leeroy Jackosn 4 INTs; Peter Jackson San Benito HS 4 INTs; Johnny Martinez PSJA 4 INTs; Mikey Gonzalez, Harlingen South 4 INTs; Alejandro Sanchez Donna HS 4 INTs; SS Rigo Hernandez, Santa Rosa HS 4 INTs 65 Tackles; Chris Hernandez 6’4 McAllen Memorial HS; Rio Grande City HS Alexis Acevedo 6’1; Eddie Valdez, LJ Palmview HS; Eduardo Chapa, 6’2 Rio Grande City HS; Thomas Lopez, PSJA Memorial HS; Victor Solis, Sharyland HS 3 INts; Alek Guzman, Brownsville Rivera HS; Chris Ibarra, Santa Maria HS.