(Pharr, Texas)-More than 13,000 fans watched the State 5A Division One No.7 PSJA North Raiders (12-1) fall to the Brownsville Veterans Memorial HS Chargers (11-2) on Friday night at PSJA Stadium 45-28 in the Class 5A Division I Regional Championships. The Chargers will now play host to Corpus Christi Miller (13-0) on Friday at Sams Memorial Stadium with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. “I’m so thankful to have a great coaching staff. This is why we are here today. Our team knocked off a great PSJA North team tonight,” said first-year head football coach, JC Ramirez.
The Raiders got off to a great start, well, almost. On the ensuing kickoff, head football coach Marcus Kaufmann wanted to make an early statement and it paid off too. Well, almost. The Raiders did recover the onside kick but that was ruled no good by the TASO officials. That ruling sparred a personal foul by a Raiders player. It cost the Raiders 15-yards too, with the TASO officials placing the football at the Raiders 40-yard line.
The Chargers didn’t waste anytime as QB Storm Montoya needed only two plays to get his team into the endzone on a 25-yard touchdown pass to 6’1 WR Gerry Gomez to take an early 7-0 lead, drawing cheers from the Brownsville Veterans fans.
PSJA North went to work. The Raiders called on No.24 senior RB Jaden Fuentes to carry the ball. He bursted up the middle to midfield. He would fumbled. The Chargers took over. That fumble didn’t spook the Raiders as they forced the Chargers to punt.
With the Raiders crowd cheering on, the Raiders showed why they were state-ranked with sophomore running back Ethan Guerra breaking loose on a 70-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:54 left in the first quarter.
The Chargers took its next possession with a fired up Raider defense. DT Danny Garcia broke through the Brownsville Veterans line and reached out and strong-armed Montoya for a quarterback sack. Garcia showed his emotions to the Raider fans with his fist-waving high. Montoya was not in awe. He just kept playing. Three plays later, Montoya spotted RB Gilbert Trillo on the same touchdown route on a post for a 32-yard score. The Chargers led 14-7. From this point on, the Raiders were flagged numerous of times for 5-yard offside penalties which stopped key drives.
With 8:55 left in the half, Trillo would make another great catch from Montoya to put the Chargers up 21-7, shocking the Raiders. Still, the never-say-die Raiders found a way to get right back into the game. Senior quarterback, Ale Aparicio needed just three plays to find the red zone on a great run. RB Guerra bulled his way to get his second touchdown of the day as the Raiders trailed 21-14 with 5:33 left in the half.
Then came the trickery. Brownsville Veterans head coach Ramirez made the call. It was simple too. The Chargers scored on a flea-flicker for a 40-yard touchdown pass to Trillo to make it 28-14 right before the half with 2:32 remaining. “That play was huge,” said Montoya. “Our team played lights out today.”
Things started to worsen for the Raiders as they faced fourth down in their own red zone. A high snap over Guerra’s head forced him to make a play out of nothing that gave the ball back to Veterans inside the Raiders 35-yard line. A few plays later, the Chargers nailed a field goal to take a 31-14 lead at the half and never looked back.
Trillo finished the day with four touchdown and one interception to lead his team. Overall, the Chargers rushed 55 times for 255 yards and passed fives times for another 156 yards and three scores. For the season, Brownsville Veterans has rushed for 4,258 yards and passes for another 1,153 yards. (HSSMImages/DeLeon/Montalvo)
Brownsville Veterans DE Miguel Selvera forces fumble on PSJA North QB Ale Aparicio while RB Jaden Fuentes is tackled by Chargers defense. The Chargers advances to the UIL State 5A Division I Quarterfinals for the first time in school history.