PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) — When it’s game time, there’s no one PSJA North (5-0, 2-0) head football coach Marcus Kaufmann would rather have under center than junior quarterback Ale Aparicio.

“Ale’s a baller, he’s an ultimate competitor,” Kaufmann said. “If we stuck him out on basketball court, not a good basketball player, but he’d find a way to win the ballgame.”

Aparicio scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in PSJA North’s 28-21 victory over Vela last week.

The junior had circled the clash against Vela since last year.

In 2021, Aparicio suffered a collarbone injury against Vela in the first half. The injury sidelined him for the rest of the game.

Vela won 24-0. The injury drove the PSJA North to come back stronger.

“When I came back from injury last year we (quarterbacks) had split time, so coming into this year I was worried playing time,” Aparicio said. “Putting all that work in the offseason and just coming out here in the weight room has really helped me where I am right now.”

The victory over perennial Valley powerhouse Vela puts the Raiders in the driver’s seat in District 15-A DI.

After dropping down to 5A this year, the Raiders think a deep run in the playoffs is a realistic possibility.

“Knocking them down has really put confidence and gave us hope and faith we can go deep,” Aparicio said. “Not many people believed we could beat Vela and they still don’t believe we can go far, but we plan to prove people wrong.”

“No Westlake’s, no Judson’s and that deal,” Kaufmann said. “There’s still a bunch of good football teams. I think we can match well all the way through. Everyone in this district can. Whoever gets out can make a good run.”

PSJA North’s next game is on Friday, Oct. 7 against Palmview.