When the University Interscholastic League announced its new realignment back in February, the initial impression for many was that the 6-5A Division II football race would be decided between Poteet and South Oak Cliff.
The teams have done nothing to dispel that belief and will take undefeated district marks into their showdown when the Pirates (4-2, 3-0) travel to face the Bears (2-1, 2-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Kincaide Stadium.
Poteet has actually played double the amount of games as South Oak Cliff.
The Pirates’ two losses came at the hands of quality opponents in Lake Highlands and Midlothian Heritage. They have a rivalry win over West Mesquite, a forfeit in its district opener against Thomas Jefferson and have won their last two 6-5A Division II games over Spruce and Hillcrest by a combined score of 107-23.
The Bears shook off a season-opening 41-3 loss to Class 6A heavyweight Duncanville with back-to-back district wins over Spruce and Hillcrest by a combined score of 119-3 before having its bye last week.
Poteet quarterback Jaylond Police has completed 60 percent of his passes (74-of-123) for 1,073 yards and 13 touchdowns with only three interceptions.
Police has also been effective on the ground, with 44 attempts for 308 yards and five scores, Xzaveon Jeans (50-318, 4 TDs) is coming off one of his best games and Jacoby Kahey also has four rushing scores.
Marcel Jackson has been the favorite target on the outside, with 24 receptions for 415 yards and seven touchdowns, but Kennan Puckett (15-131), D’Shaud Turner (13-250, TD) and Charles Bradley (10-180, 3 TDs) have also been reliable.
They will try to maintain that productivity against perhaps the best defense they will face this season, led by lineman Vernon Henderson (16 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks), linebacker Jai Jones (15 tackles) and defensive back Jimmy Wyrick (12 tackles, 3 TFL).
The Bears offense starts on the ground with college prospect Cameron Davis, a senior who has 25 carries for 349 yards and four touchdowns, while senior Mikeviun Titus (17-187, 3 TDs) has also been effective.
Transfer Kevin Jennings has been solid at quarterback, completing 27-of-36 passes for 441 yards and six touchdowns, while Jordan Mayes is also 6-for-6 for 140 yards and a pair of scores.
Another tough aspect when South Oak Cliff decides to air it out is there is no go-to receiver, as eight players have at least three catches and six have touchdown grabs.
The Poteet defense has been active, particularly in the last two weeks. Senior Malek Harrison and senior Nicholas Deville are tied for the team lead with 26 tackles. Stephen Kirk has 19 tackles and Demarques Taylor has tallied 17 stops. Harrison also has a team-high three sacks, while Reggie Williams has three of their nine pass breakups.
Though these teams are now district foes, there is not a lot of history between them. In fact, the last meeting came back in the 2016 playoffs, when Poteet posted a 45-37 win in the regional semifinals on their way to the state semifinals.