Horn knows a thing or two about late-season magic and they are hoping to conger some more up during the next two weeks.
A year ago, the Jaguars sat at 0-7 before not only reeling off three straight wins to close out the regular season to make the playoffs, they added a pair of postseason victories, as well, advancing to the regional semifinals.
They find themselves in a similar position heading into Friday’s cross-town rivalry match-up with North Mesquite, which is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
Horn (2-6) is 1-3 in 11-6A after last week’s 49-32 loss to Rockwall-Heath and trails Tyler Lee by one game in the battle for the fourth and final playoff berth.
The Red Raiders have a very difficult match-up on Friday against Longview, meaning the end-of-the-year meeting with Horn will likely be for that final spot.
But stranger things have happened and the Jaguars do not want to introduce any three-way tiebreakers into the equation, something they can avoid with a victory over the Stallions (2-6, 0-4).
Horn quarterback Davazea Gabriel has thrown for 1,204 yards and seven touchdowns, but does have 10 interceptions. He has also picked his spots well on the ground, rushing for seven scores.
Ben Wyatt has 96 carries for 574 yards and eight touchdowns to pace the ground attack, with Charles Crawford (40-292, 3 TDs) and N’Kowsi Emory (35-223, 2 TDs) also averaging better than six yards per carry.
Cameron Jackson leads the team with 20 receptions for 289 yards, while Wyatt (18-260), Donovan Payne (12-246) and Emory (10-180) also have double-digit catches.
They will face a North Mesquite defense that is looking for a bounce-back performance.
The Stallions were solid early on, allowing 20.6 points per game during their 2-1 start, including an impressive 33-14 win over playoff contender Lakeview.
However, during their five-game losing streak, they are surrendering 52 points per game and have been outscored 176-17 the last three weeks.
North Mesquite was held to only 56 yards of total offense in last week’s loss to Longview.
The Stallions shifted Liam Thornton to quarterback, freeing up Kamaury Thompson to try to make an impact in other ways.
Thompson has accounted for more than 1,200 total yards (750 passing, 341 rushing, 115 receiving) with 11 touchdowns.
Samuel Inyang (58-412, 5 TDs) leads the team in rushing and sophomore Kobie Norman (48-215, 2 TDs) had also made a nice impact in recent weeks.
North Mesquite also has a big-time playmaker on the outside in Torrion Smith, who has 30 catches for 399 yards and five touchdowns.
The Horn defense gave up 47 points a week ago, but only 307 yards of offense, as they were often put in bad field position by four turnovers.
That unit has been led by Nick Garcia (77 tackles, 5 TFL), Keidrin Walker (76 tackles, 3 INT), Marquis Edwards (75 tackles), Quavon Grant (66 tackles, 5 TFL), Jaden Mitchell (66 tackles) and D’Edrick Dotson (63 tackles, 5 TFL) and Evan Williams (56 tackles, 3 INT).
Horn holds a 9-6 edge in the all-time series and has won three in a row, including a 56-0 victory last season.