The stakes do not get any higher for Horn and West Mesquite on the final day of the regular season, as both teams are battling to extend their seasons.
The Jaguars (3-6) meet Tyler Lee (5-4) for the fourth and final spot out of 11-6A at 7:30 p.m. Friday at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
The Wranglers (2-7) take on Texarkana Texas High (5-4) at 7 p.m. Friday at Tiger Stadium. They are part of a three-team tie for fourth place in 7-5A Division I and West Mesquite needs to not only win on Friday, but also needs for Tyler John Tyler to defeat Sherman.
Horn fended off a gritty North Mesquite team last week for a 28-14 victory.
Ben Wyatt has 22 carries for 109 yards and four touchdowns, with a long of 46 yards. Three of those scores were set up by long runs by quarterback Davazea Gabriel, who had 158 yards on only nine carries.
However, Gabriel was injured in the third quarter and did not return, clouding his status for this week. Braylon Monroe came on in relief and completed 3-of-6 passes for 44 yards.
The Horn defense shut out North Mesquite in the second half to preserve the lead.
Nick Garcia was all over the field with 14 tackles and one of the team’s 11 sacks.
Jayden Givens and Marquis Edwards each made 11 stops, Quavon Grant recorded nine tackles and three sacks and Maliq McDonald also had three sacks.
Tyler Lee became the latest victim in the Longview machine a week ago, falling in a 49-7 rout.
The Red Raiders have been competitive with the rest of the playoff teams, though, suffering close losses to Mesquite (18-14) and Rockwall (35-32).
The winner of this game will be the second seed in Class 6A Division II and will have a road game, likely against Waco Midway in the bi-district round.
West Mesquite was feeling good after knocking off Poteet but came back down to Earth with last week’s 56-27 loss to Sherman.
The teams traded big plays early on, but the Bearkats reeled off 35 consecutive points in a 12-minute span in the second and third quarters to turn a tie game into a 49-14 lead.
Quarterback Kevin Jennings had a nice game, completing 25-of-42 attempts for 321 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers—Javion Jackson, D’Erian Mitchell, Cornelious Piper and Tajyrian Turner.
The Wranglers will need to take better care of the ball, though, after committing three turnovers against Sherman.
Texas High rolled over Wylie East in a 40-13 victory a week ago. It was the second straight win for the Tigers, who had taken care of Sherman in a 27-14 win in their last outing.
Texas High is looking to return to the playoffs after having their streak of 17 consecutive postseason appearances snapped last year.
West Mesquite or Texas High would be the fourth seed in the playoffs and go on the road to take on Lufkin, the 8-6A Division I champion who is ranked No. 5 in the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football state poll.