After months of waiting, Mesquite ISD football teams finally returned to the field last week with mixed results.
For North Mesquite and Horn, they are looking to build on season-opening victories, while the other three teams are trying to get back on the winning track.
Regardless of how the games play out on the scoreboard, what the teams are looking for most is improvement, as the start of the district season is right around the corner next week.
Here is a look at some of this week’s action:
Mesquite at South Grand Prairie
7 p.m. Thursday at Gopher-Warrior Bowl
Records: Mesquite—0-1; South Grand Prairie—0-0
The Skeeters did some good things in the opening week, but it was not enough in a 36-21 loss to Coppell.
Mesquite entered the game with some questions that needed to be answered, as it returned only five starters from last season’s 8-4 area finalist team.
The Skeeters rotated a pair of quarterbacks with senior Hunter Nucci and junior Chance Edwards and each had their bright spots. Nucci hooked up with Jacolby Thomas early on a 38-yard completion.
Edwards was an efficient 11-of-17 for 107 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Gervin McCarthey and a 30-yard scoring strike to Thomas.
Mesquite head coach Jeff Fleener said before the season that Thomas had the potential to be a breakout star and he showed flashes with four catches for 73 yards.
The Skeeters also showed they can be balanced, as Anthony Roberts had 20 carries for 91 tough yards.
Also look for talented K.B. Frazier to get more touches in the coming weeks.
Mesquite returned only two starters on the defensive side of the ball in linebacker Jayden Brown and defensive lineman Marlon Thompson-Leatch, who did make his presence known.
The Skeeters have an edge in recent experience going into this week’s game against a South Grand Prairie team that is playing its first game.
The Warriors return 12 starters from last year’s 5-6 bi-district playoff team.
That includes eight on offense, including quarterback Sean Stegall, running back Javarius Crawford and wide receivers Kelan Robinson, Deamikkio Nathan and Josh Nicholson, the latter two of which were all-district selections.
All-district offensive guard Chase Wyatt returns on the line.
South Grand Prairie returns only four starters on defense, but they include first-team all-district linebacker Marsel McDuffie and first-team cornerback Jalon Williams.
North Mesquite at Plano West
7 p.m. Friday at John Clark Stadium
Records: North Mesquite—1-0; Plano West—1-0
The Stallions and Wolves have each endured their share of struggles of late.
Since a 10-3 run to the regional semifinals in 2015, North Mesquite has not had a winning season and posted a 2-8 mark last year.
Things have been even more dire for Plano West, who had only five wins in the previous five seasons and endured a 34-game losing streak during that stretch.
However, both found a fresh slate to their liking, as each will enter Week 2 coming off of season-opening victories.
The Stallions started off on the right foot with a 20-6 win over Fort Worth Trimble Tech.
North Mesquite shot itself in the foot a handful of times early on, putting the defense with its back against its own goal line but that unit rose to the occasion, forcing two turnovers, holding Trimble Tech on fourth down four times and allowing only 190 total yards on the night.
Quarterback Liam Thornton had a solid performance, completing 15-of-29 for 217 yards and two touchdowns and also showed his potential on the ground.
Kobie Norman was expected to be the workhorse in the backfield and he was productive with 13 carries for 114 yards and a score. Jonathan Armstrong led the receivers with four catches for 96 yards and a touchdown and Greg Sherfield also had a scoring grab.
Defensively, Zamoray Richardson had a key interception in the end zone to end one drive and also had a pick-6 called back because of a penalty, while Ashton Williams also had an interception.
Casey Edwards led the defense with nine tackles, Tristan Layson had eight tackles, including two for loss, and Jonathan Perez also had eight stops.
Defense was also a big storyline for Plano West, as they held Wylie to 153 yards and had two takeaways in a 28-0 shutout effort.
The Wolves leaned on the ground game and Tabren Yates was up to the challenge, rushing for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 22 attempts.
Quarterback Greg Draughn was 6-of-10 for 75 yards and a touchdown pass to Jackson Stambaugh, who had three grabs for 56 yards.
Odessa Permian at Horn
7:30 p.m. Friday at E.H. Hanby Stadium
Records: Horn—1-0; Permian—1-0
Horn’s Week 2 match-up was expected to be with traditional powerhouse Highland Park. However, due to positive COVID-19 testing, the Scots were forced to cancel their first two games.
At the last moment, the Jaguars were able to reschedule one state power with another, as Odessa Permian agreed to travel East for a clash of 1-0 teams.
Horn, who had its 11-year run of playoff appearances come to an end last season, took its first step toward starting a new streak with a 31-24 win over Pearce last week.
The Jaguars have featured some of the most prolific passing attacks in the state during the last decade, but were powered by the ground game against the Mustangs.
Junior Camden Tyler broke off a 94-yard touchdown run to highlight a 14-carry, 191-yard performance, that also included another score. Fellow junior Eddryk Ruff also topped the century mark, with 14 attempts for 105 yards and a touchdown and Darrius White had five carries for 60 yards and a score.
Overall the Jaguars averaged 8.7 yards per carry (45-393) as a team.
Horn did not go to the air much as in previous years, but Trey McGill kept Pearce honest, completing 7-of-16 passes for 111 yards, with Tosta Emory leading the receivers with three catches.
Defensively, Cylan Terrelonge led the Jaguars with 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Marquis Edwards had six tackles, as did Kamaurion Crawford who also had a fumble recovery. Tarance Johnson made two tackles for loss and Charles Demmings provided the play of the night, with a one-handed interception in the final minute to secure the victory.
Permian also got off to a strong start after a 47-35 victory over Abilene Cooper.
The Panthers, who were 7-5 last season, saw the growth they were hoping from quarterback Harper Terry. The senior threw for 107 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 106 yards and a score.
Senior Terran Limuel had six carries for 98 yards, Lucas Salazar and Tristan Johnson rushed for touchdowns and Permian finished with 300 yards on the ground.
Defensively, Kayden Baze led the team with eight tackles, Parker Gwilliam had seven stops, Bryce Woody had an interception and Amarion Garrett recorded a pick and a fumble recovery.