Mesquite running back Anthony Roberts breaks free for a 70-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that proved to be the go-ahead score in the Skeeters’ 27-13 victory over North Mesquite on Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.

In this era of no-huddle, spread offenses, it is not uncommon to see more than 100 points scored in a game.

The first half of Friday’s 52nd installment of the Mesquite-North Mesquite rivalry, however, resembled a blast from the past.

The Skeeters and Stallions waged a defensive battle that saw both offenses struggle to move the ball.

By the point halftime rolled around, the two teams had combined for only 132 yards of total offense and there were zeroes on the scoreboard.

For local Mesquite ISD historians, the game might have conjured up memories of the teams’ 1983 battle, which ended in a 0-0 tie.

The points did arrive in the second half, and while North Mesquite drew first blood, it was Mesquite who was able to strike in all three phases of the game to claim a 27-13 victory at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.

The Skeeters, who now lead the all-time series 29-22-1 with their sixth straight victory in the rivalry, improve to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in 10-6A, while the Stallions fall to 1-6 and 0-3.

In addition to the defenses being in top form in the first half, the wind was also a factor and it played a role early in the third quarter, as well.

With the breeze at its back, North Mesquite was able to pin Mesquite deep and after a stop and a short punt, took over near midfield.

Keyed by a 32-yard scramble by quarterback Luke Seder, the Stallions moved 52 yards in five pays, with Cam Tyler bulling in from two yards out for the game’s first touchdown with 3:37 left in the frame.

The Skeeters would immediately grab the momentum right back, though, blocking the extra-point attempt, with Quinton Evans scooping it up and returning it all the way to the end zone to make it a 6-2 game.

That seemed to energize Mesquite, as on the next play from scrimmage, Anthony Roberts busted through a hole in the middle and outraced the defense on a 70-yard touchdown run to give them a 10-6 advantage.

Roberts’ night mirrored the game, as he had only two yards on his first three carries, but finished with 13 attempts for 144 yards.

The Skeeter defense forced a quick three-and-out and the offense put together its most efficient drive of the night, moving 69 yards in six plays, with Chance Edwards finding Jamarion Woods for a 24-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter to push the lead to 17-6.

In a moment of foreshadowing, the Mesquite defense then delivered a big play when a tipped ball was hauled in by Tyler Manoy for an interception that led to a 34-yard field goal by Ricky Echartea to make it 20-6.

Josh Williams then delivered the final blow, as he picked off a pass and took it back 56 yards for a touchdown to extend the advantage to 27-6 with only 5:12 remaining.

The Stallions would find the end zone one more time on a 1-yard run by Seder with 22 seconds left, but that would only provide the final 27-13 margin.

Seder was North Mesquite’s most effective offensive weapon, rushing 16 times for 94 yards, with many of those coming on non-designed scrambling plays.

Edwards was 9-of-16 for 80 yards and the touchdown pass to Woods, who had four catches for 36 yards, while Gervin McCarthy added three receptions for 35 yards.

The scoring chances were few and far between in the first half, which saw penalties and missed opportunities such a dropped passes kill drives.

The Stallions had the better field position, thanks in large part to the wind at their backs at the start, and they caught the first big break when on the first play of the second quarter, a punt bounced off a Mesquite player and North Mesquite recovered at the 20.

The Skeeter defense responded, pushing the Stallions backward and putting them in a fourth-and-12 situation. Now heading into the wind, North Mesquite opted to go for it and the pass was incomplete, turning the ball over on downs.

The Stallions put together the most sustained drive of the half later in the second quarter, and a 33-yard run by Seder moved them into the red zone at the Mesquite 17.

Mesquite again pushed back from there, as a negative passing play was followed by a sack by Cornelius Darden and Ashton Donald to put North Mesquite in a fourth-and-21 hole.

The Stallions threw to the end zone, but Dalton Martin was able to come away with the interception for the Skeeters with 1:21 left in the half and it would remain scoreless through halftime.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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