Mesquite had one of the biggest turnarounds in the region this season.
A year after winning just one game, the Skeeters posted a winning record and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Mesquite (5-4) is not content to rest on those laurels, though. They will look to keep the charge going when they hit the road to take on Waco Midway (8-1) at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Panther Stadium in a Class 6A Division I bi-district playoff game.
The Skeeters are coming off back-to-back losses against Rockwall (41-21) and Longview (55-24), but there were positives to take from both games against two of the top teams in the region.
Mesquite started the season with a rotation at quarterback and while they have still used it at times, Dylan McGill has taken a majority of the snaps. The junior has completed 56 percent of his passes for 911 yards and eight touchdowns and is also averaging better than seven yards per carry (85-619) with five scores.
The Skeeters feature one of the top running backs in the area in La’Darius Turner, who has 160 carries for 1,126 yards and 11 touchdowns. Devin Davis (21-428, 5 TDs) gives them a big target on the outside and averages better than 20 yards per reception and Ja’Darion Smith and Kybran Frazier have also proven capable of making big plays.
Defensively, Mesquite is giving up 25.9 points and 320.8 yards per contest. Chris Henry returned an interception for a touchdown a week ago and the strength is on the line with standouts O’Tay Baker, Osaretin Obadeyi, Sam Smith and Jaxon Turner
They will try to slow down a Waco Midway team that dropped a 37-7 decision to Euless Trinity in the season opener, but responded with eight straight wins en route to the 12-6A title.
The Panthers, who advanced to the state championship game a year ago, have one of the best running backs in the state in James Fullbright, who rushed for 1,800 yards last season and is on pace to eclipse that total this year.
Fullbright is coming off a 211-yard, three-touchdown performance in a win over Belton, but he is not a one-man show. Nick Jimenez threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns and he spread the ball around to a deep group of receivers, led by D’Ante Thomas and Will Nixon.
The Waco Midway defense is giving up 20.5 points per game. Linebacker Marcus Johnson, who averages nearly 14 tackles per game, leads that group and other players to watch include linemen Carson Byrd and Braden Endsley, linebackers Jahden Brown, Lance Jones, Ty’rike Brooks and Craig Dawson and defensive backs Trevius Hodges and Parker Nall.