MESQUITE FOOTBALL JA'DARION SMITH

Mesquite's Ja'Darion Smith rushed for one touchdown and caught another scoring pass as the Skeeters rolled to a 52-6 win over Killeen Shoemaker in their playoff opener on Friday in Mansfield.

The Mesquite/North Mesquite rivalry has featured plenty of thrillers over the years.

The 50th installment will certainly be remembered for the milestone, but not for the drama.

The Skeeters utilized big plays on both sides of the ball to run away with a 45-10 victory on Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.

Mesquite improves to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in 11-6A, while the Stallions drop to 2-4 and 0-2 in district.

The Skeeter defense allowed only 189 yards and forced six turnovers—three fumbles and three interceptions courtesy of Dewayne Adams.

The Mesquite offense, meanwhile, hit North Mesquite with four touchdowns of 39 yards or longer.

Quarterback Dylan Hillard-McGill had a 43-yard touchdown run early and then hooked up with Ja’Darion Smith on scoring strikes of 92 and 39 yards. LaDarius Turner had 19 carries for 155 yards and touchdown runs of 47, 6 and 6 yards.

Though the final score might not indicate it, North Mesquite was right in the game in the early stages.

After forcing a three-and-out on Mesquite’s first series, Davion Carter blocked a punt to set the Stallions up at the 7-yard line and quarterback Liam Thornton, making his first start at the position, took it around the right edge on the next play to give them a 7-0 lead.

The Skeeters needed just three plays to answer, as Turner ripped off runs of 20 and 12 yards and McGill eluded pressure and danced through the defense on a 43-yard score to tie it at 7-7.

North Mesquite came right back, marching 81 yards in seven plays. Thornton connected with Thompson on a 51-yard strike to set up a 43-yard field goal by Heriberto Campuzano to give them a 10-7 lead with 5:18 left in the first.

Mesquite again quickly responded, with Turner bouncing off defenders for a 47-yard score to put them in front 14-10 and they would dominate from that point.

A botched snap on a punt led to a 6-yard touchdown run by Turner on the final play of the first quarter and late in the second, Hillard-McGill hit Smith on a short slip screen and Smith did the rest, outracing the defense for a 92-yard score that made it 28-10 heading into the break.

North Mesquite’s turnover woes continued on the second play of the third quarter when Tyler Raleigh-O’Neal recovered a fumble to set up a 25-yard field goal by Danny Castaneda to extend the advantage to 31-10.

The Stallions manage to hang around until early in the fourth, when the game essentially ended in a series of six plays.

After a bobbled snap put North Mesquite in a hole, Adams notched his second interception of the night to put Mesquite in good field position and on the next play, Hillard-McGill found Smith on a short route that he turned into a 39-yard touchdown.

The Stallions fumbled on their next play from scrimmage, and one play later, Turner waltzed into the end zone from six yards out to make it 45-10.

Mesquite returns to action on Friday with a big game against 2-0 Tyler Lee at E.H. Hanby Stadium. North Mesquite is hoping to get back on the winning track but it will be a tough chore on Friday on the road at Rockwall.

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

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