MESQUITE VS NORTH MESQUITE FOOTBALL

Mesquite and North Mesquite lock horns for the 50th time in their rivalry. The Skeeters hold a 27-22 edge in the all-time series.

The city’s oldest rivalry will be renewed on Friday as Mesquite and North Mesquite meet for the 50th time at 7:30 p.m. at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.

The teams have traded dominant streaks and have engaged in some classics over the year and as rivals will do, there is some disagreement on the overall series record.

The Skeeters posted a 42-22 win a year ago for their first victory since 2015.

According to them, that gave them a 27-22 advantage in the all-time series.

In the eyes of a North Mesquite fan, they will likely say it is 26-22-1.

The game of dispute took place back in 1983. Both teams were in the thick of the playoff picture heading into the final game of the season. The two teams waged a defensive struggle from the opening kick and ended in a scoreless tie.

Normally, that is how it would stand in the record book.

However, a winner had to be declared in order to determine the final playoff team. The teams were tied in penetrations, so the ruling went to first downs, in which Mesquite held a 12-9 advantage to earn the playoff berth.

There are always bragging rights at stake, but this season the game is also important in terms of the standings in the rigorous 11-6A, where every week matters in the end.

The Skeeters (5-1, 1-1 in 11-6A) got back on track after suffering their first loss to Horn with a 49-39 win over Rockwall-Heath a week ago.

Mesquite features one of the best running backs in the area with LaDarius Turner, who has 78 carries for 708 yards, an average of nine yards per attempt, with nine touchdowns.

Quarterback Dylan Hillard-McGill is a solid complement in the ground game, rushing for more than eight yards per carry (49-413, 6 TDs) and RJ Bonner had a 35-yard touchdown run a week ago.

The passing game can light it up when it is clicking, as well. Hillard McGill has thrown for 659 yards and five touchdowns. Ja’Darion Smith (14-230, 3 TDs), Kevin Hodges (9-164) and K.B. Frazier (8-92, TD) are all playmakers on the outside.

They will try to solve a North Mesquite defense that is giving up 29.2 points per game after last week’s 35-17 loss to Tyler Lee. The Stallions gave up 247 rushing yards in the setback and that will be an area of emphasis as they try to slow down the Mesquite rushing attack.

Offensively, North Mesquite is still trying to put everything together.

They have a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in Kamaury Thompson. The Navy-pledge has thrown for 750 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 337 yards and three scores.

Samuel Inyang leads the team in rushing with 339 yards and five scores and Torrion Smith is an explosive option on the outside with 20 catches for 327 yards and five touchdowns.

But all three players also play both ways, which is a tougher task as the season progresses.

Mesquite allowed less than 10 points per game in non-district but has seen those numbers go up since starting to face the more high-powered attacks in 11-6A.

The Skeeters have talent on the defensive side of the ball with lineman Jar’rion Smith, an active 1-2 punch in the middle with linebackers Alec Rice and Jayden Brown and a solid secondary led by Dewayne Adams.

If this game is close, special teams could be the X-factor. North Mesquite has one of the more consistent kickers in the district with Heriberto Campuzano. Mesquite’s Tyler Raleigh-O’Neal has three touchdowns off blocked punts, including one a week ago.

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

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