There is still almost a month left in the regular season, but one of the most important games in 11-6A takes place on Friday when Mesquite (6-1, 2-1) hosts Tyler Lee (5-1, 2-0) at 7:30 p.m. at E.H. Hanby Stadium.
Though there are still four rounds of district play remaining, the outcome of Friday’s game will have a huge impact on the playoff race, as the Skeeters and Red Raiders are both in the thick of the battle.
As it stands right now, barring a major shake-up, there are four playoff spots to be earned between these two teams, Longview, Rockwall and Horn.
Mesquite already has a loss to the Jaguars and they close the season against the Yellowjackets and Lobos and they do not want to go into either of those games in a must-win situation.
The Red Raiders are entering a four-game closing stretch against each of their fellow contenders.
The Skeeters are coming off a 45-10 rout of rival North Mesquite in their last game.
LaDarius Turner had 19 carries for 155 yards and three touchdowns. Dylan Hillard-McGill completed only four passes, but averaged 30.1 yards per completion with a pair of long touchdown passes to Ja’Darion Smith.
For the season, Turner leads 11-6A with 874 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Hillard-McGill has thrown for 801 yards and seven touchdowns and has 472 yards and seven scores on the ground.
Smith (16-360, 5 TDs) is averaging 22.6 yards per catch and Kevin Hodges (9-164), K.B. Frazier (8-92) and RJ Bonner (8-70) are other options on the outside.
The Tyler Lee defense is allowing 20.8 points per game and has come through when needed, which is why they have three wins by seven points or less.
The Red Raiders are coming off a bye and their last game was also against North Mesquite, a 35-17 victory.
In that game, quarterback Trent Adams completed 11-of-15 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown, while the running back duo of Jamarion Miller and Bryson Donnell averaged better than six yards per carry with three scores.
The Mesquite defense held North Mesquite to 189 yards and forced six turnovers. Dewayne Adams was the catalyst, as he packed half of a season’s worth of highlights into one game. Adams had three interceptions, recorded 10 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
The all-time series between the two teams is tied at 8-8. The first three meetings took place from 1999-2002 in the playoffs, with Mesquite winning two of those. They have split the last four years, rotating wins, with the Skeeters claiming a 24-14 victory a season ago.