The first half of the season was a frustrating one for Mesquite.
There were injuries, untimely mistakes and a few unlucky breaks and it all added up to a 0-5 start.
Despite the disappointing results, the Skeeters knew the potential was there, it was just a matter of them putting it all together
If anybody doubted them, Mesquite made its statement on Friday, using a dominant second half to post a 54-20 victory over rival Horn at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
The Skeeters (1-5) move to 1-2 in 10-6A and immediately vault themselves right back into the playoff picture, while the Jaguars (2-5) fall to 0-3 and have a lot of work to do if they want to get back into the postseason race.
If Mesquite does indeed make a run to the playoffs, it can look back at Friday’s third quarter as the turning point of the season.
Though they led 14-13 at halftime, Horn held the edge in total yardage and had largely dictated the pace of the game.
That changed dramatically.
The Skeeters put together their most efficient drive of the game coming out of the locker room, marching 64 yards in nine plays, with Chance Edwards finding Gervin McCarthy for a 8-yard scoring pass to push the advantage to 20-13.
It was a sign of things to come from Edwards, who threw four of his six touchdown passes in the quarter.
The Mesquite defense rose up on Horn’s next drive, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Kendrick Oliver.
On the next play from scrimmage, Edwards hit Jacolby Thomas on a screen and Thomas did the rest, weaving through and barreling over defenders for a 25-yard score to make it 27-13.
The Skeeters essentially put it away later in the quarter, with two touchdowns in a 21-second span.
First, Edwards went back to Thomas, lofting a nice deep ball that Thomas was able to go up and get and turn it into a 44-yard touchdown.
On the Jaguars’ next play, K.D. James read the play and intercepted the pass and Edwards wasted no time, lofting a similar pass as his previous, this time to McCarthy for a 43-yard score and it was suddenly 40-13 with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
Horn’s second-half possessions had resulted in 28 total yards and two turnovers to that point, but they continue to battle.
They put together a nice 61-yard drive and converted on fourth down when Darrius White hit Marquis Edwards for a 7-yard touchdown to close to within 40-20, but that was as close as it would get.
Mesquite did not go into conservative mode, quickly moving 52 yards in five plays, with star linebacker Jayden Brown getting to share in a little offensive glory with a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Jaguars then turned the ball over on downs and the Skeeters added one more highlight to the reel when Edwards threw his sixth touchdown pass of the night and the third to McCarthy from 12 yards out to provide the final 54-20 margin.
Edwards threw for 247 yards on the night, but was especially impressive in the second half, completing 10-of-12 passes for 185 yards and five touchdowns.
Jacob Fields paced the ground game with six carries for 96 yards, a bulk of which came on his first attempt.
After Horn’s Anthony Mercado opened the scoring by booming a 46-yard field goal, the Skeeters needed only one play to respond, as Fields shook a tackle at the line and then went untouched through the middle of the Horn defense on a 80-yard touchdown run to take a 7-3 lead.
The Jaguars were unphased by the big play, as they promptly went 68 yards in eight plays, converting a key fourth down and then finding the end zone when White hit Xavier Brown for a 2-yard score to regain the lead at 10-7.
Midway through the second quarter, Mesquite made a nice defensive stand and a short punt led to a 27-yard touchdown pass from Edwards to Jamarion Woods to swap the advantage to 14-10.
Horn got one final chance with 21 seconds left and they took advantage, as Chris Dawn made a nice catch in traffic to set up a 34-yard field goal by Mercado to close to 14-13 at the half.
The stage was set for a dramatic, back-and-forth second half, but the Skeeters made sure it was a one-sided affair.