MESQUITE FOOTBALL LADARIUS TURNER

LaDarius Turner and Mesquite will return to the field after their bye with a 3-1 record in 11-6A.

There are just two weeks left in the regular season and some area playoff races are starting to come into focus.

While a handful of tickets have been punched, there is still plenty of questions that need to be answered between now and the start of the playoffs on Nov. 15.

Here is a look at the playoff races:

10-6A

Every week, 10-6A features a number of close games and this was no different, as three of the four contests were decided by eight points or less.

One of those took place on Thursday when Sachse and Lakeview squared off at soggy Williams Stadium in a clash of two teams who entered the week as part of a four-way tie for first place.

The game turned into a defensive struggle in the rainy elements. In the end, it was the Mustangs who were able to make the biggest plays, as Quinton Williams recovered a fumble in Patriot territory and Xavier Forman found Jaden Hunter for a 18-yard touchdown pass with just 1:01 left to lift them to a 17-14 victory.

Sachse improves to 4-1 and wraps up a playoff berth, while Lakeview dropped a game off the pace at 3-2.

That deadlock at the top now features a trio of teams with the Mustangs, Rowlett and Wylie all at 4-1.

The Eagles have lived dangerously during district play and that trend continued on Friday as they were able to survive Garland’s upset bid to claim a 26-24 win.

In five district games, Rowlett now has a pair of one-point wins, one two-point win and a one-point loss.

The Pirates have been no stranger to close games themselves and their 14-6 win over Naaman Forest marked the fourth time their outcome has been decided by eight points or less, including one-point wins over both Sachse and Rowlett.

North Garland (2-3) stayed alive by taking care of South Garland in a 55-14 rout and they are tied for fifth place with Naaman Forest (2-3).

Sachse takes on win-less South Garland (0-5) on Thursday at Homer B. Johnson Stadium, while Rowlett has a tough game on Friday against a Lakeview team looking to bounce back.

The Mustangs and Eagles then renew their rivalry in the regular season finale.

North Garland can stay alive with a win over Wylie and they close with Garland.

Naaman Forest will also be a factor, as they have a winnable game against the Owls on Friday before closing with Lakeview in a contest that could have huge implications.

Taking a glance over at 9-6A, Allen (5-0) leads the pack with Jesuit (4-1) and Prosper (4-1) tied for second place and Plano (3-2) holding a one-game lead over McKinney (2-3) for fourth.

Allen is in and can put an exclamation point on a district championship with a victory against Prosper on Friday. Prosper is also in and Jesuit is not just yet, even though Jesuit owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

11-6A

There are just two weeks left in the regular season and some area playoff races are starting to come into focus.

The 11-6A picture does have some questions to clear up, but two of the tickets have been punched.

Defending Division II state champion Longview (4-0) remained undefeated on the season with a 55-0 win over North Mesquite on Friday

Rockwall (4-1) also claimed its spot, though it was not easy in a 35-32 victory against Tyler Lee.

Mesquite (3-1) was off on its bye this past week but is still in the field based on what happened last week. The Skeeters have a brutal closing stretch on the road against the Yellowjackets this week and at home against the Lobos in the finale.

Mesquite can make a push to move up the standings, though they will be underdogs in both games.

Tyler Lee (2-2) sits alone in fourth place, while Horn (1-3) fell back to fifth after Rockwall-Heath surprised many by claiming a 47-31 win on Friday.

The Jaguars have a good chance to bounce back this week against North Mesquite (0-4), while the Red Raiders must play at Lobo Stadium against Longview.

In all likelihood, the winner of their head-to-head showdown on Nov. 8 in Tyler will earn the final playoff berth.

In this scenario, Rockwall and Mesquite will be the Division I representatives. Longview is the No. 1 seed in Division II, with Horn/Tyler Lee in the second spot.

Looking ahead, Temple (6-0) is alone atop the standings in 12-6A, with Waco Midway (5-1) in second, Killeen Shoemaker (4-2) in third and Killeen Harker Heights (4-3) holding a slight lead over Belton (3-3) for fourth.

7-5A Division I

The final weeks of the district season were shaping up to be a heavyweight round robin with McKinney North, Poteet and Tyler John Tyler battling it out for 7-5A Division I supremacy.

West Mesquite sent a reminder on Friday that they would have a say in the matter, as well, with their 31-17 victory in their cross-town rivalry game against the Pirates to move into sole possession of fourth place at 2-2.

McKinney North held off Tyler John Tyler on Thursday with a 36-28 victory to move to 5-0.

That result coupled with the Poteet loss, guarantees the Bulldogs at least a share of the district championship. McKinney North is off this week, giving them two full weeks to prepare for the Pirates in the regular season finale.

Poteet, meanwhile, needs to regroup quickly.

The Pirates (3-1) cannot afford to look ahead as they hit the road to take on Tyler John Tyler (3-1) with sole possession of second place on the line.

Poteet has clinched a playoff berth as they would advance on any tiebreaker scenario, but there is a lot yet to be determined in their future.

If they win out, they will tie for the 7-5A title and be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs thanks to the head-to-head win over McKinney North.

If they drop their final two games, it sets up a couple of scenarios where the Wranglers are able to move ahead of Poteet into third place.

West Mesquite has an important game on Friday against Sherman (1-3), a 42-14 winner over Wylie East on Friday, who still has a chance to make things interesting.

Texarkana Texas High (1-3) was off this week and will be heavily favored against winless Wylie East on Friday.

If they take care of business, they face West Mesquite in the finale in what could be a winner-goes-to-the-playoffs showdown.

Looking ahead, Lufkin (5-0) currently leads 8-5A Division I, with College Station (4-1) and Magnolia West (4-1) tied for second and Magnolia (3-2) currently holding down fourth place with a one-game lead over Tomball (2-3).

The race could gain some clarity this week if College Station defeats Tomball, while Magnolia and Magnolia West also meet in a big game.

Magnolia West and College Station lock horns in the season finale in a game that could determine the second and third seeds.

If Tomball and Magnolia both lose this week, Magnolia is still in good shape as they would be favored in their finale against Caney Creek (1-4).

Here are some other highlights from Week 9:

Offense

--Sunnyvale starters got to call it an early night in Friday’s 49-0 rout of Roosevelt. Quarterback Tripp McAda completed 7-of-10 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns, Emmanuel Arinze rushed for 125 yards and a score on only eight carries, Alex Luna found the end zone twice and Devin Sterling added a 20-yard touchdown run.

--Rowlett got its ground game going in Friday’s 26-24 win over Garland, rushing for 288 yards. Colton Yarbrough led the effort with 145 yards on only 11 carries, including touchdown runs of 12 and 65 yards. D’Wonyae Newton added 58 yards and a score.

--Sachse junior Jaden Hunter entered last week with only three receptions, but he delivered one of the biggest catches of the year. The Mustangs trailed Lakeview 14-10 late in the fourth quarter. Facing third-and-10 from the 18, quarterback Xavier Forman lofted a pass to the end zone. Hunter adjusted to the ball and appeared to make a sliding catch with a defender draped on him. The officials met for about 30 seconds before agreeing that it was a touchdown catch that proved to be the game-winner with 1:01 left in their 17-14 victory.

Defense

--The West Mesquite defense made some huge plays to key their win over Poteet on Friday. Jose Torres started the scoring with a 10-yard interception return for a touchdown, Ja’Kobe Walton picked off a pass that led to a touchdown and Jay Wynn’s interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter sealed the 31-17 win.

--Dallas Christian’s night did not end the way it had hoped with a 40-16 loss to two-time defending state champion Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill, but they did get a pair of standout defensive efforts. Parker Robertson recorded 15 tackles, with one for loss, and a forced fumble and fumble recovery. TJ King added 12 stops and a sack.

--Poteet got some big performances in a losing effort on Friday. Aaron Mixell recorded 12 tackles, Nicholas Deville made 10 stops, with one for loss, and Brenton Hamilton had nine tackles and a fumble recovery.

--Sachse and Lakeview combined for six turnovers in the rainy conditions on Thursday night. The biggest takeaway came with less than two minutes left, when the Patriots bobbled a snap and Quinton Williams emerged from the pile with the recovery that set up the game-winning score.

--Sunnyvale held Roosevelt to 127 yards and had nine tackles for loss in Friday’s blowout win. Devin Sterling led the effort with 11 tackles, Tripp McAda had eight stops and Jake Taylor made seven tackles with a sack.

Special Teams

--Rowlett and Garland went down to the wire, but it was a special teams play earlier in the fourth quarter that was the biggest of the night. After an Owl touchdown, they went for two, but the Eagles Daaron Loveless intercepted the pass and returned it for their own two-point conversion and that proved to be the difference in the 26-24 win.

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

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