There is a little more than one month left in the regular season and all seven teams in 11-6A and 7-5A Division I still believe they have what it takes to be a part of the playoff field.
But with each passing week, the games take on heightened importance and the five Mesquite ISD programs are hoping to peak at the right time.
Few would have thought that Tyler Lee would hold sole possession of first place of 11-6A at any point this season, but that is right where the Red Raiders are after Friday’s 35-17 win over North Mesquite.
Tyler Lee is the only team at 2-0 and one of just two without a district loss, as reigning Class 6A Division II state champion and 11-6A favorite Longview sits at 1-0 after taking the week off with its bye.
There is a three-team pack at 1-1.
Mesquite notched its first district win with a 49-39 victory over Rockwall-Heath. Rockwall bounced back from its blowout loss at the hands of Longview with a 45-7 victory over Horn, leaving the Yellowjackets and Jaguars tied with the Skeeters in third place.
North Mesquite (0-1) and Rockwall-Heath (0-2) are still searching for their first district victories, but they are still very much alive in a playoff race that could go down to the final week of the season.
Longview is still the team to beat and Rockwall seems to have gotten back on the right track after battling some injury issues and those two will likely claim two of the spots.
That heightens the importance when any of the other five teams square off with one another as tiebreaker situations start to come into the picture.
Mesquite and North Mesquite will renew their rivalry for the 50th time when they meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
Horn is looking to bounce back, but it will not be easy as they host the high-powered Lobos at 7:30 p.m. Friday at E.H. Hanby Stadium.
Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath meet in another rivalry game, with the Yellowjackets looking to put together a win streak and the Hawks hoping to avoid a 0-3 start.
The 7-5A Division I race is only two weeks old, but there is already a bit of separation in the standings, where four teams are undefeated and three are winless.
McKinney North moved to 2-0 in district with a 62-41 win over Texarkana Texas High. Tyler John Tyler joined the Bulldogs at 2-0 with its 48-7 rout of Wylie East.
After taking last week off, Poteet returned to the field in style with a 44-21 victory over Sherman. The Pirates are 1-0 and tied for third place with West Mesquite, who had its bye on Friday.
Sherman, Texas High and Wylie East are all 0-2 and in search of their first district victories.
There is still plenty of time, but none of those teams wants to try to climb out of a 0-3 hole.
Poteet will try to make it three wins in a row when it hosts Texarkana Texas High at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
West Mesquite returns to action with a big game at 7 p.m. Friday against Tyler John Tyler at Rose Stadium, while McKinney North hosts Wylie East.
Here are some other highlights from Week 6:
--The Mesquite ground game pounded Rockwall-Heath in Friday’s 49-39 victory, rolling up 359 yards. LaDarius Turner highlighted the effort with 27 carries for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one coming on a 68-yard run. Dylan Hillard-McGill (9-85, 2 TDs) had a 67-yard touchdown run and RJ Bonner (5-56) had a 35-yard score.
--Poteet running back Seth McGowan looked like his old self in Friday’s 44-21 win over Sherman. The Oklahoma pledge had 22 carries for 211 yards, an average of 9.6 yards per attempt, with two touchdowns. McGowan also caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Jaylond Police, who also hooked up with Tristan Golightly and Jailyn Graham for scores.
--Sachse running back Shon Coleman had his way against the Garland defense in Thursday’s 45-17 victory. With the help of a solid overall effort by the offensive line, Coleman had 18 carries for 243 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 13.5 yards per attempt.
--Rowlett’s Colton Yarbrough enjoyed a big night in Friday’s 44-28 win over South Garland. Yarbrough opened the scoring by hauling in a 55-yard touchdown pass from Alex Routt. He added a 3-yard scoring run early in the third quarter and put the game away with a 71-yard touchdown run in the fourth. Routt also scored on a 51-yard run and D’Wonyae Newton rushed for a pair of touchdowns.
--North Mesquite has been looking for playmakers to emerge on the outside and Christian Perales might have offered a peak at filling one of those roles. Perales caught three passes in Friday’s 35-17 loss to Tyler Lee, including a 71-yard gain.
--Poteet did a solid job holding a dangerous Sherman offense in check on Friday. Stephen Kirk led the effort with 11 tackles and a pair of sacks. Jalen Hodo had eight stops, Heng Taing recorded an interception and Charles Washington recovered two fumbles and Jeremiah Anukem, Malik Harrison and King Moore forced fumbles.
--There was not a lot for Horn to smile about in Friday’s 45-7 loss to Rockwall, but it did get some standout defensive efforts. Marquis Edwards and Jaden Mitchell led the Jaguars with 11 tackles each, while Keidrin Walker made eight stops and had a pair of pass breakups.
--Sachse’s Anthony Anyanwu was in the Garland backfield all night long. Anyanwu recorded four quarterback pressures, two tackles and had an interception. RJ Davis had three pass breakups and a forced fumble, Dexter Jean-Pierre had an interception and five stops and Justice Rider had a big overall game with eight tackles, two for loss, and four quarterback pressures.
--Mesquite’s Tyler Raleigh-O’Neal is making a strong case for special teams player of the year and not just in 11-6A. Releigh-O’Neal recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown in the first quarter on Friday against Rockwall-Heath. It is the third time this season he has turned a blocked punt into a touchdown.
--Sachse’s Scotty Jesmer did a little of everything on Thursday. Jesmer not only handled his normal snapping duties, he blocked a punt, had three hurries and made a tackle on a kickoff.