Under ordinary circumstances, Sachse and North Garland would enter Friday’s 9-6A tilt with solid bodies of work under their belts.
Of course, these are anything but normal times.
Therefore, both teams still have plenty of questions they are searching to answer when they take the field at 7 p.m. at Williams Stadium.
This is just the second game of the season for the Mustangs, who had a hard-fought 42-35 loss to Coppell two weeks ago but had their scheduled district opener against Rowlett postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sachse sported a very different look in its opener, as a slew of losses to graduation and transfers meant a number of new faces.
Junior quarterback Alex Orji made an immediate impression in his debut, completing 14-of-29 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns and rushing 21 times for 185 yards and a pair of scores.
The Mustangs feature two solid options in the running game in junior Brian Okoye, who had six carries for 53 yards, and senior Kori Jones, who recorded 10 rushes for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Sachse also had a pair of receivers step up big on the outside, as senior Jaden Hunter had six catches for 159 yards and a touchdown, and junior Elijah Ames added four receptions for 111 yards and a score.
Ricardo Ochoa graded out at 80 percent and recorded two pancake blocks as the offensive line helped the Mustangs average 7.8 yards per carry.
The defense gave up some points to a talented Coppell offense, but there were bright spots.
Junior Levi Shirley led the team with nine tackles, junior Sean Catherman recorded eight tackles, with one for loss, and junior Jaydon Gibbs added five tackles, one for loss, and a sack.
They will take on a North Garland team that has had two very different performances.
The Raiders were impressive in a season-opening 32-0 win over Irving.
Nathan Pena threw 223 yards and touchdown passes to Isaiah Watkins and Isaiah DeLeon. Pena was also solid running the ball, as was Ricky Taylor, who had 59 yards and a score and the defense took care of the rest.
It was a far different story in last week’s district opener, as Garland rolled to a 42-0 victory.
The Owls got a 300-yard passing night from Cergio Perez, who also threw for five touchdowns. Jordan Hudson had five catches for 130 yards and a trio of scores, Ellis Rogers had a pair of touchdown receptions and Jayshon Powers was effective in pacing the ground game.
North Garland, meanwhile, was held to under 100 yards of total offense, including only 28 through the air.
The Raiders have not made the playoffs since 2009 and their rivalry with Sachse has reflected that.
The Mustangs have won 10 straight in the series and more often than not, it has not been close. There was one particular stretch from 2012-2015 where they did not allow a point, outscoring North Garland 191-0.
From 2010-2018, the average Sachse margin of victory was 44-5. The Raiders believed they were making strides with back-to-back 6-4 seasons and gave the Mustangs all they wanted last year in a 24-21 loss, but if last week is any indication, they will need another big turnaround to keep the series from reverting back to the last decade’s form.