W. Mesquite, Waxahachie can shake things up

NO. 4 WAXAHACHIE (5-1, 4-0 15-4A) AT WEST MESQUITE (2-4, 2-2)

7 p.m. Thursday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium

When we saw them last: Waxahachie took control of the hyper-competitive District 15-4A with a 47-36 win over Corsicana, who had beaten Mesquite Poteet the previous week. West Mesquite rescued its playoff push with a close 22-21 win over Poteet.

2010 result: West Mesquite came out on top in a 63-56 shootout. Don’t expect the same kind of offensive explosion from both teams as West Mesquite is missing its all-around playmaker, Trevone Boykin, who is now at TCU. Byokin accounted for well over half of West Mesquite’s total offense both through the air and on the ground. Waxahachie also graduated a big-time playmaker of its own, LaDarius Brown, who is now teammates with Boykin at TCU.

What’s at stake: A West Mesquite win could make the race for the District 15-4A title a crazier affair than has already developed this season. After an 0-3 start, West Mesquite handed title contender Mesquite Poteet its second district loss of the season after the Pirates took a loss to Corsicana the week prior. West Mesquite lost to Corsicana in its district opener, but Waxahachie took the 15-4A reins last week after a home win over Corsicana. If Waxahachie walks out of Mesquite Memorial with a win Thursday, the Indians have a season ending matchup with Poteet standing in between it and a district championship.

Key matchup: Waxahachie’s offense vs. West Mesquite’s defense. As general as that sounds, it could be a huge problem for West Mesquite’s defense that has been prone to give up high point totals throughout the season. Waxahachie has a balanced offense that can constantly keep West Mesquite guessing and will force West Mesquite to focus in on stopping one dimension of the offense. West Mesquite should hope it picks correctly, because both the air and ground game for Waxahachie can be deadly.

Players to watch: It could be a matter of picking the poison for West Mesquite between Waxahachie’s offensive tandem of quarterback Don King III and running back Robert Lowe Jr. Both players have the ability to take the offense on their shoulders and carry the team to a victory. Offensively, look for West Mesquite to move the ball and score in a complete team effort, as almost every offensive position has been a committee effort throughout the season. Luckily, West Mesquite has depth in athletes and can pull off this full-scale revolving door.

Prediction: West Mesquite’s head coach Mike Overton knew what he was talking about when he told ESPN Dallas’ Randy Jennings that Waxahachie “might be the best 4A team in the state right now.” The Indians should prove him correct in a 38-21 win Thursday night.