High School: Mesquite Poteet

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas – Say goodbye to “the little SEC” of Class 4A football.

District 15-4A, as we have come to know it, fell victim to the biennial shuffling of schools, spreading some of the state’s top 4A programs across North Texas.

While fans won’t see the same teams face off next year, coaches from the district formerly know as 15-4A were able to breath a small sigh of relief that they won’t have to face the week-to-week grind of arguably the deepest 4A district in the state.

“There’s no easy 4A district out there,” Mesquite Poteet coach Randy Jackson said. “We’re just happy to know [what the new districts are] so we can move on.”

[+] EnlargeRandy Allen
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comHighland Park football coach Randy Allen works on his schedule for next year after finding out who else is in the Scots' new district.
Poteet, as well as half of the former 15-4A, will move over into District 10-4A, reuniting with a longtime rival Highland Park.

Poteet and Highland Park not only have a long history as former district-mates, but have a more recent chapter in 2010’s 4A Division II regional round of the playoffs. Poteet notched its first ever win against the Scots in 14 tries.

For the next two years, Highland Park, the school with the state record for playoff appearances, will have the opportunity to get revenge for the unexpected 2010 loss.

“They’re the New York Yankees of high school,” Jackson said.

The re-shuffling of 10-4A came as a complete surprise to Highland Park coach Randy Allen, who had guessed his program would fall in a district with the Frisco ISD schools or Sherman and Dennison.

“It’s a big shakeup,” Allen said. “We’d of never guessed this, but it will be a good district.”

The biggest surprises to Allen were the addition of both Forney ISD schools, Carrollton Newman Smith, Carrollton Creekview and Terrell.

Forney joins West Mesquite and Poteet in moving over from 15-4A, but North Forney will be making its first appearance in the 4A ranks after being a 3A school.

“The biggest deal is we don’t have to play the one-high school towns like Waxahachie and Corsicana and those guys,” Forney coach Kevin Rush said. “That will help us out I think. The one-high school towns have a definite advantage especially when you get up into 4A and 5A. You look around the state and see a lot of schools that are dominant that way.”

Forney is no stranger to Highland Park, as they were district mates for the first six years the program was in Class 4A, and the reunited rivalry is something the players at Forney will look forward to, Rush said.

Those single-school programs southeast of Dallas will remain in 15-4A, joining forces with three Mansfield schools: Lake Ridge, Legacy and Summit.

Once the new 10-4A coaches had a few minutes to wrap their mind around the new alignment, it became obvious to most that they won’t see much of a drop off in competition in their new home.

“I’m not sure this isn’t a little SEC, too,” Jackson said.
ESPN Dallas reporters Travis L. Brown and Jeff Andrews talk with Mesquite Poteet head coach Randy Jackson about the 4A playoffs.

Poteet coach Randy Jackson talks playoff parity

November, 16, 2011

Mesquite Poteet coach Randy Jackson joins ESPN Dallas' Travis L. Brown and Jeff Andrews to discuss what it takes to make a playoff run and the thrill of playing at Cowboys Stadium.

ESPN Dallas previews 5A playoff games

November, 15, 2011

ESPNDallas.com's Travis L. Brown, Jeff Andrews and Mesquite Poteet coach Randy Jackson preview this weekend's Class 5A playoff games.

What we got right: Most of the teams and orders of both polls remained similar to close out the regular season other than the few teams which lost their finales. Dallas Skyline and Highland Park will remain on top of both polls to close out the regular season. None if will matter after six weeks from now, when the state champions will be crowned at Cowboys Stadium.

What we got wrong: Allen couldn't maintain the consistency that Euless Trinity has shown to close out the season and fell a spot to the Trojans. Southlake Carroll jumped back over Flower Mound Marcus, finishing an undefeated season with a quality win over Denton Guyer. Waxahachie took a tumble in 4A with a final game loss to Mesquite Poteet, and DeSoto slipped in 5A after losing the district title to Longview.

Say hello to: 5A -- Garland; 4A -- Fort Worth Southwest

Say goodbye to: 5A -- Cedar Hill; 4A -- Wylie East

W. Mesquite holds edge over Poteet for last spot

November, 1, 2011
West Mesquite and Mesquite Poteet each made an impressive playoff run a year ago, but only one will have a chance to duplicate that success this time around.

The two rivals own identical 4-3 records in District 15-4A, but the advantage in gaining the only remaining playoff berth clearly rests with the Wranglers of West Mesquite.

By virtue of a 22-21 win over Poteet in Week 7, West Mesquite owns the head-to-head advantage should the teams finish tied in the standings. In that watershed win over Poteet, West Mesquite rallied from a 21-3 deficit by scoring the game’s final 19 points in the last 16 minutes.

The Week 10 schedule favors West Mesquite. The Wranglers (4-5) play at Forney (2-7, 1-6) while Poteet (6-3) goes on the road to face 15-4A leader Waxahachie (8-1, 7-0), No. 4 in ESPNDallas.com Class 4A area rankings.

The Wranglers can clinch a playoff berth with either a win or a Poteet loss. The Pirates need the combination of a win over Waxahachie and a Forney upset of the Wranglers.

West Mesquite, bidding for its sixth straight playoff appearance, went three rounds deep a year ago.

Poteet made the most of only its second playoff appearance in nine seasons last year by going to the Class 4A Division II state semifinals, losing to Johnathan Gray and eventual state champion Aledo.

Waxahachie, Corsicana and Lancaster have already secured the top three playoff spots in 15-4A.

Rankings: Skyline rises over DeSoto to No. 2

October, 9, 2011

What we got right: Most of the teams in the top 10 remained the same, but Week 6 might have shuffled the deck more than any week to date. The 4A poll remained mostly the same with the exception of Waxahachie jumping to the No. 4 position after its win over Corsicana.

What we got wrong: Skyline proved itself with a decisive win over Dallas Jesuit on Friday, which shot the Raiders over DeSoto, who struggled for a victory over North Mesquite, for the first time this year. Keller Central more than proved it belonged among the best in the area with a 6-0 record and a win over previous No. 8 Denton Guyer. Everman comes in at No. 10, with several weeks of quality play after taking a Zero Week loss from Highland Park.

Say hello to: 5A -- Keller Central; 4A --Everman

Say goodbye to: 5A --Denton Guyer; 4A -- Mesquite Poteet

Watch out for: 5A Arlington Lamar; 4A -- Fort Worth Southwest

What we got right: Corsicana is the real deal. Its 29-13 win over Mesquite Poteet solidified its position as the No. 3 team in the 4A poll. In 5A, Allen continued to roll and DeSoto had a bye week, keeping them on top of the rankings.

What we got wrong: Losses by Arlington Martin and Coppell allowed room for Flower Mound Marcus and Colleyville Heritage and Denton Guyer to move up in the 5A poll. Euless Trinity has had two close calls in an overtime win over Colleyville Heritage last week and halftime upset alert vs. rival L.D. Bell, allowing Dallas Skyline to jump into the No. 3 spot. In 4A, Highland Park's less-than-dominant win over Wylie East allowed Denton Ryan to jump back into the No. 1 spot.

Say hello to: 5A -- Hebron, Mansfield; 4A -- Mansfield Summit

Say goodbye to: 5A -- Arlington Martin, Coppell; 4A -- Dallas Kimball

Watch out for: 5A -- Duncanville, Keller Central; 4A -- Fort Worth Arlington Heights.

Tell us: Use the comments section to let us know what we have wrong.

Corsicana RB muscles past Poteet in 15-4A duel

September, 30, 2011
CORSICANA, Texas – Friday’s Corsicana-Mesquite Poteet bout flew by as a blur of short plays and defensive stops. Not much stood out in what might have been the best matchup on paper in Week 5.

But before the word “boring” rolls off the tongue to describe Friday’s physical 29-13 Corsicana win, meet running back Cameron Washington.

Washington slipped into this District 15-4A heavyweight match with a very quiet 1,000-plus-yard rushing season through five games, and he added over 250 yards and three touchdowns to help push the third-ranked Tigers (6-0, 4-0) past No. 4 Poteet (5-1, 3-1).

[+] EnlargeCorsicana D
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com The Corsicana defense kept Mesquite Poteet's offense in check.
“He’s one of the hardest workers we have on the football team,” Corsicana coach Phil Castles said. “He runs with his heart. He’s a physical player but he does it for his teammates.”

Throughout the game, Washington was the one Corsicana weapon Poteet’s defense could not account for. He delivered touchdown runs from 15 and 33 yards plus a short 4-yard run.

“He’s just so tough,” Poteet coach Randy Jackson said. “We’ll have a kid there, but he’s a load for those guys to tackle and you miss him and there he goes. It was a big assignment for our defense.”

It took the teams a quarter to size one another up, but Washington sparked the Corsicana offense with his first touchdown minutes into the second quarter.

Poteet scored on a pair of 1-yard Steven Hicks runs, but Jackson said without any big play threat against a very athletic Corsicana team, the Pirates struggled to keep up.

Corsicana beat Poteet last season 44-10, which was enough to split the district title between the two schools. However, Poteet continued on past that championship to make a run to the 4A state semifinals.

Both teams now have a case of déjà vu, but only the weeks ahead can prove the impact of this game on playoff positioning. That’s something both coaches will harp on during practice next week.

“We were co-champs with Poteet last year and obviously we want to keep that title and make the big run,” Castles said. “Poteet had a great run in the playoffs. That would be nice to meet them deep in the playoffs sometime again.”

Jackson also is looking down the road.

“In 1980 or whatever, you might be done – one team makes the playoffs,” he said. “All we have to do is look back one year and realize what a great season we can have. We just need to start a winning streak next week, we hope.”
No. 4 MESQUITE POTEET (5-0, 3-0) at No. 3 CORSICANA (5-0, 3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Corsicana’s Tiger Stadium

When we saw them last: Poteet was busy racking up its third district win of the year in a 59-38 win over Forney. Corsicana followed up a 55-38 win over a good offensive team in Lancaster with a 39-7 victory over Ennis last week.

2010 result: Corsicana dealt Poteet one of its two district losses in 2010. Its defense held Poteet’s strong offense under 200 yards in a 44-10 win.

What’s at stake: The District 15-4A title. The winner of this game has the best chance of taking the district championship, barring any unforeseen losses. Bragging rights will also be on the line for one of the deepest districts in the area.

Key matchup: The running games. Both teams boast talented rushers who will most likely give the defense fits all night. Corsicana’s Cameron Washington will carry the bulk of the load and has already rushed for over 1,000 yards. Steven Hicks is Poteet’s elusive back who has half as many yards as Washington, but just as much skill. Look for both teams to trade blows on the ground.

Players to watch: Besides the two running backs, Poteet quarterback Tanner Ramsey has done well stepping in for team leader Beau Nowell this year. Corsicana quarterback DeVontay Bell has wide receiver Christian Hines as a key weapon to spread the defense out for Washington’s runs.

Prediction: Mesquite Poteet 28, Corsicana 24.

Rankings: Bye weeks mean changes are limited

September, 18, 2011

What we got right: Pretty much the entire Class 5A top 10. Only three ranked teams played, and none of them lost, so nobody dropped out this week. The only movement in 5A was Colleyville Heritage and Plano swapping the Nos. 9 and 10 spots.

What we got wrong: Lancaster is on a roller-coaster ride through the beginning of the season, losing to Corsicana and dropping back out of the 4A poll after climbing to No. 8. The vacancy allows DISD schools to take the bottom two positions in the 4A poll, Dallas Kimball and Dallas South Oak Cliff.

Say hello to: 5A -- None; 4A -- Dallas South Oak Cliff

Say goodbye to: 5A -- None; 4A -- Lancaster

Watch out for: 5A -- Denton Guyer, Hebron and Mansfield; 4A -- Fort Worth Arlington Heights, Lake Dallas and Frisco Liberty

Rankings: DeSoto, Mesquite Poteet strut stuff

September, 11, 2011

What we got right: After three weeks of games, questions are beginning to be answered about which teams deserve to be considered the best in the area. Because of that, there was movement all over both polls, but for the most part, the teams remained the same.

What we got wrong: We underestimated the talent at DeSoto, especially on offense. Starting QB Raheem Wilson has answered concerns about his passing ability with big games in the Kirk Herbstreit Classic and against a skilled Cedar Hill team Saturday. Mesquite Poteet has also proven itself after three weeks of solid wins, and the eyeball test proves that the Pirates may have more skill on offense than they did last season.

Say hello to: 5A -- Plano and Colleyville Heritage; 4A -- Dallas Kimball

Say goodbye to: 5A -- Arlington Bowie and Cedar Hill; 4A -- Mansfield Summit

Watch out for: 5A -- Mansfield and Sachse; 4A -- Dallas South Oak Cliff and Trophy Club Byron Nelson
MESQUITE, Texas – Mesquite Poteet quarterback Tanner Ramsey stepped into a precarious position following predecessor Beau Nowell.

However, Ramsey has been key in proving Poteet has reached a new level of legitimacy after the Pirates dismantled Terrell, 55-0, on Thursday in their District 15-4A opener.

“I learned everything from Beau,” Ramsey said. “Watching him play made me want to play harder and makes me want to play for the team like he did.”

Ramsey threw for two touchdowns and over 200 yards in the win, which he said now makes him excited to see what his team can do throughout the rest of the season.

[+] EnlargeTanner Ramsey
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comTanner Ramsey credits Beau Nowell for his success at quarterback.
His highlight of the game was a sharp 28-yard touchdown pass to Chase Graham on a post route in the second quarter, extending Poteet's lead to 35-0.

There’s no questioning his status among the area's top quarterbacks, but Ramsey was quick to share the credit with the rest of his team.

“I’m just playing quarterback,” Ramsey said. “I’m just getting the ball to my receivers and they’re making plays for me.”

There is some truth to Ramsey’s statement, as Poteet (3-0, 1-0) boasts dangerous weapons around the first-year starter.

Running back Steven Hicks led the charge on the ground, scoring a touchdown and passing the century mark in yards. Hicks was tough to bring down, repeatedly requiring three to four defenders to drag the elusive back to the turf.

Another prime target for Ramsey is two-way standout Graham, who led Poteet in interceptions last season. Graham is getting a chance to showcase his hands this season as a wide receiver.

Graham said he believes this year’s squad is playing with a confidence that last year’s team did not have this early in the season.

“Last year’s team, most of the seniors were pissed off about all the years before that,” Graham said. “This year, we all became like a band of brothers because that’s what Beau Nowell and all them laid out for us.”

Poteet coach Randy Jackson has set his team up for success, putting together an offensive game plan that is based mainly on screen passes and short slants to supplement Hicks’ runs. Poteet had no trouble moving down the field on Terrell (2-1, 0-1), as they were only forced to punt once.

“I’ve been really impressed with him,” Jackson said. “We’ve got kids like Hicks that can take a little bit of weight off his shoulders but Tanner Ramsey has answered the bell.”

In the end, it starts at the top and the Pirates are well on the way to proving that their legitimacy is tied to the arrival of Jackson.

“We know the system,” Ramsey said. “We had two years to bond together and we’ve got it down now.”
TERRELL (2-0) at No. 7 MESQUITE POTEET (2-0)

7 p.m. Thursday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium

When we saw them last: Mesquite doubled Arlington Seguin in total yards on their way to a 31-17 victory. Terrell limited Greenville to one first-half score to earn a 48-24 win.

2010 result: Poteet was on the verge of realizing its potential when the two matched up in the first game of District 15-4A play. The contest was a defensive struggle, but former quarterback Beau Nowell lead Poteet to a 17-6 victory behind 142 passing yards.

What is at stake: Poteet’s legitimacy as a big-time football program in the area. Last season was very impressive for first-year head coach Randy Jackson, but he's lost key players at important skill positions. This year will prove whether last year’s team was a one-hit wonder, or if this program is truly on the rise.

Key matchup: The head coaches. Poteet’s Jackson has proven he can take a team without any standout D1 prospects and make a run all the way to the state semifinals. He seems to bring out the best in his players each week. On the opposing sideline stands former La Marque head coach Darrell Jordan. Jordan led La Marque to a 4A state title game last season. With both coaching relatively new teams this year, it will be interesting to see which squad comes into the game more prepared.

Players to watch: Terrell’s offense is run through and around quarterback Shea South, who is averaging well over 100 yards per game through the first two weeks of the season. Terrell’s star on defense is linebacker Montavios Morris, who will have his hands full with Poteet running back Steven Hicks.

Prediction: Poteet 24, Terrell 14.

Poteet looks to build on fast start at Arl. Seguin

September, 1, 2011
7:30 p.m. Friday at Arlington’s Wilemon Field

When we saw them last: Poteet picked up where it left off last season with a 61-22 demolition of Royse City in its opener. Seguin dropped its opener at Ennis by a touchdown, 35-28.

2010 result: In the first-ever meeting of the teams, the Pirates defeated Seguin, 28-7, at Mesquite Memorial Stadium in a defensive game that featured 13 punts.

What’s at stake: Poteet coach Randy Jackson has the Pirates believing now after a Cinderella season. Seguin is trying to avoid its third 0-2 start in the last four years.

Key matchup: Poteet running back Steven Hicks gained 189 yards on only four carries against Royse City and added 62 more on pass receptions. Seguin’s defense allowed 385 yards and failed to force a turnover last week.

Players to watch: Defensive lineman Silas Firstley and free safety Chase Graham are savvy veterans of Poteet’s run to the Class 4A Division II state semifinals in 2010. Seguin has a Hicks of its own, Jordan, who had four catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns against Ennis.

Prediction: Poteet 35, Seguin 21.