The same two teams that everyone expected in the summer to battle for the District 12-5A crown are the favorites entering league play this weekend.

Longview and Mesquite Horn have shown nothing to give fans and media any reason to doubt that they are the cream of the crop in 12-5A.

Mesquite Horn quarterback Destri White tries to scramble away from the John Tyler defense on the Jaguars' 47-17 Sept. 20 win at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium in Tyler. (Mike Davis,

Both teams have lived up to expectations in during the non-district schedule. Longview, which hosts defending 12-5A champion Mesquite on Friday, lost a tightly-contested, neutral-site season opener to Coppell and has won three consecutive games since, including a one-point neutral-site win against Mississippi power Olive Branch and a 25-point rout of longtime rival Lufkin. Horn enters Friday's league opener at home against Tyler Lee with a 4-0 record and has not won by fewer than 12 points in any of those contests.

Speaking of Lee, the Red Raiders could be a team to watch after emerging in non-district. Coming off a 1-9 season a year ago, Lee went 3-1 in non-district. The Red Raiders' trip to Horn this week should tell everyone where Lee stands in its potential as a district darkhorse.

But the final five spots look to be completely up for grabs. The two teams expected at the bottom of the district in the preseason -- North Mesquite and Lee -- are a combined 7-1 entering league play. Like North Mesquite, Rockwall-Heath is 4-0. Mesquite is 2-2, but the losses came to solid Arlington Bowie and Plano West squads. Rockwall is also 2-2, but boasts one of the district's best players in junior tailback Chris Warren.

The race for the district crown may revolve around the Lobos and Jaguars, but the battle for the final two playoff spots should be just as entertaining. The district looks significantly stronger than it did entering the season; the seven teams carry a cumulative 22-6 record into the league schedule. Preseason Updated Prediction
First*LongviewLongview (3-1)
Second*Mesquite HornMesquite Horn (4-0)
Third*MesquiteMesquite (2-2)
Fourth*RockwallTyler Lee (3-1)
FifthRockwall-HeathRockwall (2-2)
SixthNorth MesquiteNorth Mesquite (4-0)
SeventhTyler LeeRockwall-Heath (4-0)

* -- denotes playoff berth

Friday's District 12-5A Openers

  • Mesquite at Longview
  • Tyler Lee at Mesquite Horn
  • Rockwall at Rockwall-Heath
  • North Mesquite: idle


Tyler Lee's Zach Hall tries to avoid Lufkin's Jamarion Houston during Lee's 42-30 home win Sept. 6. (Christopher Vinn,