[By Anthony Hawthorne, Special to ETSN.fm]

TYLER -- The North Mesquite Stallions have missed the playoffs the previous five seasons.

On Friday night they took a step in the right direction to ending that streak, spoiling Tyler Lee’s homecoming with a 31-22 victory at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

Senior quarterback Cody Williams lead the way for the Stallions, completing 12 of 16 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 45 yards and a score.

A team that relies heavily on the run, North Mesquite (5-0, 1-0) got a balanced offensive effort from the duo of Williams and running Corey Hunt. The Stallions passed for 223 yards and rushed for 188 with Hunt leading the way with 124 yards on 16 carries.

After trailing 17-3 at the break, the Red Raiders (3-3, 0-2), looking for their first district win since 2010, found an offensive rhythm, scoring twice in a span of 1:57 at the end of the third and into the fourth quarter to close the gap.

North Mesquite's Ta'Varius Luke looks for room to run against Tyler Lee during their game Friday night in Tyler. (Noreen Nartia, ETSN.fm)

A 21-yard Juwan Banks run capped a 9-play 78-yard drive, and after forcing a Stallions three-and-out, the Raiders went right back down the field. Taking only four plays and covering 60 yards -- 35 coming on a Hall-to-Bryce Wilkerson pass play -- Tavon Wesley scored from 2 yards out to close the gap to 17-16 after the extra point failed.

North Mesquite responded in a hurry.

Having lost all momentum the Stallions didn’t blink, covering 68 yards on three plays in a 58-second span. A 16-yard rush from Hunt got it started and consecutive passes from Williams to Pat Mobley for 14 and 38 yards finished it off. A Jalen Scott sack of Hall and a Lee penalty quickly got the ball back in the hands of Williams, who finished off Lee.

Four runs by Hunt got the Stallions near midfield. Facing third-and-7, Williams found 5-5 speedster Ta’Varius Luke on a screen pass and the elusive back did the rest, breaking four tackles on his way to a 56-yard score, which extended the lead to 31-16.

Luke, who entered the game averaging 10 yards a carry on the season, was held to just 30 yards on 15 carries. However, he found success out of the backfield as a receiver, catching three passes for 81 yards and a score.

Lee added a late score as backup quarterback Raleigh Poster moveed the ball 80 yards in just over a minute, finishing the drive with a 22-yard score to Marquiston Williams. The two-point attempt was unsuccessful and the Stallions recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the win.

The Stallions controlled the ball much of the first half, using the ground game to maintain possession for a good portion. After both teams traded field goals, Williams put North Mesquite in the end zone for the first time on the night, keeping the ball on a perfectly executed zone-read play and going untouched around the left side for a 30-yard touchdown.

Williams led the Stallions on a scoring drive on their next possession, this time through the air, completing passes of 21 and 22 yards and finishing with a 15-yard TD pass to Kayveon Brown, who outjumped a Lee defender with 24 secondds remaining until halftime to put North Mesquite up 17-3.

Hall lead the way for the Red Raiders, accounting for 148 total yards, only 30 of those coming on the ground. Wilkerson finished the night with 9 catches for 130 yards and added 22 yards rushing.

North Mesquite returns home next week to host Rockwall, while Lee is idle.


North Mesquite 31, Tyler Lee 22

TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler

North Mesquite            3   14    0   14   --   31
Tyler Lee                      0    3    7   12   --   22
First Quarter
NM--FG Frankie Alvarado 27, 7:29.
Second Quarter
TL--FG Chris Blas 39, 6:46.
NM--Cody Williams 30 run (Alvarado kick), 4:11.
NM--Kayveon Brown 15 pass from Williams (Alvarado kick), :24.
Third Quarter
TL--Juwan Banks 21 run (Blas kick), 1:46.
Fourth Quarter
TL--Tavon Wesley 2 run (kick failed), 11:49.
NM--Pat Mobley 38 pass from Williams (Alvarado kick), 10:51.
NM--Ta'Varius Luke 56 pas from Williams (Alvarado kick), 4:19.
TL--Marquiston Williams 22 pass from Raleigh Poster (conversion failed), :39.

                                         NM                TL
First Downs                          15                16
Total Yards                          411              387
Rushes-Yards                 37-188         35-189
Passing Yards                      223             198
Comp.-Att.-Int.               13-20-0       15-21-1
Punts-Avg.                       3-22.0         3-46.0
Fumbles-Lost                        0-0              2-1
Penalties-Yards                    5-40           3-20

RUSHING–North Mesquite, Ta’Varius Luke 15-30, Corey Hunt 16-124Shateek Nasir 2-0, Cody Williams 3-45, Pat Mobley 1-1. Tyler Lee, Zach Hall 13-30, Tavon Wesley 12-79, Bryce Wilkerson 3-22, Marquiston Williams 3-22, Juwan Banks 4-36.
PASSING–North Mesquite, Williams 12-16-0--202, Nasir 1-4-0--21. Tyler Lee, Hall 10-14-0--118, Raleigh Poster 5-7-1--80.
RECEIVING–North Mesquite, Luke 3-81, Kayveon Brown 3-48, Mobley 6-89, Hunt 1-5. Tyler Lee, Williams 2-27, Wesley 1-7, Diondre Allen 1-7, Wilkerson 9-130, Banks 1-5, Averi Clewis 1-22. 

Tyler Lee's Bryce Wilkerson looks on after a play-action fake from quarterback Zach Hall during the Red Raiders' 31-22 loss to North Mesquite on Friday night in Tyler. (Noreen Nartia, ETSN.fm)