Written by Brandon George
West Mesquite, Poteet, Horn could give their district three titles
MESQUITE - These days, Mesquite ISD athletic director Steve Bragg is spending a lot of time on the road and running himself ragged. But he'd have it no other way.
For the first time in school district history, three Mesquite football teams - Horn, Poteet and West Mesquite - have advanced to the third round of the playoffs.
The first round was particularly a challenge for Bragg because West Mesquite played in Waco on a Thursday night, Horn played in Stephenville on a Friday night and Bragg was back in Waco on Saturday to watch Poteet play.
"It's kind of hard to keep straight of where I need to be," Bragg said. "Usually by this time, we're down to one team or maybe two. But it's really enjoyable. It's great to see all of our kids be successful."
For years now, the Mesquite ISD athletic director has had lunch with the district's football coaches on most Thursdays. Bragg said it's a chance for him to communicate information face-to-face with each school's athletic coordinator and for each coach to get to know one another better.
"It's a good time, and it's a way to also get away and share ideas," West Mesquite coach Mike Overton said. "It's pretty neat."
Those Thursday lunches have been even more enjoyable of late as Horn coach Rodney Webb, Poteet coach Randy Jackson and Overton have advanced in the playoffs.
"This past Thursday, we ate and we had all three won our opening-round game and it's good for camaraderie," said Jackson, 10-2 in his first season at Poteet, which was 1-19 the previous two seasons. "In a school district this size, if we didn't meet once a week, we wouldn't know each other very well."
Mesquite is the only suburban school district to still have three teams alive in the playoffs.
That leaves open the possibility of three state-champion teams coming from the Mesquite ISD.
Last season, the Arlington ISD had three teams - Arlington, Bowie and Martin - reach the third round of the Class 5A playoffs. Two of those teams - Arlington and Bowie - advanced to play one more game.
"The downside is with so many teams playing, the whole community can't just rally around one team," Webb said. "But it's awesome. The whole city is buzzing right now."
The Thursday lunches have brought the coaches closer. After playoff wins, they text each other congratulations.
None of the coaches wants to be the first one to lose.
In the first two rounds, Horn and West Mesquite have won on Friday nights, with Poteet playing on Saturday.
"That has put a little pressure on us to keep pace," Jackson said. "But we've held up our end of the deal, so to speak."
Last Saturday, Poteet knocked off a very good Whitehouse team, 24-19, in Corsicana to keep the Pirates' dream season alive. About 10 minutes after Poteet won, Webb sent a text to Jackson that jokingly read, "Can you please let us have the spotlight for just one week?"
Jackson said he read the message to his team, and it drew much laughter.
Yes, these days in Mesquite, Bragg isn't the only one smiling.
"But Steve Bragg is on sensory overload right now," Webb said, laughing. "He is in hog heaven."
Busy weekend for Mesquite ISD
Three Mesquite ISD teams will be in action this weekend:
West Mesquite (10-2) plays Wylie (9-3) at 4 p.m. today at Cowboys Stadium in a Class 4A Division I Region II semifinal.
Horn (8-4) plays Leander (7-5) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco in a Class 5A Division II Region II semifinal.
Poteet(10-2) plays Highland Park (12-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in a 4A Division II Region II semifinal.