Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Mesquite Poteet knocks Highland Park out of playoffs
ARLINGTON - Mesquite Poteet hurdled multiple barriers with a convincing 45-21 victory over Highland Park at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night.
Poteet defeated rival Highland Park for the first time after losing the first 14 meetings since Poteet opened in 1990.
Poteet was a combined 1-19 the previous two seasons but will now play in the Class 4A Division II Region II final under first-year coach Randy Jackson. Poteet (11-2) will face Bastrop at 2 p.m. Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium.
Poteet repeatedly kept Highland Park off-balance with big plays, and it took advantage of uncharacteristic Highland Park mistakes. Highland Park (12-1) lost in the third round of the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Highland Park threw three interceptions, lost two fumbles and had a pair of critical penalties.
Poteet took a 31-14 lead with 8:45 left in the third quarter as Courtland Cumby ran 8 yards to cap an 80-yard, 10-play drive. The score kept Highland Park reeling after Poteet scored in the final minute of the first half as quarterback Beau Nowell connected with a wide-open Justin Velasquez on a 43-yard scoring pass to make it 24-14 at the half. Poteet's drive was kept alive by a running-into-the-punter penalty.
Poteet started picking up steam as defensive back Chase Graham had an interception to set up the first scoring drive. Chase Graham had two interceptions and created a third by tipping a pass.
Poteet had advanced to the third round only twice before, in 1997 and 1999 under longtime coach Bill Taylor. Taylor was among the many Poteet alumni - including former two-sport standout and one-time Poteet punter and major league pitcher Jason Jennings - celebrating the milestone victory.
Nowell, the son of former Poteet baseball coach Ted Nowell, ended with 19 completions for 243 yards and one touchdown. Running back Steven Hicks had 191 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns. Poteet had 500 yards of total offense, and Velasquez had eight catches for 139 yards.
Poteet kept Highland Park to a season-low point total as defensive coordinator Pete Gee mixed coverage and substitutions packages.
Poteet led, 14-7, after an 8-yard run by Hicks was set up by a 34-yard pass to Velasquez. An interception, tipped by Graham and caught by Landon Phillips set up a drive for a 29-yard field goal by Stewart MacDonell to make it 17-7.