Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Talented Mesquite seniors have led rebound from one-win seasons in 2009, 2010
MESQUITE — Back-to-back one-win seasons created a gloomy football atmosphere at Mesquite after the 2010 season. But defensive back Chris Thompson, then a sophomore, predicted a bright future as coach Robbie Robinson drove him home from a practice before the 2011 season.
“All of this losing is going to change,” Thompson said. “We’re through with all that.”
Thompson wasn’t the only one making big plans for a team that had won two of its previous 20 games. The Skeeters’ football Class of 2013, the talented bunch who are now seniors, had always expected to turn things around.
“We just had to wait our turn,” said quarterback Alex Cooper.
Their time has come, and so have the results. As juniors, they helped Mesquite go three rounds deep in the playoffs, and as seniors, they have Mesquite one victory from its first 3-0 start since it won the Class 5A Division I title in 2001.
Three other schools in the Mesquite ISD — Horn, Poteet and West Mesquite — have also started 2-0. North Mesquite is 1-1, giving the district a 9-1 record through two weeks. The Mesquite ISD could be headed for a year like 2010, when West Mesquite went three rounds in the playoffs, Horn went four and Poteet nearly knocked off eventual champion Aledo in the 4A Division II semifinals.
“Our kids are not afraid to play anybody,” said Mesquite ISD athletic director Steve Bragg. “As long as we’re healthy, we’re as good as anybody in the metroplex.”
Mesquite was as good as anybody in the Dallas area when it finished 15-0 in 2001. But it had missed the playoffs three straight years before last season’s dramatic turnaround, which included two playoff wins. The current senior class had a lot to do with it, including Cooper, who threw for 2,471 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Cooper has been extremely efficient this year, completing 41 of 48 passes (85 percent) for 601 yards and six touchdowns with only one interception. Those are the kinds of numbers you might expect from a college football recruit, but Cooper said he hasn’t received any attention. Cooper, a 6-foot guard for the Mesquite basketball team, does have a basketball offer from Stephen F. Austin.
Cooper said he is open to playing either sport in college, and Robinson gives him a strong endorsement for both.
“Alex is a winner,” he said. “He just makes things happen.”
Bad things were generally happening for Mesquite two years ago, when eight of the Skeeters’ current seniors played for the varsity. The sophomores who didn’t play for the varsity that season helped Mesquite win the junior varsity district championship.
Now they’re hoping for a championship on the bigger stage. Cooper is the star right now, but Mesquite might shine brightest as a collection of very good players.
“We all make each other better,” said Thompson, who made the clinching interception in last week’s 34-20 win over Arlington Bowie.
“Since we were freshmen, we’ve kind of weeded out all of the ‘me’ guys who were for themselves,” said senior offensive lineman Daniel Mafileo.
Now the senior class is one big family, he said.
With big ambitions.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon