Greenville is hoping to recapture some lost homecoming magic when the winless Lions entertain West Mesquite at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the District 10-4A football opener.

The Lions won 11 straight homecoming games from 1992 through 2002 but have lost their last three on homecoming by margins of 46-35 to Denison in 2003, 21-7 to North Lamar in 2004 and 33-3 last year to Lancaster.

Unlike some teams, the Lions do not schedule easy homecoming opponents. All three of their last three homecoming losses were to eventual playoff teams. A couple of their homecoming victories during the 11-game streak were over previously undefeated teams.

West Mesquite is 2-1 for the season, including a surprising 34-31 victory over Corsicana in the season opener. The Wranglers lost a 23-22 heartbreaker to Frisco but bounced back last week to down Frisco Centennial 31-7.

“The thing that stands out on film about this team is how athletic they are,” said Patrick Harvell, the Lions’ defensive coordinator.

The Wranglers’ spread offense is averaging 205.3 yards rushing per game and 129 passing.

Running back Larry Williams, a 5-9, 175-pound senior, is averaging 9.6 yards per carry with 384 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries.

“Williams has great speed and is very elusive in the open field,” said Harvell. “He is also extremely powerful and will run easily through arm tackles.”

Junior quarterback Kendall Thomas ranks as the Wranglers’ second-leading rusher with 110 yards on 36 carries and is 32-of-74 passing for 387 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.

“Thomas is very elusive when running the ball and makes quick decisions in the passing game and usually delivers the ball on target,” said Harvell.

Demarko Grant leads the Wranglers with 10 catches for 155 yards and one touchdown and Jawanza Mitchell has eight catches for 108 yards and one score.

West Mesquite lines up on defense in a 3-4 alignment.

“They are very, very athletic,” said Adam Rupert, the Lions’ offensive coordinator.

Inside linebackers Jordan Schell and A.J. Schafer are two players to watch on West Mesquite’s defense along with outside linebacker Yomi Akintunde and Cornell Bailey.

Manning the trenches for the Wranglers are noseguard James Anders and tackles Jonathan Martinez and Tyrone Luper.

The Lions should be well-rested for homecoming after enjoying an open date last week.

Greenville has lost 29-19 to Denison, 27-21 to Sherman and 32-14 two weeks ago to Liberty-Eylau, which was ranked No. 5 in Class 3A at the time. Liberty-Eylau dropped out of the state rankings with a 35-7 loss to defending Class 3A Division I state champion Wimberley on Friday night. Liberty-Eylau’s starting quarterback Will Middlebrooks left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury, according to a report in the Texarkana Gazette by Louie Avery.

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