The Bulldogs will get a rematch with a familiar rival when they open district play Thursday night on the road at Kirksville at 7 p.m.
Kirksville is the No. 4 seed and Mexico the No. 5 seed in Class 4 District 6. The winner of the game will advance to play the Helias-Marshall winner Wednesday, Nov. 6.
The two teams met up in Week 7 with Kirksville winning 14-10 in a turnover-filled game by both sides. Both the Bulldogs and the Tigers had two fumbles and three interceptions but both of Mexico's fumbles were especially costly since they came in the end zone.
"I think it (the turnover and penalty battle) could be the deciding factor again. We cannot make the same mistakes," said Mexico head coach Ty Harrison. "They are playing very good right now as they have won four straight games. We look forward to the challenge of playing them again. We are excited but we know we will have to play a cleaner game to have a chance."
Kirksville has been on a winning streak lately, beating Boonville, Mexico, Trenton and Fulton and haven't lost since Week 5 when they fell 33-20 to Hannibal.
Mexico has split its last two games, shutting out Fulton 21-0 for a Homecoming victory and falling 41-14 last week to state-ranked Moberly.
Three of the key Kirksville players to watch on offense are senior quarterback / tailback Tyler Osborn, senior running back Blake Riley and junior quarterback Makenna Cook.
Cook and Osborn have shared time at the quarterback position this season and both been successful. Last week against Fulton Cook threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another. Riley set a single-game scoring record for Kirksville with five touchdowns and a two-point conversion against Trenton and Osborn scored both of his team's touchdowns in the win over the Bulldogs.
For Mexico to get the upper hand this time around they must do several things according to Harrison.
"Keys for us will be creating some turnovers and not turning the football over ourselves and also eliminating their big plays," he said.
With the regular season behind them and all teams on equal footing, district play cranks up the intensity since a loss means your season is over. For the Bulldog players and coaches getting a chance for another shot at Kirksville is extra motivation.
"The atmosphere the whole week is a playoff atmosphere because we know we have to win to keep playing," Harrison said. "It is exciting to have the opportunity to play knowing that we have to win against an opponent that we feel like we let one get away from earlier. When the game starts it will come down to execution and turnovers."