Hi. What is the function of the bold と? Is it short for と言って?
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This と is "a quotation-like と" (I don't know the proper name) described in this question. と is not just for what someone said or thought; it can broadly mark the "content" of an action. The closest English equivalent would be "like ～", but in this case "go head-to-head" might be enough. This ～と行くか is a casual/colloquial expression used when someone has decided to "go for" something. It takes a (non-suru-verb, ordinary) noun.
Of course と行く can mean "to go with [someone]", too.