MELISSA — While Highway 5 rivals Anna and Melissa had already locked up their spots in the playoffs, there was still plenty at stake on Friday night, namely the District 12-3A title.

MELISSA — While Highway 5 rivals Anna and Melissa had already locked up their spots in the playoffs, there was still plenty at stake on Friday night, namely the District 12-3A title.


Anna had a chance to earn part of the crown, which would have been the program’s first in three decades, but Melissa pulled away for the 40-21 victory that gave the Cardinals part of the possession along with Princeton.


Melissa (8-2, 3-1) will take on Dallas Roosevelt in a Class 3A Division II Region II bi-district game at John Clark Stadium in Plano at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday while Anna (3-7, 2-2) faces Wilmer-Hutchins in a Division I Region II bi-district contest at Wylie at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.


In the first quarter it looked like it was going to be a run-and-gun, high-scoring contest.


The Coyotes started the game with the ball and with runs by Isaac Armijo, Ty Chapman and a catch by Hunter Green drove right down the field to score first.


Melissa immediately replied, putting together a 69-yard, drive that culminated with a Marcus Ellis score. A stop by the defense set Melissa up for its second score, a four-yard scamper by Tyler West.


Anna put together a drive that brought it inside the red zone but a costly penalty gave them a third-and-goal situation from the 21. The Coyotes went for it on fourth down and the Chapman pass to the end zone was incomplete.


The Cardinals took advantage, marching 84 yards in just over five minutes to go up 20-7 with 70 seconds to go in the half.


Melissa attempted an onside kick but the move backfired when Green snatched it with a clear path to the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown return.


Anna forced a turnover after Melissa and then on its first offensive play Chapman connected with John Erwin for a 50-yard pass and catch that gave the Coyotes a 21-20 advantage going into the half.


Melissa started the second half with the ball and put together a 75-yard scoring drive to take the lead for good on an Ellis run. The Coyotes punted twice and turned the ball over on downs twice on their final four drives and the Cardinals extended their lead with two Jackson Webb touchdown catches of 58 and 27 yards.


"I thought our seniors really played well," Melissa head coach Seth Stinton said. "It was a great team effort. We must continue to get better each day to be good in the playoffs."


Ellis finished the game with two scores and 118 yards while Armjio countered with 93 yards and a touchdown for Anna.