MELISSA — The Melissa Cardinals celebrated Homecoming with a 55-14 trouncing of Lake Worth in non-district play at Cardinal Stadium on Friday. Sophomore quarterback Brendon Lewis led Melissa with 268 yards of total offense, including three touchdown passes and two rushing TDs.
At running back, fellow sophomore Ja’Bray Young rolled to a team-high 101 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown. Young, a state-qualifying sprinter, roamed for 33 and 29 yards on his first two touches.
The Cardinals (1-1) reached the end zone on each of their first four possessions to lead, 27-7, after one quarter. All told, Melissa piled up 482 yards of offense with 289 coming on the ground while the Bullfrogs (0-2) were held to 208 total yards.
“It was a good win,” Cardinals head coach Seth Stinton said. “The most important thing to me is you’ve got guys that have been grinding every day and everybody got to play tonight. I’m excited about that. And everybody played well too.”
Stinton said he was looking for “a little extra energy” from his team after last week’s seven-point loss to Argyle Liberty Christian.
“We tried to speed it up a little bit on offense,” he said. “Defensively, we just tweaked a couple of things — tackled a little bit and ran a couple of different stunts.”
Linebacker Collin O’Neal recovered two fumbles for Melissa — one in the first quarter, one in the third — and safety Chase Mapps’ third-quarter goal line interception thwarted another Lake Worth drive.
“Anytime you can give the ball back to your offense, that’s important,” Stinton said. “We emphasize that. I think you get what you emphasize.”
Lewis connected on 17-of-24 passes for 193 yards with one interception, finding seven different receivers. Tate Whittington nabbed two of Lewis’ touchdown throws — a pair of nine-yarders over the middle — and Marvin Jordan gathered in the other, a five-yarder in the right flat.
“I thought he read [the defense] very well,” Stinton said. “And he spread the ball around to everybody. That’s important for him to do.”
Lewis’ first scoring run — a 52-yard dash up the right side — came on Melissa’s first possession. After Lake Worth’s Andres Vega returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, the Cardinals poured it on with three more scores before the stanza ended.
Breelyn Armstrong’s one-yard dive gave Melissa the lead for good, at 14-7, followed by Jordan’s and both Whittington TD grabs. Whittington’s second touchdown catch sent the Cardinals’ advantage to 34-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Young’s four-yard run to pay dirt sent the lead to 41-7 before Jason Baker sprinted 34 yards untouched for Melissa’s next score. Lewis’ 19-yard burst up the middle to the end zone pushed the margin to 55-7.
“Finally, we played how we’re supposed to play, how I always knew we’d play,” Lewis said. “The offensive line did great today.”
Vega’s second touchdown for the Frogs, a 56-yard, third-quarter scamper, capped the night’s scoring.