MELISSA — With a share of the District 5-4A (II) championship on the line, the Melissa Cardinals earned their part with a 43-17 victory against Aubrey in a match-up of undefeated teams on Friday
Brendon Lewis threw for 320 yards and five touchdowns, and Tate Whittington caught three passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cardinals (8-1, 4-0), who need a win next week against Community in the finale to win the title outright.
Melissa led 14-3 at halftime before erupting for 29 points in the second half, but things might have been different if Aubrey (7-2, 3-1) had been able to capitalize on a pair drives inside the Melissa 10-yard line in the first half that resulted in only one field goal.
Lewis tossed a 38-yard scoring pass to Kennedy Lewis on the opening drive of the second half to push the Melissa lead to 22-3. Aubrey went three-and-out, and Lewis needed only one play, a 75-yard scoring strike to Junior Castleberry, and the Cardinals were up 29-3.
After another three-and-out by Aubrey, Lewis again made quick work, hitting Whittington on the sideline, and the senior receiver ran 60 yards after the catch to complete an 89-yard scoring play to extend Melissa’s lead to 33 points.
Aubrey scored twice in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard run by Pablo Vera and a 35-yard pass from Taylor Swarbrick to Caden Britten. But it was too late for the Chaparrals, who now must prepare for a regular-season finale at home against Celina with the winner earning the second seed for the playoffs.
Aubrey took the game’s opening drive deep inside Melissa territory, and the Chaparrals had first-and-goal at the 6. A penalty moved the ball back 15 yards, followed by two negative rushes and another penalty, leaving Aubrey with fourth-and-goal from the 32. Swarbrick threw incomplete, and Melissa took over on downs.
The Cardinals wasted little time, going 68 yards in four plays with Lewis tossing a 32-yard scoring pass to Whittington with 2:23 left in the first quarter.
Melissa’s next scoring drive was sparked by a 43-yard pass to Castleberry for 43 yards, and Chance Mapps capped the 91-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Aubrey threatened to score a touchdown late in the first half as the Chaparrals drove to a first-and-10 at the Melissa 11. Brody Bounds rushed the ball to the 5, but again, Aubrey started went backward, losing 4 yards on second down and then throwing incomplete, forcing the Chaparrals to settle for a 26-yard Landon Stewart field goal.