NEVADA — The Melissa Cardinals wrapped up an undefeated run in District 5-4A (II) withe their ninth straight victory of the season, 48-35, against Nevada Community at Braves Field on Friday night.
The win streak is one short of tying the school record, set during the run to the 2011 state championship.
Besides Kennedy Lewis leading Melissa with four catches for 126 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Brendon Lewis’ 339 yards of offense, defensive end Caleb Kroese tied a single-game school record with three sacks and cornerback Chance Mapps pushed past the school’s single-season record for pass-break-ups, with 11.
Additionally, Cards running back Ja’Bray Young churned out 102 yards on nine carries to compliment Brendon Lewis’ 103 rushing yards on eight tries. Melissa built a 48-20 early-fourth-quarter lead then held off Community’s late 15-point rally for the victory.
“Our guys set a goal: They wanted to be undefeated district champs. It’s a good win. It’s good to be able to come over here and give those guys a trophy,” Melissa head coach Seth Stinton said. “I’m pleased with our kids, pleased with their effort.”
Melissa (9-1, 5-0) will face Dallas Lincoln in a bi-district game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Plano’s Kimbrough Stadium, a rematch of last season’s first-round pairing.
The Cards’ victory over Community (3-7, 1-4) didn’t come easy, though, as Melissa gave away four turnovers and had three big plays called back due to penalties. The Cards lead at halftime was only 26-20. Braves quarterback Colby Warren rushed for a team-high 110 yards and threw for 195 more.
“We’ve got to go get some stuff corrected and talk about some focus things,” Stinton added. “I think our guys weren’t necessarily ready for this one. We’ve got to change that and they’ve got to be ready to play next week.”
The Braves’ first two scores, including the game’s inaugural points, were set up by Melissa turnovers. After a muffed punt reception, Community moved 29 yards in 11 eleven plays for a 7-0 lead on Warren’s 1-yard dive.
Melissa stormed back with touchdowns on three-straight possessions — Young’s three-yard rush, Tate Whittington’s four-yard catch and Kennedy’s Lewis 44-yard deep-ball grab on fourth-and-7 — before the Braves struck again after picking off a pass and returning it to the Cards’ 33. From there, Community scored four plays later on Savon Mack’s 11-yard scamper.
A one-yard touchdown burst by Breelyn Armstrong put the Cards up, 26-14, before Community answered with a Warren-to-Brock Price score, 22 seconds before halftime.
Melissa opened strong after the break, with Chance Mapps’ five-yard touchdown run capping an eight-play drive and Kennedy Lewis taking a pass in the left flat 51 yards for a score. After Kennedy’s final TD grab — an early fourth-quarter 15-yarder over the middle — the Braves kept things interesting with another Warren rushing touchdown and his 56-yard strike to Abel Skariah.
A Cole McCraw interception and Cody Garner’s fumble recovery thwarted second-half Community drives.