MELISSA — It had been five years since Highway 5 neighbors Melissa and Anna met on the gridiron. Coming off a bye after two disappointing losses, the recharged Cardinals stormed past Anna, 47-0, for their first District 7-4A (I) win and their first shutout since blanking Van Alstyne, 42-0, in 2012.
For the Coyotes (4-3, 1-2), it marked the team’s second-straight shutout loss, having fallen at Paris, 27-0, a week ago.
Melissa quarterback Brendon Lewis threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns while roaming for another 136 yards and a score on the ground. Ja’Bray Young rushed for a game-high 164 yards and two touchdowns and also logged a TD catch. Kennedy Lewis hauled in four passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns while Junior Castleberry caught four balls for a team-high 90 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Linebacker Braylon Brown led Melissa tacklers with nine solo stops.
All told, the Cards (4-2, 1-1) out-rushed Anna, 340-63, and crafted a 618-173 bulge in total yards.
“We’ve been talking to them all week about how we need to respond when adversity hits,” Melissa head coach Seth Stinton said. “I can’t say enough about the way we practiced the past two weeks. It’s pretty evident on the scoreboard. I thought our kids did a great job. They put in a lot of great effort and executed our game plan.”
With this win, the Cards’ all-time series edge moves to 8-1.
“We knew what we could do. We knew what the outcome was going to be, we just wanted to show it,” Brendon Lewis said. “We wanted to show everybody what we could do.”
Offensive lineman Trevor Duggan added, “We had that mentality that we were going to work hard and we were going to win.”
The Cards scored on all but two possessions — one that ended in a fumble at Anna’s three-yard line in the first quarter and the other on a fourth-down incompletion late in the game.
Warren Mason led Anna with 73 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Junior Rodriguez threw for 110 yards, hitting on 13-of-19 attempts with most going in the flat to Noah Palshaw, who finished with a team-high 11 catches for 82 yards.
Anna had opportunities early on as the Cards stumbled a bit in the first quarter with that lost fumble, a muffed punt and two pass interference penalties. But unable to capitalize, the Coyotes trailed, 6-0, after one frame — a deficit courtesy of Brendon Lewis’ eight-yard touchdown toss to Young.
Melissa erupted for 20 points in the second quarter on consecutive drives. The first went 69 yards in 12 plays and was capped by Young’s tackle-breaking burst up the middle from seven yards out. After an Anna three-and-out, the Cards came right back with a 95-yard march highlighted by Young’s 33-yard scamper to the Melissa 43. The payoff came on Brendon Lewis’ 38-yard dart to Castleberry over the middle and the Cards led, 20-0, with 3:18 remaining in the first half.
After another Anna punt, Melissa drove deep into Coyotes territory with four seconds left on the clock. Then, from the six-yard-line on the final play of the first half, Brendon Lewis delivered a touchdown pass to Kennedy Lewis for a 26-0 Cards advantage.
On Melissa’s first drive of the second half, Brendon Lewis got loose down the left sideline for 47 yards to the Coyotes’ 25. Five plays later, Lewis skirted to his left again for an 8-yard touchdown and the Cards led, 34-0. Melissa’s next score came on Young’s 1-yard push up the middle as the third quarter wound down. With 10:22 left to play, Kennedy Lewis’ 24-yard touchdown catch on a fade to the right corner of the end zone closed out the scoring.
Melissa travels to face Celina (4-2, 2-1) this week while the Coyotes have a bye.