By MARCUS ELLIOTT
PARIS — J.C. Cottrell scored twice, including on an interception return, and Melissa won its fourth straight game following its season-opening loss to Celina with a 43-13 non-district victory against Paris on Friday night.
The Cardinals (4-1) came away with five turnovers and at one point scored 37 straight points from the first to third quarters.
"I thought our kids played really hard," Melissa head coach Seth Stinton said. "We challenged them this week to put together a complete game and they responded well. Our defense played extremely hard and did some things to frustrate them."
Paris (1-4) scored on its opening drive less then four minutes into the game but turnovers hurt the Wildcats from that point on.
After Melissa recovered a muffed punt inside the red zone, the offense was able to punch it in two plays later then junior quarterback Taylor McGehee found the end zone from seven yards out to knot up the game at seven.
Two plays later, Cottrell intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown to give Melissa the lead for good. Before the end of the first quarter, Cade Cruce added to the lead with a five-yard TD run.
McGehee was 12-for-23 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown while adding 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He found Cottrell with a six-yard pass for a score and Cruce kicked a 32-yard field goal to close out the first half.
"Our offensive line did a great job of protecting our QB and creating seams for our running backs," Stinton said. "Special teams really stood out this week, we created three turnovers."
Tyler West came on and threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Mason in the third quarter. Paris answered with a Quez Allen 37-yard TD pass to K.D. Scott but Melissa responded when Marcus Ellis scored late in the third.
The Cardinals will travel to Abilene’s Shotwell Stadium on Saturday for a non-district game against Lubbock Estacado before opening 12-3A action.
"This week Estacado is very talented and very explosive on the offensive side of the ball," Stinton said. "We really must do a great job of playing with great enthusiasm again this week and put together a great gameplan to slow them down."