Melissa’s Cardinals hung on to defeat Bonham 57-50 on Friday, Oct. 7, in a wild District 5-4A Div. II opener for both teams. Cardinals junior quarterback Tate Whittington accounted for five touchdowns in the road win, with three coming by air. He completed 12 of 14 passing attempts for 169 yards with no interceptions.


Senior Gunnar Murphy caught one touchdown pass, a 49-yarder, and senior Avery Wagner collected the other two.


Freshman Ja’Bray Young rushed for a team-high 124 yards and two touchdowns, as Melissa’s other talented freshman running back, Kaedric Cobbs, tallied 110 yards on the ground.


The game featured 49 fourth-quarter points, with Young’s 56-yard score providing the Cards’ final margin of victory. Bonham cut Melissa’s lead to 57-50 late, then successfully executed an on-side kick but was unable to score with seconds left.


“It was an offensive battle, that’s for sure,” Cards’ head coach Seth Stinton said. “I thought Bonham did a great job, offensively. Their (flexbone) offense is one you don’t see very often and they execute it pretty well. Their offensive line is pretty big. Their fullback is about 210 pounds so they get about ‘four-yards-and-a-cloud of-dust.’”


Melissa’s offense, of course, was cooking too.


“The only time they really stopped us, we fumbled a quarterback/running back exchange,” Stinton said. “Other than that, I thought we did everything perfectly. We’re rolling. You score 57 points, that’s a pretty good night.”


The Cards led, 29-16, at halftime.


Melissa’s leading tacklers this night were senior Payton Wallace (16 stops), junior Tommy Gallardo (13), Murphy (12) and Young (11).


The Cards host Caddo Mills (1-4, 0-1) on Friday, Oct. 14. The Foxes are coming off a 61-0 loss to Celina.