The Paris Wildcats rallied from a 25-9 second-half deficit to defeat Melissa, 28-25, in the district-opener for both teams on Friday at Paris. The Wildcats’ Dorian Williams scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on a 5-yard run with 1:33 left to play. Brendon Lewis’ 58-yard touchdown pass to Kennedy Lewis had given the Cardinals a 25-9 lead midway through the third quarter.


The loss was the Cards’ second-straight after opening the season at 3-0. Paris’ record moved to 3-2 as well.


Melissa’s Brendon Lewis threw for 195 yards with three touchdown tosses to Kennedy Lewis. Lewis’ 19-yard TD grab in the first quarter gave Melissa a 7-0 lead. Ja’Bray Young followed with an 8-yard scoring run to boost the Cards’ advantage to 13-0 by the end of the first quarter. After Paris cut the lead to 13-7, Brendon Lewis’ 29-yard scoring strike to Kennedy Lewis gave Melissa a 19-7 halftime lead.


In the third quarter, the Wildcats notched a safety to trail, 19-9, before the 58-yard Lewis-to-Lewis bomb grabbed back the momentum for Melissa. Williams’ 2-yard touchdown run drew Paris to within 25-15 before the third frame expired. In the fourth, Kobe Savage’s 5-yard TD run cut the Cards’ lead to 25-22.


Kennedy Lewis and Collin O’Neal led Melissa tacklers with 10 stops each. Lewis also picked off a pass and O’Neal had two tackles for a loss with four quarterback pressures. Caleb Kroese recorded nine stops and Braylon Brown added eight with a QB pressure.


Melissa draws a bye on Friday and will face Anna (4-1) at Cardinals Stadium on Oct. 12. It will be the first match-up between the two teams since 2013 when Melissa prevailed, 40-21, for its third-straight series win. The Coyotes’ last series victory came in 2010 by a 9-7 margin.