For the 11th time in 12 years, the Melissa Cardinals are headed to the state 7 on 7 championship tournament. The Cards qualified for the big event this time with four wins and no losses at Gainesville’s State Qualifying Tournament (SQT) on Saturday, May 19.
The state tournament is slated for June 28-30 at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station. To reach this level of 7 on 7 competition a team must finish first or second at an SQT. SQTs are held across Texas each spring and 14 more occur between now and the upcoming state championships.
Class 4A Melissa will again compete at state in Division II. In a first for this tournament, team play will occur in three divisions:
Division I - Class 5A/6A schools, with TAPPS or SPC DI
Division II - Class 4A/3A DI schools, other privates
Division III - Class 3A DII schools and below
At Gainesville, the Cards first defeated the Boyd Yellowjackets on a last-second touchdown pass from Brendon Lewis to Kennedy Lewis. Melissa then thumped the Godley Zebras, 54-12, and Graham’s Steers, 50-35. (Graham is the defending Division II state champion and didn’t lose a game last year.)
After winning their pool, the Cards rallied past the Burkburnett Bulldogs in the semi-finals, 41-25, to secure their state-tournament berth. Springtown won its semifinal match for the other Gainesville spot. A final round was not played as both qualifiers will be randomly seeded at state.
The Texas State 7 on 7 Association is a private organization with no ties to the UIL or the Texas High School Coaches Association. No high school coaches may coach the teams or stand on the sidelines. Melissa’s team is coached by Fred Lewis and Paul Anderson. The game is played on a 45-yard field and is all-pass, one-hand touch - with the quarterback having four seconds to throw the ball. No pads or helmets are worn. This spin-off football competition started in 1998, with all teams competing in the same division through 2006.