MELISSA — After a slow start, Class 5A Frisco opened a can of Wing-T ground game in the second quarter then outlasted Melissa, 48-41, Friday at Cardinals Stadium.
While the loss put a damper on Melissa’s Homecoming and home-opener, the contest was anything but boring. The two teams combined for 12 touchdowns and 921 yards of offense — with seven lead changes and three solid circus catches.
Recall, the Raccoons scored 48 points on Melissa last year as well in a wild, weather-delayed affair at Toyota Stadium. But the Cards won that one with 63 points of their own. This time, Melissa’s high-octane offense was hampered by two lost fumbles — leading to 10 Raccoon points — and three failed fourth-down tries in the second-half.
Frisco (2-0) trailed 14-3 after one quarter and 34-30 at the break, but the Cards (1-1) would find the end zone just once more the rest of the way.
“All week, we kind of knew this would be like a Big 12 football game where you just need a stop or two, or a turnover or two, and that would make the difference,” Frisco head coach Jeff Harbert said. “We feel like our offense is good. And we know that their offense is really good. They hung a big number on us last year. … Of course, their quarterback is a special athlete. He might the best one I’ve ever played against.”
Melissa’s Brendon Lewis indeed lit it up again, throwing for 413 yards and four touchdowns with a rushing TD as well. His favorite target, wideout Chase Mapps, romped to a game-high eight catches for 203 yards and a touchdown.
Raccoons running back Bryson Clemons similarly dominated, roaming for a game-high 240 yards on 20 carries, with much of it coming right up the middle. His 85-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner. That dagger came on Frisco’s first play from scrimmage after the Cards had tied it, 41-all, on Lewis’ fourth-down, 30-yard strike to Antjuan Turner with six minutes left to play.
Melissa running back Xylon Posey carried 17 times for 61 yards and one touchdown. The Cards were still without injured running back Ja’Bray Young who is expected back next week.
Linebacker Caden Hayes led Melissa’s defense with seven solo tackles and seven assists with four quarterback pressures. Linebacker Parker Jack posted five solo stops with five assists and defensive end Caleb Kroese got three solo tackles and three assists.
“First off, kudos to Frisco,” Cards head coach Matt Nally said. “They did an unbelievable job. Their old-school offense that they have, it’s tough to simulate. We really liked our game plan going into the game. We gave our defense some short ends of the field with turnovers. … [Frisco] did some things tonight that they hadn’t shown on film. They had a few wrinkles that wasn’t on film last year and wasn’t on film this year. … Frisco, that’s a playoff team. They might fight for a district championship.”
“We know every night that we’re going to come out and be explosive on offense. But we want our identity to be a three-phase team. … That’s something that I feel like we have taken steps towards.”
Nally added, “We’re not going to be defined by one game and one situation. That’s the thing I love about the kids at Melissa. They always answer to adversity.”
The Cards jumped ahead, 14-0, with touchdown drives on its first two possessions while Frisco punted twice. Lewis capped Melissa’s first scoring march - six plays, 55 yards - with an 8-yard toss to a wide-open Turner in the end zone after Lewis had scrambled to his right. The Cards came back with a four-play, 58-yard drive that Lewis topped off with a 33-yard strike to Tyler Burton in the back-right corner of the end zone.
The Raccoons’ got untracked on their next possession, driving 62 yards to the Melissa 13 before settling for a 30-yard field goal. Clemons’ 36-yard burst to the Cards’ 29 was the march’s key play.
Melissa was still in charge, 14-3, when adversity struck Lewis and company on the next play from scrimmage. After Chase Mapps’ catch in the left flat, Frisco defenders knocked the ball loose and recovered it at the Melissa 33. Clemons traversed that distance in three rushes up the gut, scoring from 10 yards out on the first play of the second quarter and the Raccoons trailed, 14-10.
Melissa’s next possession was stunted when a huge Lewis-to-Burton gainer into Raccoon territory was wiped out by penalty. After a Cards punt, Frisco started from the Melissa 37 and soon notched the go-ahead touchdown on Caree’ Green’s 8-yard pass to Donta’ Reece in the left flat. A 2-point conversion pass failed and Frisco led, 16-14, with 7:57 left in the half.
Melissa answered with its best drive of the night, 75 yards in 12 plays with Lewis running it in from 10 yards out for a 21-16 lead. During that push, the Cards looked to Posey twice on third-and-1, and he and the offensive line converted both times.
Melissa’s advantage quickly disappeared when Chase Lowery returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. Trailing 23-21, the Cards struck back with Lewis finding Chase Mapps for 52 yards to the Frisco 23. Four plays later, from seven yards out, Posey would not be denied as he broke three tackles charging up the middle and into the end zone.
With the Raccoons now down, 27-23, and 2:30 left in the half, a double-covered Lowery somehow came down with a 38-yard pass down the right side as he fell to the ground. Then on third-and-6 from Melissa’s 11 with 45 seconds left before the break, Green found Clemons for a left-side screen-pass touchdown.
But Melissa wasn’t done, trailing 30-27. Starting from his own 13, Lewis connected with Burton for 17 and Braeden Smith for 22. Then from Frisco’s 48 on the final play of the half, Lewis looked deep to Chase Mapps who went up high in the back of the end zone, covered like a blanket, and pulled down the perfectly-delivered spiral for a 34-30 Melissa lead.
The frenzied pace slowed in the third quarter, but Frisco won it, 8-0. To open that frame, the Cards went for it on fourth-and-2 from their own 30 and Lewis was stopped for a 1-yard gain. Frisco needed four plays from there to score, with Blake May sweeping the left side from 15 yards out. Green’s 2-point-conversion run made it, 38-30.
Melissa then marched to the Raccoons’ 22 in 13 plays but, after a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, Lewis’ pass on fourth-and-20 was incomplete. Frisco also earned an unsportsmanlike penalty on the drive as the contest got chippy.
The Raccoons’ next possession ended with a punt after a big sack led by Caleb Kroese near midfield. Four plays into the fourth quarter, Melissa lost its second fumble on a Posey carry to the Cards’ 33. Melissa’s defense held but Raccoons kicker Jake Gaster was good from 47 yards out and Frisco led, 41-34.
Antonio Robinson returned the kickoff to the Melissa 43 and runs by Lewis and Smith moved the ball to the Raccoons’ 27. Then on fourth-and-9 from the 30 - one play after tackle Hayden Nofziger alertly fell on another loose ball - Lewis dialed up Turner streaking toward the back of the end zone for six points. Luke Hansen’s fifth extra point of the night tied it at 41 with six minutes remaining.
Moments later, Clemons delivered his 85-yard knockout punch, bursting to his left and outrunning defenders down the sideline to pay dirt.
Melissa got one more chance to tie, taking over on its own 5 with five minutes left on the clock. A 43-yard strike to Chase Mapps on first down gave Cards’ fans hope but the drive would stall, ending with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-15.
Frisco 48, Melissa 41
Frisco 3 27 8 10 - 48
Melissa 14 20 0 7 - 41
M - Antjuan Turner 8 pass from Brendon Lewis (Luke Hansen kick), 7:31
M - Tyler Burton 33 pass from Brendon Lewis (Luke Hansen kick), 4:49
F - Jake Gaster 30 FG, 1:00
F - Bryce Clemons 10 run (Jake Gaster kick), 11:56
F - Donte Reece 8 pass from Caree Green (pass failed), 7:57
M - Brendon Lewis 10 run (Luke Hansen kick), 4:27
F - Chase Lowery 87 kickoff return (Jake Gaster kick), 4:14
M - Xylon Posey 7 run (run failed), 2:46
F - Bryson Clemons 11 pass from Caree Green (Jake Gaster kick), 0:38
M - Chase Mapps 48 pass from Brendon Lewis (Luke Hansen kick), 0:00
F - Blake May 15 run (Caree’ Green run), 8:30
F - Jake Gaster 47 FG, 8:39
M - Antjuan Turner 30 pass from Brendon Lewis (Luke Hansen kick), 6:00
F - Bryson Clemons 85 run (Jake Gaster kick), 5:39
Stats Frisco Melissa
First downs 17 25
Rushes-yards 34-292 36-146
Passing yards 70 413
C-A-I 4-11-0 22-29-0
Punts-average 3-35 1-32
Penalties-yards 4-50 8-72
Fumbles-lost 0-0 5-2
Rushing – Frisco: Bryson Clemons 20-240, Blake May 3-32, Donta’ Reece 2-23, Nicholas Holland 2-9, Aaron Taylor 1-2, Caree’ Green 3-(-14). Melissa: Brendon Lewis 16-70, Xylon Posey 17-61, Braeden Smith 3-15.
Passing – Frisco: Caree’ Green 4-11-0-70. Melissa: Brendon Lewis 22-29-0-413.
Receiving – Frisco: Chase Lowery 2-51, Bryson Clemons 1-11, Donta’ Reece 1-8. Melissa: Chase Mapps 8-203, Tyler Burton 6-82, Braeden Smith 3-43, Antjuan Turner 3-42, Ezra Monroe 2-43.