Amid successful run, Cardinals prepare to face Yellow Jackets
MELISSA – The Cardinals are looking to move to 5-0 when they host the Stephenville Yellow Jackets on Sept. 18.
Coach Matt Nally’s team continued to make hay when they took down the number three (Class 3A-DI) Pottsboro Cardinals in very convincing fashion 51-17 on Sept. 11.
The win capped off a three-week run when Melissa took down top-ranked teams Celina, number three (Class 4A-DI) 32-20, and Sunnyvale, number five (Class 4A-DI) 58-28, before beating Pottsboro.
This week, the Cardinals are hosting a Stephenville squad that was thumping the Salado Eagles 31-19 at halftime on Sept. 11 before they gave up six unanswered second-half touchdowns, which resulted in a 61-45 defeat.
The Yellow Jackets are bringing a 1-2 record into the contest.
Melissa will continue to rely on its high-power, fast-strike offense led by quarterback Sam Fennegan and a group of receivers that includes Antonio Robinson, Colton Wittwer, Jacob Kusano and Damon Youngblood.
Jaylen Williams and Ashton Mitchell-Johnston continue to produce at the running back spot. Carlos Branch continues to excel on special teams along with their steady place-kicker Luke Hansen also giving a strong effort.
The Cardinals’ tenacious defense led by a whole host of players presents opponents with a bend-but-not-break force. Melissa’s defense has also taken advantage of the big play with turnovers against their opponents as well.
Nally has noted several performances after the last three Friday night contests, along with once again giving recognition to the entire defensive and special teams units.
This will be Melissa’s final tuneup before heading into a very strong District 7-4A (DI) schedule. One of those district opponents is Argyle, which is sitting at the top of the Class 4A-Division I rankings with a 3-0 record.
Melissa’s first district opponent will be the Paris Wildcats, who are sitting at 2-1 and playing well with their only loss coming last week to Texarkana Pleasant Grove (ranked number two in Class 4A-DII).
Nally is committed to making sure his players understand that this early season success is great, but it is only the beginning.
If the Cardinals ambitions are beyond district and the opportunity to move further in the playoffs than last season, they have to continue to perform this week against Stephenville and then crank it up for their district run - especially with their first two games of district play coming against Paris and Argyle.
“It’s all about Paris, Argyle, Kaufman, Terrell and [Carrollton] Ranchview,” Nally said.