Jags’ season ends with loss to Melissa

Cardinals end game with 22 unanswered points after HHS grabs 13-point lead in fourth

Mirror report
Melissa linebacker Kale Brakebill (25) and defensive end Dylan Smith (99) sack Heritage quarterback Kaden Brown during Friday night’s Class 4A Division I area playoff game at Dragon Stadium in Southlake. The Jaguars ended their season with a 50-41 loss.

SOUTHLAKE — The Heritage Jaguars were in a good position with 10:23 remaining in the game after Ben Eskins’ recovery of a blocked punt for a touchdown gave them a 41-28 lead.

But the Melissa Cardinals possess one of the state’s most explosive offenses, and ended the night with 22 unanswered points. Sam Fennegan and Jacob Kusano connected for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead the Cardinals to a 50-41 win over the Jags in a Class 4A Division I area-round playoff game at Dragon Stadium.

Kaden Brown completed 18 of 26 pass attempts for 219 yards and four touchdowns for the Jags (8-4) and added 121 rushing yards and a score. Jason Barela, Xavier Moten, T.J. Pride and Stetson Sarratt each caught a TD pass from Brown.

Tied at 28 heading into the fourth quarter, Heritage scored twice in less than a minute to go up by 13 points. Brown first found Pride for a 25-yard touchdown. Three plays later, Temerick Johnson blocked a punt and Eskins returned it for a score.

However, Fennegan got Melissa (10-2) back into it with a touchdown pass to Matthew Sanford on fourth-and-goal. Melissa's Jayson Cave intercepted a pass on the next Heritage possession, and Fennegan found Kusano on a 55-yard rainbow 50 seconds later to tie the game at 41.

The Jags blocked the ensuing PAT attempt, but Melissa holder Walker Overman recovered the loose football and ran it into the end zone for a two-point conversation and a 43-41 lead.

Fennegan and Kusano added an insurance touchdown pass with 2:13 remaining on a fourth-down attempt.

The two teams had previously faced off during the regular season, with Melissa winning 48-28 at home on Sept. 17. The Cardinals advance to play Waco La Vega on Friday in the Region II semifinals at McKinney ISD Stadium, with the winner facing either Stephenville or Argyle.

The first three quarters were evenly played, with the Jags matching the Cardinals score for score.  The first half ended with Melissa on top 21-14, but HHS pulled even again in the third quarter on a 41-yard pass from Brown to Barela. The Jags answered another Cardinal TD with a Brown keeper with 1:25 left in the third to knot it up at 28-all.