Joe Claxton Guest Writer
Mansfield, Texas —
Former Ada Cougar All-Stater and coach Chris Melson hardly had time to catch his breath after his Mansfield Legacy team’s 70-49 Class 4A Division I victory over McKinney North Friday. Next up was a berth opposite Highland Park in the regional semifinals this past Friday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.
That’s right, AT&T Stadium.
For those who have not been keeping up, that’s formerly JerrysWorld Stadium, Dallas Cowboys Stadium. One of the elite venues of football and one of Ada’s own will lead his team onto the hallowed turf in the hulking stadium.
As much as many others and more than most, Melson was steeped in Cougar tradition as player and coach in the 1980s and 1990s.
As he prepared his 10-2 Broncos for the trip to the former JerrysWorld, he compared the teams, the eras.
“This team is the first team I’ve coached since I left Ada that has the same mindset as .... we are gonna win every game and don’t doubt it! It’s hard to get that....but these guys have it!” Melson said.
In ‘Conference’ 3A, 4A and 5A, the top four teams from each district advance to the playoffs. The two schools with the largest enrollments automatically advance to the Division I bracket. The remaining two schools advance into the Division II bracket. The kicker is that there are two state champions per conference in Conference 3A, 4A and 5A. For example, 4A, will have a Division I (Legacy’s division), state champion and a Division II state champion.
Melson is Legacy’s athletic coordinator and head football coach. In fact, he is Legacy’s only AC and head football coach, ever.
Melson came aboard in 2007, the year the Dallas area school opened. It is the fourth of four Mansfield high schools.
It is the third of three football posts in Texas for Melson.
When ‘Coach Larry’ Larry McBroom left Ada for Weatherford, Texas, after the 1995 season, it was the beginning of a coaching exodus that broke up the old gang, including Melson to Rockwall, after three years and three state titles on the Ada staff.
He started out at Rockwall, Texas, as an assistant for eight years. Legacy followed a tenure as AD and head football coach at Electra.
After an All-State QB career at Ada, including the 1986 state championship, Melson was a starting wide receiver for the University of Oklahoma, where he received his bachelors in business administration in 1992, and teacher certificate from East Central University.
It is Legacy’s second playoff berth. In 2009 the Broncos went to the second round.
Again comparing Legacy to Ada, Melson said the work ethic his players have shown and their desire to be successful is outstanding.
A year ago, Legacy was 4-6 and 2-5 in District 15-4A. The school missed the playoffs, but Melson could see the storm on the horizon.
With key players RB Kijana Amous (5-10, 206); and QB Terrance Ivery (5-8, 175); returning, he made the big switch, moving Ivery to QB to utilize his 4.4 speed.
Against McKinney, Melson’s QB-RB offense was without Amous and Ivery, both 1,000-yard rushers, but the backups came through.
Editor’s Note: The following article was written prior to the game. Former Ada Cougar All-Stater and coach Chris Melson’s Mansfield Legacy team lost to Highland Park 48-0 Friday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in the Class 4A-I regional semifinals..