MELCHER — A late defensive stand enabled the Collins-Maxwell football team to take down Melcher-Dallas, 28-20, to earn its third consecutive victory to end the season Friday at Melcher.


The Spartans were up eight in the fourth quarter when Melcher-Dallas’ Joe Branson ripped off a long run. Simon McKinney chased Branson down at the Saint 5-yard line, and his hustle proved to be a game changer.


The Collins-Maxwell defense dug in its heels and kept Melcher-Dallas off the scoreboard, and that ended up preserving the victory.


“They had a philosophy all year — bend don’t break,” Collins-Maxwell head football coach Cory Crnkovich said. “They stayed true to their beliefs when it mattered.”


The Spartans took the lead with two touchdowns and successful 2-point conversions in the third quarter. Caleb Fullerton was responsible for both touchdowns.


Fullerton ran one in from four yards out and Brett Livesay caught the 2-point pass from Kadin Bennett to put Collins-Maxwell up 20-14. Melcher-Dallas came back to tie the score on a 10-yard pass from Steve Krpan to Ethan Harrington, but the Saints couldn’t convert the 2-point conversion to keep the score even.


Fullerton struck again to answer for Collins-Maxwell. This time he broke free on a 60-yard scoring jaunt and followed with the 2-point run.


The defense did the rest as Collins-Maxwell finished its second season at 4-6 overall and 4-3 in 8-man District 5, putting the Spartans in third place in the final district standings. Collins-Maxwell ended up winning four of its last five games after an 0-5 start.


“We talked all week how great that would be heading into the off-season with a lot of momentum,” Crnkovich said. “They wanted to finish third in the district. They just wanted it more than the other team (Melcher-Dallas).”


Collins-Maxwell had 199 yards passing and 137 on the ground versus Melcher-Dallas. The Spartans also took advantage of three Saint turnovers.


Fullerton ended up with 113 yards rushing on just 11 carries.


Bennett threw 199 yards and two scores — both to Livesay in the first half. Livesay caught eight passes for 167 yards on the night.


“Kadin and Brett put a lot of time in during the offseason at camps, 5-on-5’s etc,” Crnkovich said. “Brett leads the district in touchdowns, receptions and yards. Bennett leads the district in yards and tied second for touchdowns.”


Fullerton and McKinney both had 10 tackles, Rylee Scott 5.5 and Livesay, Bennett and John Kasper five apiece for Collins-Maxwell on defense. Kasper, Livesay and Nathan Leonard each ended up with an interception.


Melcher-Dallas finished 4-5 overall and 4-3 in the district. The Saints had 354 yards of offense against Collins-Maxwell.


Branson ran for 151 yards for Melcher-Dallas. Krpan threw for 118 and ran for 43.


Collins-Maxwell 28, Melcher-Dallas 20


CM 0 12 16 0 - 28


MD 8 6 6 0 - 20


Scoring


First quarter


MD - Dalton Lovell 50 pass from Steven Krpan (Ethan Harrington pass from Harrington).


Second quarter


CM - Brett Livesay 10 pass from Kadin Bennett (2-point conversion failed).


MD - Joe Branson 4 run (2-point conversion failed).


CM - Livesay 11 pass from Bennett (2-point conversion failed).


Third quarter


CM - Caleb Fullerton 4 run (Livesay pass from Bennett).


MD - Harrington 10 pass from Krpan (2-point conversion failed).


CM - Fullerton 60 run (Fullerton run).


Team statistics C-M M-D


Rushes-yards 23-137 39-236


Passing 12-28-1 9-23-3


Passing yards 199 118


Total yards 336 354


Fumbles lost 1 0


Punts-average 5-35.2 3-38.7


Individual statistics


Rushing: CM - Caleb Fullerton 11-113, Kadin Bennett 11-22, Rylee Scott 1-2. MD - Joe Branson 25-151, Steven Krpan 7-43, Dalton Lovell 5-4.


Passing: CM - Bennett 12-28-1-199. MD - Krpan 9-23-3-118.


Receiving: CM - Brett Livesay 8-167, Fullerton 2-16, John Kasper 1-8, Simon McKinney 1-8. MD - Lovell 4-79, Ethan Harrington 4-20, Blaise Cooper 1-19.


Tackles: CM - Fullerton 10, McKinney 10, Scott 5.5, Livesay 5, Kasper 5, Bennett 5. MD - Lovell 7.5, Harrington 7.5, Cooper 6, Cole Metz 4.5, Coy DeJong 4.


Fumble recoveries: MD - Branson.


Interceptions: CM - Livesay, Kasper, Nathan Leonard. MD - Cooper.