In less than 48 hours, a football season that started with high hopes but abruptly went off the tracks will come to a quiet, merciful end for the Sherman Bearcats.

In less than 48 hours, a football season that started with high hopes but abruptly went off the tracks will come to a quiet, merciful end for the Sherman Bearcats.


The lights will go out at Bearcat Stadium, the helmets and pads will go back into the storage room, and head football coach Gary Kinne and his staff will get busy pinpointing this year’s team’s shortcomings and how to fix them.


"We’re responsible for what we are," Kinne said. "We just couldn’t quite get it done this season. A lot of factors factor in, but ultimately, we just didn’t get it done each week like we needed to. We are what our record says we are."


The Bearcats (3-6, 2-4) will be playing for pride on Friday night when they host Greenville at Bearcat Stadium. It will be the final game for a total of 27 Bearcat seniors.


The high point of the year was the Bearcats’ 55-44 win at McKinney North on Sept. 26 in the District 13-4A opener. Tre’ Mask rushed for 253 yards and seven touchdowns, and Sherman, after a cold non-district start, looked perfectly poised to make another run at the district title.


But things unraveled quickly. It started with a major distraction from the biggest game of the year when Kinne was handed a one-game suspension by the University Interscholastic League executive committee on the eve of the Battle of the Ax, a game the Bearcats lost, 42-24.


The cloud over the team grew as the injuries to key players began to rack up, and with them, the losses: first to receiver Jordan Henry, who suffered a broken neck at North, then to standout defensive tackle Tarrence Franklin against Denison, then to quarterback Case Rolen at Royse City.


Henry is expected to make a full recovery. Franklin eventually came back after an absence of three games and Rolen finally returned to practice this week, but not in time to help Sherman’s playoff chances after four losses in five games.


"I just label the season as missed opportunities," Kinne said. "The talent was there and chances were there, but (from) injuries, to grades, to penalties and turnovers — (we did) all the things that bad football teams do. Add it all together, and that’s what it equals up to."


The Bearcats’ final opponent of 2013 will be Greenville (0-9, 0-6), which is in danger of seeing its losing streak reach 40 games. Only Houston Scarborough, currently at 46 games, has a longer active drought in the state of Texas. (The state record of 80 losses from 1985-93 is held by another Houston team, Jeff Davis.)


However, the Lions almost did snap that streak this year, losing to Frisco Heritage in two overtimes.


"They are better; our district is just more balanced," Kinne said. "They’ve played well at times and they’ve come really close. There are five or six teams in our district that aren’t great, but they’re pretty good; they can beat each other as you’ve seen. It could end up being a four-way tie for first place."


Last week at home against Denison, Greenville put together some drives and managed to gain 294 yards of total offense, but only had two scores to show for it: a pass from Matthew Riskey to Da’Marcus Bridges in the second quarter, and a late 6-yard run by Tyler Matthews, who finished with 127 yards on 23 carries.


For the first time since 2007, the Bearcats go into Week 10 knowing it will be their final game.


"It seems like the season just started," Kinne said. "I don’t remember the last time we thought we had a last practice, because you always think you’re going to win and advance. This year, (today) we’ll have our last practice.


"It’s unusual. I haven’t been in that situation, and usually going into Week 10, if you didn’t make the playoffs, you at least think you’re going to if you win, or something. Going into Week 10 not having a chance is something we’re not used to. We don’t want to get used to it either. We’ve got a standard here, and we didn’t uphold it this year but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. Our kids gave effort all year and I’m very proud of them for that."