Almost everything went against Sherman in Friday night’s District 13-4A game against Lovejoy at Bearcat Stadium: Missed scoring opportunities; swings in momentum following turnovers; injuries to key personnel; several penalties with poor timing; and ultimately, the final result.

Almost everything went against Sherman in Friday night’s District 13-4A game against Lovejoy at Bearcat Stadium: Missed scoring opportunities; swings in momentum following turnovers; injuries to key personnel; several penalties with poor timing; and ultimately, the final result.


But all is not darkness for the Bearcats’ playoff hopes, thanks to their, errr, friends to the north.


Behind a combined 300 rushing yards by the thundering Dan Sefcik and lightning-quick Chase Tucker, the visiting Leopards carved out a 35-21 win, damaging but not destroying completely a bid for a sixth-consecutive Bearcat postseason appearance.


The Bearcats committed four turnovers in all, and they were costly. Twice, Sherman fumbled deep inside Lovejoy territory to negate scoring threats, including one at the 3-yard line.


"We got inside the red zone several times and turned the ball over," Sherman head coach Gary Kinne said. "We had untimely penalties in the first half and it affected one of our drives. You hate to see that, but (Lovejoy) is a good team."


Sherman (3-5, 2-3) still has a chance because of Denison’s simultaneous 35-27 win against Wylie, which the Bearcats will pay a visit to next Friday night. A Yellow Jacket loss would have made any tiebreaker scenario more difficult for the Bearcats.


As it stands, two more wins would still put Sherman in no worse than a tiebreaker, but not having Denison and its plus-17 points advantage any longer in play is a huge boost.


Of course, where the points fall still remains to be seen with two weeks left to play.


"Whether we get in or not, we have to play the last two weeks as hard as we can," Kinne said. "We owe that to the seniors and the seniors owe that to themselves. We’ve got to play our last two like we’re undefeated."


Friday night’s game was delayed almost 15 minutes because of an injury to Sherman sophomore Kevin Wright after he collided with a teammate while making a tackle with 5:51 remaining in the fourth quarter. Kinne did not know the full extent of Wright’s injury.


"It’s either a neck injury or a head injury," Kinne said. "He had feeling all over, so that’s a good sign."


Tre’ Mask finished with 179 rushing yards and two touchdowns and went over 2,000 yards for his career, becoming only the 10th back in school history to reach the mark. Mask also passed Sterling Boyd on the list to become the Bearcats’ No. 2 all-time career rushing scorer.


Mask played quarterback in place of Sherman starter Case Rolen, who suffered a groin injury in last week’s victory at Royse City. Mask completed only one pass, to Ja’Quay Pough for 10 yards.


"I thought we ran the ball pretty well," Kinne said. "Losing your quarterback going into a game like this, it’s tough. It affected us for sure as far as our continuity. Tre’ had a couple of costly turnovers, but he wasn’t trying to turn the ball over. He was trying to fight for extra yards and lost the ball a couple of times. He’s a warrior guy and we wouldn’t be here without him."


Tyson Jones added 82 yards and his first varsity touchdown for the Bearcats.


Lovejoy (5-3, 3-2) had its own quarterback injury issue after starter Bowman Sells left the game in the second quarter while diving for the goal line. Backup Dakota Michaels, who started four games earlier this season for the Leopards, took over and completed 9 of 12 passes for 90 yards.


Sefcik and Tucker each ran for touchdowns and Chochy Luce ran for two short TDs for Lovejoy. Sells added a scoring pass to Hunter Pfaff before departing.


Jones’ four-yard TD run brought the Bearcats back to within 21-14 with 6:40 left in the game, but an onside kick attempt was recovered by Lovejoy, and a minute later, Sefcik ran up the middle 28 yards to bump the margin back to two touchdowns.


Moments later, a Mask pass was intercepted, and that set up Tucker’s 35-yard run to seal the outcome with 4:37 to go. Mask’s 65-yard run down the sideline rounded out the score.


"We got a little tired and didn’t tackle very well late, and they popped some runs on us," Kinne said. "That’s been a problem all year, the momentum after turnovers. We kind of get our heads down a little bit and don’t tackle as well."


Early on, the Bearcats were clicking offensively. They drove the opening kickoff 65 yards on five plays and took a 7-0 lead on Mask’s 22-yard keeper with less than two minutes elapsed.


The Leopards took over, and a 40-yard run by Tucker on the first play set up Sells’ pass to Pfaff to tie the game. It was suddenly looking like another shootout.


But turnovers on both sides kept the game scoreless until the end of the first half, when Lovejoy mounted an 83-yard drive that was kept alive by a pass-interference penalty.


The receiver was double-covered and the pass from Michaels was incomplete, but the flag was thrown, and the Leopards took a 14-7 lead into the dressing room on Luce’s run out of the wildcat formation.


"(The official) said he made contact with him," Kinne said. "I didn’t think he did."


With the margin for error now gone for the Bearcats, they face a daunting task next week when they travel back to Wylie for a second time to face the Pirates.


"We’ve got a lot of injuries," Kinne said. "We’re really banged-up. We’re going to have to lean on our depth. We’ve a lot of guys that can play. We’ve got a two-week stretch where we’re going to try to get in, so we have to do whatever we can do to find a way to get a win."