When the Sherman Bearcats look at the Mount Pleasant Tigers, it’s not exactly like looking in a mirror, but there are similarities between the programs.
Both were a combined 2-18 in 2014 and 2015 before taking small steps forward in 2016. Sherman went 4-6, including a 42-14 victory at Mount Pleasant. The Tigers went on to finish 3-8, qualifying for the playoffs by placing fourth in District 16-5A before suffering a 70-2 bi-district loss to Highland Park.
Both have taken similar paths in 2017, as well, suffering sound defeats to open the season before bouncing back last week to break into the win column.
The difference is in the degree of those outcomes.
Where Sherman gave up 35 consecutive points in a 42-21 loss to Sulphur Springs on Sept. 1, Mount Pleasant gave up 55 consecutive points in a 68-20 loss to North Forney. While the Bearcats bounced back with a solid 39-14 road victory over Frisco Liberty last week, the Tigers trailed at home with less than five minutes remaining before rallying to beat Class 4A Paris North Lamar 21-17.
“I know that (Mount Pleasant coach Corey) Homer’s trying to figure out the same things that we’re trying to figure out here,” Sherman coach J.D. Martinez said. “We’re trying to figure out exactly who we are right now.
“We have the opportunity to have two weeks of it before the games really matter. We just need to find out what guys we have that we can really depend on in certain tough situations and who we need to get the ball in the hands of.”
Through two games, Mount Pleasant is averaging 170 total yards (63.5 rushing, 106.5 passing) and 20.5 points per game. Defensively, the Tigers have allowed 484.5 total yards (363.5 rushing, 121 passing) and 42.5 points. While the numbers are obviously skewed by the North Forney game, in which Mount Pleasant was outgained 696-122, the Tigers still gave up 273 rushing yards last week to North Lamar, which failed to complete a pass.
Tigers quarterback Josh Morris (14-20-1 213 yards, 3 TDs passing) has carried most of the load as Mount Pleasant has struggled running the ball. Freshman Tylan Hines (10-93, 1 TD rushing) accounted for more than half the team’s rushing yardage on one play. The passing game picked up last week as Morris went 9 of 10 for 165 yards with touchdowns to Omero Perez (3-90 receiving) and K.J. Cannon (3-36 receiving).
In last year’s meeting, Sherman quarterback David Bedgood passed for 268 yards and four touchdowns while Nathaniel Omayebu rushed for 156 yards and a score. With Blaise Bentsen, Bedgood’s replacement, coming off a 349-yard, four-TD performance, the Bearcats should have enough firepower to handle the Tigers.
“Last year, they were more of a run-oriented team,” Martinez said. “This year, they’re a little bit more spread and throw it around a little bit or try to spread you our and run it. Coach Homer does a good job. Defensively, they were in an odd for a little while, and then they jumped into a four-down linemen into a split.
“I think they may be trying to figure out a little who they are on defense, too. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s why they call it preseason or predistrict. You figure your kids and what they do and what’s going to give you the best chance to win.”