One area football coaches at any level pay very close attention is the prospect of outside events offering a distraction from the task at hand.
The Sherman Bearcats have a ready-made distraction this week as they prepare to host the Mount Pleasant Tigers for homecoming at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bearcat Stadium.
In addition to the X’s and O’s of this week’s matchup, Sherman players must also deal with other activities leading up to and including the homecoming dance.
“The good thing for us is our big dance is on Saturday, so there’s no reason to try to take care of all that other stuff,” Sherman coach J.D. Martinez said. “But I do stress to the kids that this is homecoming, but it’s not homecoming for us because we never left. We’re still here.
“Everybody who will be coming back will be coming to watch the game and to watch you win. Let’s make sure we take of our job. Our job is to win the football game so everybody can go to the dance the next night and be happy, or people can leave the stadium Friday night and be upbeat and happy with what they saw.”
Helping matters should be the Bearcats’ performance last week in a 39-14 victory over Frisco Liberty at Ford Center at The Star. Sherman handled the novelty of playing in an indoor stadium that regularly hosts high school games, but Martinez said past performance is no guarantee of future success.
“Every team is different,” he said. “Just because you’re able to do something one week doesn’t mean you’re going to do it the next week. We still have to come out and work, have a great week of preparation and go out this Friday and perform, see if our game plan, the way the kids work this week, is going to pay off on Friday.
“I know it’s going to be warmer this Friday. It’s not going to be 72 degrees like it was inside. I think it’s forecast to be 92. So it’s going to be warm and we’re going to have to get after it. Mount Pleasant’s going to come in and they’re going to be well-coached.”
Martinez said if the Bearcats take care of the details Friday, the big picture will come together.
“We have one simple job, and that’s to go out there and perform at a high level,” he said. “If we can do that and we can get the win, everybody’s going to be happy.
“It’s homecoming. It’ll be crazy enough as it is.”
Linebacker Jalyn Cotton led Sherman last week with 10 total tackles, six solo, as the Bearcats overcame an early deficit. Linebacker Devante Clayton had eight tackles, all solo, with two tackles for loss and a sack.
Defensive backs Austin Bindel and Gage Smith each recorded six tackles with Smith and Ben Cross each intercepting a pass. Brent Wilson and Cody Morgan each made five tackles with Wilson and Ladarren Sewell each recovering a fumble.
The four takeaways gave Sherman a plus-three turnover margin through two games.
The Bearcats finished with six tackles for losses of 31 yards, including two sacks for 13 yards. Bindel had 1½ TFL and Israel Gutierrez joined Clayton in recording a sack.
After allowing a touchdown on Liberty’s second possession, the Bearcats came up with fourth-down stops at their 27 and 41 in addition to Sewell’s fumble recovery at the 38. Wilson’s fumble recovery at the Sherman 33 stopped Liberty’s first drive.