Very few startup programs enjoy immediate success at the varsity level.
The Denton Braswell Bengals are no exception.
The Bengals, who host Sherman at 7 p.m. Friday at Denton’s C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, are still looking for their first varsity football victory halfway through their second season.
“I’ve been in that situation,” Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez said of building a program from scratch. “It is a tough, tough deal to go into that, opening a new school and starting new traditions. Those things are all fun, but at the same time you realize you’re going into a sword fight with a very, very short stick. But you continue to get better and keep preaching and building your program.
“I’ve been on that side and it’s very tough, but you know that you’re building something that’s going to take a while.”
Braswell (0-5 , 0-1) hasn’t had a game closer than 24 points this season after going 0-10 in its inaugural campaign in 2016. The Bengals are coming off a 47-14 loss to state-ranked Denton Ryan in their district opener.
But Martinez said the signs of Braswell’s progress are there to see.
“They’re bigger, stronger and faster,” he said. “They’re definitely better than they were last year (when Sherman won 42-7). They’re still have some growing pains to work through. I think their strength is still hindering them, just having those young kids.
“They’re going to be a really good team. It’s going to be a great job down the road.”
This season, Braswell is averaging 205.6 total yards (91.6 rushing, 114.0 passing) and 13.8 points per game. Quarterback Greyson Thompson (57-116-2 468, 4 TDs passing) has been the catalyst on offense with receivers Jaeden Johnson (22-171, 2 TDs), Christian Battle (9-117, 1 TD) and Sully Martinez (9-108) being the main targets.
The Bengals’ running game remains a work in progress, providing just three touchdowns in five games. Running backs Jeremiah Richardson (44-137) and Jhari Grose (27-124, 1 TD) have been the main ball carriers.
Defensively, Braswell has allowed an average of 412 total yards (222 rushing, 190 passing) and 47.2 points per game. The Bengals have held only one opponent to less than 40 points (Haslett Eaton scored 37 in the season opener) and one to less than 400 total yards (Frisco Reedy at 369).
The task for Sherman, Martinez said, is to continue to raise its level of play.
“It’s just execution on our part, going through there and getting better,” he said. “Cleaning up our holding penalties we’ve gotten, we’ve just got to clean those up. We’ve got to make sure we stress ball security and keep doing those little things.
“Defensively, I know our defensive staff will do a great job of scouting them. They’ll find (Braswell’s) three best run plays and try to take those away from them.”