The Sherman Bearcats get one last test before the start of District 5-5A play when they visit Garland Naaman Forest tonight at 7 p.m. at Williams Stadium.

For Bearcats head coach J.D. Martinez, the goal is to continue making improvement.

“We always claim that we’re always wanting to improve the Sherman Bearcats,” Martinez said. “We don’t care about the opponent. The opponent’s going to come anyway. What ever’s going to happen is going to happen, but how can we improve at being better as a football team. That mean’s from cutting down mistakes and mental errors to improving our basic fundamentals every game.”

In getting off to a 2-1 start for the second year in a row, the Bearcats have shown the ability to get the job done on the ground or in the air, averaging 440. total yards (189.7 rushing, 211.0 passing) and 31.7 points per game.

In a 39-14 victory at Frisco Liberty, quarterback Blaise Bentsen (37-65-0 633, 7 TDs passing) was 20 of 27 for 349 yards and four touchdowns. In last week’s 35-33 homecoming victory over Mount Pleasant, Sherman rushed for 303 yards with Nathaniel Omayebu breaking loose for 185 yards and two TDs and Michael Wallace adding 91 yards and a score.

“Sometimes I get too critical, but I think the improvement part is we can adapt,” Martinez said. “We can throw when we need to throw and we can run when we need to run. I think we’re adaptable and can take whatever the defense gives us.”

Defensively, Sherman has allowed 390.3 total yards (223 rushing, 167.3 passing) and 29.7 points per game, but has come up with key stops to help turn games.

Against Liberty, the Bearcats had four takeaways and two fourth-down stops in their own territory. Last week, Sherman came up with a pair of goal-line stands and forced another turnover to set up a scoring drive.

“Defensively, I think we’ve improved in running situations,” Martinez said. “When people want to try to run at us consistently, we can try to line up and stop them in a power type of phase. Two fourth-down stops and two goal-line stands, it’s pretty apparent. We could have easily lost that (Mount Pleasant) game by 14 when you look at it, but our defense rose up and made some key stops.”

As with most programs, the Bearcats have a few wrinkles they haven’t shown yet, but could employ in district play.

“We’ve got some things we’re practicing on, some two-point plays here and there,” Martinez said. “We’ve got some things we’re putting in, but we still want to work on the basics. I’ve never been a big-time trick-play guy. I wish I was.”

While the Bearcats have made progress since the start of the season, Martinez said there is still more work to be done if Sherman is to contend for a playoff berth.

“We are improving in some areas, but I know we’ve still got a long way to go,” he said. “We’ve got to improve defensively and our blocking has got to improve or it’s going to be a real long district schedule.”