JUSTIN — Devin Steptoe’s interception at the Justin Northwest 15-yard line with 13 seconds to play secured a 14-7 win for Northwest and staved off a furious rally from Sherman in a defensive stalemate on Thursday.
Facing fourth-and-10 from the Northwest 24-yard line, Sherman quarterback Blaise Bentsen found a receiver at the first-down marker, but Steptoe caught it instead to seal the victory for Northwest (2-2), which was led by DaMareus Hosey’s 140 rushing yards and Zavion Taylor’s 110 receiving yards to go with an electric 43-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Sherman (1-3) got late production from Mike Brown, who had 21 carries for 142 yards and a 45-yard touchdown scamper late in the third quarter to get the Bearcats on the board and cut Northwest’s 14-0 lead in half. Another long run from Brown put Sherman in position to tie in the closing seconds of the game before the game-sealing interception.
The Sherman defense did its best to hold a potent Texans team at bay but the Bearcats struggled offensively, especially early, in a game that was originally scheduled for Friday but was moved up due to impending inclement weather.
The game still started 30 minutes later than scheduled after a lightning delay that began about an hour before the scheduled kickoff, and aside from a touchdown drive by Northwest on the game’s first possession, it appeared as though both teams were sluggish offensively.
Northwest opened the game on a 10-play scoring drive, capped by a nine-yard touchdown pass from Austin Ahmad to Quentin Lee. Sherman went three-and-out on the ensuing series but then the Bearcats’ defense came up with a big play when Cody Hunter recovered a Hosey fumble and returned it to 17 yards to give Sherman the ball at its own 47. But the Bearcats promptly gave the ball back to Northwest on another three-and-out.
Northwest scored again midway through the second quarter on a 43-yard catch-and-run from Ahmad to Taylor, who took a two-yard pass, broke toward the Sherman sideline and scampered up the sideline before cutting across the field at the Sherman 15-yard line and out-running defenders to the end zone to send the Texans into the half-time break up 14-0.
In the first half, Northwest outgained Sherman 245-55 before the second half saw the Bearcats gain some life offensively and clamp down on defense, holding Northwest to 146 second-half yards and outgaining the Texans by 20 yards in that span.
Immediately after Brown’s long touchdown run, Sherman’s defense made a big play when Benji Omayebu recovered a Hosey fumble. Sherman started the ensuing drive at the Northwest 39-yard line after the Texans were flagged for two separate personal fouls on the play, resulting in 30 yards of penalties. But Sherman again went three-and-out to kill the momentum.
The Bearcats return to action on Sept. 28 when they host McKinney North in the District 7-5A (I) opener.