MESQUITE — The deliberate pace was what Sherman wanted to use as a weapon. But once the Bearcats fell behind against Mesquite Poteet, that tempo turned against them.
Despite sustained drives that chewed up clock and kept Sherman within striking distance, the Bearcats managed just a pair of touchdowns, including one in the closing seconds as Mesquite Poteet came away with a 29-13 victory in District 7-5A (I) action at Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.
“Shorten the game, limit the possessions; that’s just smart football with the guys they have over there,” Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez said. “At the same time, when you aren’t successful it’s a double-edged sword.”
After holding a nearly 3-to-1 time-of-possession margin through two quarters, Sherman (2-4, 1-1) couldn’t close the nine-point gap. Blaise Bentsen ran for a touchdown and had a TD pass to Mike Brown to pace the Bearcats.
Seth McGowan finished with 11 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns while Dalton Dale was 16-of-22 for 189 yards and a score for Poteet (4-1, 1-0), which has won four straight since a season-opening loss against state-ranked Denton Ryan.
“Now it’s time for recovery, rest and get ready for Texas High,” Martinez said. “I’m proud of their effort. Our defense played pretty well. That’s an SEC-caliber back and I watched a lot of tape where he wasn’t tackled. There were some tackles tonight.”
Sherman was coming off a district-opening 59-21 victory over McKinney North and points were tougher to come less than a week later.
Poteet opened the third quarter with a TD drive capped by a 12-yard run from McGowan around the left side for a 22-7 advantage.
The Pirates scored on their next possession when Cam Lampkin had a 42-yard punt return to midfield and four plays later Dale hit Louis Moore in the back of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown with a rollout to the right side with 4:23 remaining in the third.
The scored stayed that way after Poteet missed a 44-yard field goal attempt on its ensuing series until the closing seconds when Bentsen escaped pressure and found Brown all alone in the end zone for an eight-yard TD pass and the final margin.
Sherman’s other four possessions in the second half gained just 21 yards and a pair of first downs.
“We were sputtering,” Martinez said. “We couldn’t put anything together. Penalties really hurt us in the third quarter.”
The Bearcats finished with 245 yards. Brown had 11 carries for 41 yards, Bentsen added 41 yards on 19 carries and was 14-of-28 passing for 142 yards and Tate Bethel caught five passes for 39 yards, all in the first half.
Sherman was down only 16-7 at the break thanks to a touchdown drive in the closing minutes of the second quarter.
It started on defense as the unit held Poteet to a 37-yard field goal on the previous possession.
The Pirates also hurt themselves — penalties called back a touchdown twice on the drive — but they did get as far as the 10-yard line and went for it on fourth-and-one when the second TD was nullified. After being backed up, Dylan Brown kicked the field goal for a 16-0 lead with 4:53 left in the quarter.
Sherman put together a 14-play drive that covered 75 yards and ended with Bentsen keeping on a two-yard run up the middle with 25 seconds remaining in the half.
The series had a couple of key moments. Bethel came back along the right sideline after a deep route for a 16-yard reception on third-and-10 at the start of the possession and Bentsen converted on fourth-and-short at the Poteet 38.
Three snaps later it looked like Poteet took over on downs but a hands-to-the-face flag on fourth down allowed the Bearcats into the red zone. Bentsen hit Brown on an 18-yard wheel route and then scored on the next play.
Sherman kept the nine-point margin by sacking Dale as the half expired after Poteet made it to the Bearcat 37-yard line.
At the start of the game Sherman put together a promising and time-consuming drive. The Bearcats took the opening kick and marched 16 plays before stalling at the nine-yard line and melting nearly nine minutes off the clock.
Joel Nandin lined up for the 26-yard field goal and it was blocked off the left edge. Dorian Morris scooped it up and returned it 72 yards for the touchdown.
“It was deflating,” Martinez said. “Like air out of the balloon.”
Poteet took a 13-0 advantage the next time it had the ball with a quick 84-yard drive that lasted just six plays. Dale, who was 8-of-11 for 116 yards in the first half, hit Louis Moore for 38 yards on a deep pass along the left side from midfield and McGowan punched in the touchdown from a yard out but the two-point conversion failed.
In between its opening long series and the TD drive, Sherman only had two other possessions and gained just a single first down between them.