Are you ready to make a playoff push, Bearcat fans?
Sherman may be idle this weekend, but the Bearcats are already at work getting ready for a home game against Texarkana Texas High on Oct. 19, followed by a trip to Wylie East the week after.
Never mind the 2-4 overall record at this point, which could easily be flip-flopped had a couple of breaks gone Sherman’s way.
If everything goes as expected, the Bearcats would enter the month of November sporting a 3-1 district record, squarely in the playoff discussion, and preparing to host West Mesquite in what could be a make-or-break battle in Bearcat Valley on Nov. 2.
“I love the way the schedule fell for us with the bye week coming when it did,” Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez said. “You couldn’t ask for it at a better time. I like where we’re positioned.
“Our kids understand the game plan for (this) week. We’re healing; we’re rejuvenating. We’re using this bye week to get healthy. We want to get our bodies back to where we need to be for the final push in October.”
An underclassman-heavy squad is finally learning the ropes after a few early bumps in the road, and that could make Sherman a tough out in the upcoming final four weeks of the regular season.
But of course, in order to be 3-1, one has to be 2-1 first, and Martinez is focusing on that.
”Our kids are headed in the right direction and they’re working together,” Martinez said. “If you want to continue playing in November, you’ve got to win in October.”
Sherman’s bye week means that Martinez and his staff get to be spectators for the third Friday night this season. Last week’s game at Poteet was played on Thursday night, as was the game at Justin Northwest that was moved up a day because of weather.
While the Bearcats rest and their coaches scout, the remainder of District 7-5A (I) will be in action Friday night. West Mesquite hosts Tyler John Tyler in the week’s top game at Hanby Stadium, while Texas High hosts Poteet and Wylie East entertains McKinney North.
So far, the district race is shaping up like most predicted, with John Tyler and West Mesquite at 2-0 and Poteet, which opened the district schedule with a bye, at 1-0.
Sherman is tied with McKinney North at 1-1, and at the moment the Bearcats hold the head-to-head tiebreaker — something which could come into play down the road.
“I feel good about it and I’m happy with the position the kids have earned to be in,” Martinez said. “They have put themselves in this position. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of game planning, and (the players) went out and executed the game plan.
“But at the same time we’re not satisfied with what we’ve done so far. We’re not where we want to be yet.”
Sherman’s identity is that of a team that grounds and pounds, and the Bearcats have used the tandem of senior quarterback Blaise Bentsen and junior running back Mike Brown to some success with the zone read option. Bentsen has 89 carries for 353 yards and leads the team with seven rushing touchdowns, and Brown has toted the pigskin 118 times for 638 yards and four TDs.
Martinez credits the starting five in the offensive line — Chris Tovar, Cole Gibson, Jordan Lamondue, Rudy Vasquez and Tyler Smith from left to right — for the success of the rushing game.
“Having Rudy and Chris up there, the senior stalwarts, they have a great work ethic and hopefully they’ve inspired the other guys to work hard, and it looks like it,” Martinez said. “We are a ground-based team, and I love it. I love the idea of imposing your will on people and pounding on them until they fold up. When we’re able to do that, we’re successful.”
However, the Bearcats are just a tick below .500 when it comes to the aerial game, and that’s something Martinez wants to improve.
Bentsen has completed 58 of 120 passes for 621 yards and has five TDs against five interceptions. Brown has two of Sherman’s scoring catches out of the backfield, and wideouts Blake Steele, Sean Husband and Tate Bethel each have one.
“I think we’ve finally come through and found our guys that can get the job done,” Martinez said. “It took a while and we brought another sophomore (Jacoby Hunt) up to fill a void. Moving Tate inside has helped us. We have some depth there that we haven’t had in the past.”