A trio of standout Sherman athletes signed to continue their careers at the next level on Wednesday morning.
Led by Bearcat quarterback Blaine Bentsen, who is headed to Division I FCS Houston Baptist, he was joined by teammate Diego Moran, a linebacker who picked Sterling College, and Lady Bearcat soccer player Kayla McDonald, who signed with Central Christian College.
Bentsen committed to Houston Baptist late last month over UTEP and Northern Arizona. He had offers from other schools, including Air Force, Bucknell, Fordham and Holy Cross.
“The biggest thing was how much they wanted me. They came down here as much as they could to show how much they wanted me to be a part of the program,” Bentsen said. “I wanted to go somewhere I’d at least have a chance to compete for playing time. That factored in a lot to me.”
He threw for 1,351 yards and nine touchdowns and ran for 449 yards and nine touchdowns in leading the Bearcats to a second straight playoff appearance, the first back-to-back trips by the program since 2011-12, and third-place finish in the 7-5A (I) standings. Bentsen was an honorable mention all-district selection as Sherman went 4-7 with a bi-district loss against Magnolia West.
As a junior he threw for 1,677 yards and 13 touchdowns and ran for 530 yards and five scores, was a second-team all-district selection and Sherman made the playoffs for the first time in five seasons and was 5-6 following a bi-district loss against V.R. Eaton.
Bentsen, who is ranked a composite three-star by 247Sports and as the 100th best pro-style QB and the 352nd best Texas prospect in the Class of 2019, started his career at Texoma Christian and his sophomore season was the program’s first varsity campaign. He threw for 1,441 yards and 14 touchdowns and ran for 381 yards and six TDs before transferring to Sherman.
“I just figured if I worked my tail off, if I put my mind to it, it would pay off,” Bentsen said.
Bentsen also had opportunities to play basketball or baseball in college but focused on football.
“The goal was always to play a sport at the highest level,” Bentsen said. “At some point early on it was basketball and another point it was baseball. When I started playing football, it was different for me. Football was the pick.”
Houston Baptist is still a relatively new program with its existence dating back to just 2014 when it joined the Southland Conference. The Huskies went 1-10 this past season, opening with a win over Southwest Baptist, and its best season has been a 4-7 mark in 2016.
Moran became a starter for his senior season and went on to earn second-team all-district honors before choosing the NAIA program in Kansas.
“It’s faith-oriented and I fit in. I feel like I can play there,” Moran said. “I came into the season trying to make a name for myself and I’m glad I did.”
The Bearcats made the playoffs for the second straight season after moving into a tougher district.
“It felt good to be a part of that,” Moran said. “It felt good to prove people wrong.”
Sterling College went 4-6 overall and in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference last season. It was the first time since 2012 the Warriors did not having a winning record. In 2016 and 2017 Sterling made the first round of the NAIA playoffs.
McDonald is in the middle of her third year as a starter for the Lady Bearcats, who start district play on Friday. The defender was an honorable mention all-district selection as both a sophomore and junior.
She chose the NAIA program in Kansas over Dallas Baptist, Tabor College and Randall University.
“Once I stepped on Central’s campus, stayed overnight and spent time with the girls, I knew that was place for me,” McDonald said. “They want me manning the back line.”
Central Christian College went 11-12 overall and 4-4 in the Sooner Athletic Conference this past fall. The Tigers made the conference tourney quarterfinals and then competed in the National Christian College Athletic Association National Championship pool play. It was an improvement from a 4-14 mark in 2017.