WHITE SETTLEMENT — Big plays helped the Sherman Bearcats forge a lead early and then the offense came alive in the second half to pick up a 28-17 win over Fort Worth Brewer in non-district action at Bear Stadium.
While Brewer’s offense controlled the tempo and pace of the first half, it was big plays — mostly by Benji Omayebu — that gave the Bearcats a lead they’d never relinquish.
The defense, although chasing the elusive Bears backs, routinely caught up to them without giving up big plays.
That combined to give Sherman (1-1) its first win of the season.
“Of course, we’re pleased to get the win,” Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez said. “Brewer is a good team. After watching the film, we see we more we can fix and clean up.”
Brewer was able to drive on the Bearcats’ defense in their first possession but fumbled on the 21.
Sherman took over and went 79 yards, capped by a Tate Bethel-to-Sean Husband 31-yard scoring pass.
Again, Brewer drove to the Sherman 21 where it set up for a 39-yard field goal attempt.
That’s when the game swung heavily back to Sherman’s favor.
Omayebu picked up the blocked field goal attempt and raced 68 yards for a Bearcats’ score, putting Sherman up 13-0 following a failed two-point conversion.
Brewer eventually tacked on a 43-yard field goal by Jorge Estrada before the half but Sherman went in to the locker room with a 13-3 lead.
If there was a doubt about the Bearcats letting the Bears get back into the game in the second half, Omayebu again had an answer.
He returned the kickoff to open the third quarter 48 yards and finished the series with a three-yard TD run. Jose Nandin added the extra point and it was a 20-3 game.
Those plays would’ve been highlights enough, but Omayebu also hauled in a 23-yard pass from Bethel to close out the Bearcats’ scoring. A two-point conversion pass from Bethel to Blume Cernero evened out the scoring for the night for Sherman.
Omayebu had three carries for 81 yards and led Sherman with five receptions for 81 yards while Bethel was 8-of-13 passing for 128 yards.
But the outcome was solidified by the second-half performance of the Bearcats’ offensive line and the running of Mike Brown.
Brown finished the night with 154 yards on 22 carries.
Brewer managed a score in the final quarter on a four-yard run by Montrail Cushionberry and then recovered an onside kick which appeared to have gone out of bounds. The Bears were able to convert that to another score, a C.J. Hudson nine-yard run followed by him taking in the conversion, to make the final look respectable.
The Bearcats defense did their job, as well, many times showing textbook form tackling on Bears ballcarriers. Their time on the field was heavily more than their share. Houston had 18 carries for 100 yards and quarterback Brett Williams had 21 attempts for just 33 yards.
“We ran just 18 plays in the first half,” Martinez noted. “It’s a credit to our defensive staff and a good job of tackling and teaching good mechanics.
But it was the blocked kick return which turned the game.
“Benji is an explosive player. He can catch it, run and he’s a dang good defensive player,” Martinez said.
Sherman will now prepare for a short week to take on Frisco Liberty at The Star on Thursday night.