FRISCO — It was the kind of ribbing between brothers you’d expect to take place in the aftermath of a blowout victory. In one corner you had senior Daniel Omayebu, in the other junior Benji Omayebu. The back-and-forth one-upmanship over their play in Sherman’s win against Frisco Liberty lasted a couple of beats as Benji turned out to be the clear-cut winner.
The duo combined to produce three touchdowns over the final quarter-and-a-half as the Bearcats pulled away for a 42-14 victory in non-district action at The Star.
Benji Omayebu scored three times — twice on special teams — and Daniel Omayebu’s interception return nearly made it to the end zone but got a little help from Micah Justice to seal the deal.
“We’re in a good place right now but we’re not taking anything for granted,” Benji Omayebu said. “Leave it all on the field and make sure we play out hearts out.”
Tate Bethel completed 13-of-18 passes for 132 yards and ran eight times for 49 yards and a TD, Mike Brown had 15 carries for 61 yards before leaving early in the third quarter due to an injury and Gage Smith caught three passes for 71 yards for Sherman (2-1), which closes out non-district play by hosting Justin Northwest next Friday. The Bearcats are 2-1 for the third time in four seasons.
“Love to be 3-1. As long as we can improve each week in all three phases, I’m happy,” Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez said. “We did some really good things. I’m ecstatic about our special teams. Those things don’t happen if you don’t practice them and put an emphasis on them.”
Will Glatch was 15-of-16 for 180 yards and a TD pass and also ran 14 times for 50 yards to lead Liberty (0-3), which has a 14-game losing streak dating back to 2017.
“They hadn’t thrown much but I guess they felt they could take advantage,” Martinez said. “They’re a young team and when bad things happen they tend to snowball. But they’re going to be good in the future.”
The Bearcats opened the second half with a touchdown drive capped by Bethel’s one-yard keeper to the left side for a 21-7 advantage. It looked like it could have been a costly possession as Brown injured an ankle on his only carry, the third snap of the series, and did not return.
“He could have gone back in,” Martinez said. “We were in a good enough situation due to our special teams and defense that we didn’t need him.”
Because of the special teams and defense, the Bearcats only had two more possessions in the game.
Liberty answered right back as Will Ashmore scored on a 23-yard run with 4:53 left in the third to get the deficit back to a touchdown.
That’s when Benji Omayebu went 77 yards on the ensuing kickoff and had Sherman staked to a 28-14 advantage. A change in alignment by special teams coordinator Noble Polk put Omayebu in the right spot.
“Coach told me before we went out there where they were going to kick it, so I was right in the middle,” he said. “Went left, saw an opening to the right, cut back to the left and off to the races.”
It stayed that way until nine minutes left in the game when Daniel Omayebu got in on the act. Justice forced third-and-long with a sack and Glatch’s only misfire of the night was a screen pass right into Daniel Omayebu’s hands at the Liberty 28.
“I made my read waiting for someone to come my way, like a puller, and then the ball came right at me,” he said.
He took off for the end zone but was brought down just inside the 10 and fumbled but Justice was right there to scoop it up and run it in from six yards away and a 35-14 margin.
Liberty then went three-and-out and Benji Omayebu capped the scoring by coming off the right edge to block the punt towards the left sideline and grabbed it for a six-yard return TD with 6:46 remaining. It was his third special teams touchdown in the last two weeks — sixth overall in that span — after he blocked a field goal and returned it 68 yards in the win over Brewer.
“I’m just in the right place at the right time,” he said.
Added Martinez: “He’s such a dynamic player.”
After scoring on their opening drive of the second half, the Redhawks went — three-and-out, interception, blocked punt, turnover on downs and two snaps at the game’s end.
Sherman took a 14-7 lead into half-time with just seconds to spare. The Bearcats were able to complete a drive that had fourth-and-goal at the one when Brown shook off an initial hit at the goal line for a touchdown with six seconds remaining before the break.
The Bearcats had forced a punt with 2:19 and went 62 yards with almost all of it — 54 to be exact — on a second-and-20 deep bomb from Bethel that hit Smith in stride along the left hash before he was taken down at the seven.
Four straight runs by Brown eventually did the trick.
It was a good drive after the Bearcats got just inside the red zone on their prior possession but turned the ball over on downs. Liberty had just tied the game and Sherman was on the march to respond. Brown started the drive with an 11-yard run, Bethel kept for another 20 and the possession had quickly gone past midfield.
Sherman made it to the 19 but Bethel’s scramble to the left on fourth-and-three saw his pass get deflected. The Bearcats forced a three-and-out to allow the offense another chance, which they converted.
The Redhawks pulled even on an eight-play, 98-yard drive that started deep when Deante’ Cook kept Gerald Clark’s 56-yard punt from bouncing into the end zone.
Connor Hulstein caught a 31-yard pass on third-and-five to keep the series alive, Braxton Brown had a 25-yard reception just past midfield and Evan Stewart capped the possession on a 38-yard touchdown grab with 8:14 left in the half.
Liberty had a potential scoring chance end when Cook forced Brown to fumble after a catch and Blake Almon recovered at the Sherman 27.
The Redhawks opened the game by reaching the Sherman 30 in six plays but a snap over Glatch’s head lost 23 yards. Liberty managed to get back to a fourth-and-10 situation before Glatch, who was 12-of-12 passing for 161 yards in the first half, found Keavon Wright but he was two yards short of the marker.
Benji Omayebu capped the ensuing drive with an 11-yard touchdown run on a sweep to the right as the Bearcats led 7-0 with 3:06 left in the first.