The Bearcat defense continues to get better each week and it produced another strong performance by holding Justin Northwest, which came in averaging 37.3 points per game, scoreless through three quarters in Sherman's 23-6 win to close out non-district play at Bearcat Stadium.
It is the first three-game win streak in seven years for Sherman (3-1), which opens District 7-5A (I) play at McKinney North on Friday.
The Bearcats stuffed three fourth-down conversions and head coach J.D. Martinez credited his defensive coordinator, Mark Wilkinson, for that being possible.
“[Wilkinson's] fantastic,” Martinez said. “He's got a great plan, he knows what he wants to do. He sells it to our coaching staff and our kids totally believe in it. We wanted to take [Will McMillan] away and we were able to limit him to two catches.”
Mike Brown led the Bearcats with 191 on 19 carries and Benji Omayebu scored twice in the victory with district play up next.
“It feels good to have a team win,” Brown said. “[I want to] just go 1-0 and keep on winning. No matter what the cost, no matter if you start low or start high, just go as fast as you can.”
In the first quarter, Sherman quarterback Tate Bethel connected with Omayebu for a 55-yard touchdown on the opening drive.
On the following drive, Justin Northwest (0-4) snapped the ball over the punter Cooper McDonald's head and he kicked the ball out of the end zone for a safety, putting the Bearcats up 9-0.
The offenses traded three-and-outs until Sherman was able to find the end zone with Bethel scrambling on a 10-yard run. The run was set up by a lateral pass from Bethel to Trenton Hardin, who found Sean Husband down field.
On the scoring play, offensive lineman Cole Gibson was injured and had to be carted off the field on a stretcher.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Texans found themselves in a fourth-and-one situation. McDonald took the direct snap and was stuffed at the line of scrimmage to give Sherman the ball back on its 23-yard line.
The second quarter wasn't over before another injury struck. Northwest running back Kyndel Sims went down right before half-time, but walked off under his own power. The Texans' leading rusher finished with 14 carries for 46 yards.
Sherman took a 16-0 lead into half-time and the Homecoming crowd was then able to watch senior Walker Wedell, who was born with Down Syndrome, get the experience of scoring a touchdown.
Wedell has attended practice and suited up for the Bearcats since his freshman year and Martinez had been planning this for some time and felt Wedell's senior year Homecoming was a good time for it.
“I'm really proud of it,” Martinez said. “But it all starts with the guy across from us. [Northwest head coach Bill Poe] is such a class act. I looked at the schedule about where we could do this, especially with his senior year.”
Northwest came out of half-time firing and made it to midfield. Sims returned but only touched the ball on one play — a two-yard loss on a pass.
Sherman extended the lead on its opening drive of the third quarter after forcing a punt. Bethel found Omayebu for a 20-yard touchdown pass to put the Bearcats up 23-0 in the middle of the third.
“Our offensive coordinator does a great job of having a plan,” Martinez said. “He knew exactly what he wanted to do and the kids went out and executed. Whenever you can score at the beginning of the halves, that's huge momentum.”
Northwest, which had just 67 yards on 27 carries, avoided the shutout with 7:41 remaining off a 32-yard pass from Austin Ahmad to Zavion Taylor. The Texans went for a two-point conversion with a pass from McDonald, which fell incomplete. Ahmad threw for 242 yards but needed 39 passes to get there.
Two drives later, a catch-and-fumble by Ozzie Henry cemented the game for the Bearcats. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Brown took off on a 42-yard run down to the Texan 28.