MCKINNEY — The Sherman Bearcats had their three-game winning streak snapped by the high-powered offense of McKinney North in the District 7-5A (I) opener at McKiney ISD Stadium.
After allowing just 37 points in the previous three contests, North more than than total by half-time in the 49-28 victory as Sherman (3-2, 0-1) couldn’t maintain its hot start — when it held a 21-14 advantage after the first quarter.
“You gotta shake it off and move on to the next one,” Bearcat head coach J.D. Martinez said. “We know where we need to get things better. We need to stay healthy and improve offensively.”
Sherman came into the game without senior guard Cole Gibson, who went down with a leg injury in the Week 4 match-up against Justin Northwest, and will be out for the season, according to Martinez. Junior Dominie Johnson started at left guard in his place.
“He won’t be with us anymore,” Martinez said. “I’m limited on what I can say about that, he just won’t be with us anymore.”
Gage Smith led Sherman in receiving before going down with 9:38 in the second quarter due to an injury and did not return, which hurt since he also starts on defense. Smith accumulated 63 yards and a touchdown on his sole catch.
Benji Omayebu led the Bearcats with 86 yards and a touchdown on four carries while Mike Brown followed behind with 78 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
McKinney North (4-1, 1-0) was led by quarterback Dillon Markiewicz, who completed 68 percent of his passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. He has 19 TDs through the first five games.
Almost all of the scoring came early as the teams combined for 67 points in the first half.
The Bearcats kicked off scoring with a double-flea flicker. Bethel handed the ball to Brown, who pitched it to receiver Sean Husband, who handed the ball back to Bethel. Bethel unleashed a 39-yard passing touchdown to Jacoby Hunt on their first play from scrimmage.
Sherman extended its lead to 14-0 with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Bethel to Smith.
The Bulldogs found the end zone for the first time with 5:07 remaining in the first quarter off a 38-yard pass from Markiewicz to JJ Henry. In response, Brown put the Bearcats up 21-7 with a six-yard run into the end zone.
After this early success, Sherman scored only once more and McKinney North — which totaled 570 yards — began to take control.
Markiewicz connected with tight end Brandon Frazier for a 70-yard touchdown pass to cut the Bearcat lead in half.
Emanuel Fincher scored next on a one-yard run. The Bulldogs went for two out of a swinging gate formation.
“That’s just McKinney North,” Martinez said. “That’s what they do. They do a great job with their coaching staff to put their kids in great positions to be successful.”
Markiewicz found Fincher, who finished with 28 carries for 155 yards, in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 29-21. But Sherman had an answer when Omayebu hit the gap on the following Bearcat drive and exploded for a 66-yard run.
McKinney North responded with a 22-yard Fincher touchdown rush with 2:30 remaining in the first half.
The final score of the half came off the foot of Tyler Huettel as he extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 39-28 on a 26-yard field goal.
Markiewicz opened up the second half with a one-yard run to extend North’s advantage and with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Huettel kicked a 21-yard field goal and put the Bulldogs up 49-28.
Sherman was unable to keep pace and the Bulldogs held them scoreless in the second half. The Bearcats’ best chance to get back in the game came when they blocked a punt and recovered at the eight-yard line. Sherman was unable to take advantage of the field position and turned the ball over on downs with 5:47 remaining in the game..
“They just beat us up front,” Martinez said. “Our offensive line didn’t do a very good job. That’s just plain and simple, they beat us.”
Sherman will return home Friday to take on Mesquite Poteet at Bearcat Stadium.