We are at the point of the season where teams can only concern themselves about two things — themselves and the other teams in their district.
It is easy to talk about being able to take care of your own business. But once you suffer that first district loss, you have to start relying on others, whether it is to make the playoffs or improve your seeding.
The Sherman Bearcats find themselves in that spot a week earlier than they did a year ago. After dropping their district opener, they are at a disadvantage, but it is slight with half the season still to play.
“In this place, you’ve got to win three. If it’s not this one, we’ve got to get to work to find them,” Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez said. “You’ve only got six shots. I think we can compete with a lot of teams. We take care of our business, we’ll be alright.”
The next shot comes as Sherman (3-2, 0-1) hosts Mesquite Poteet (1-3) in 7-5A (I) action at 7 p.m. on Friday at Bearcat Stadium.
This match-up did not go the Bearcats’ way last season in a 29-13 loss, but by coming out on top this time they would still be at the same 1-1 record at the one-third mark of the district schedule.
Sherman knows what it takes to be a playoff qualifier. The program has been there the past two years. The Bearcats made it last season after a 1-3 start, getting to an extra game on the right side of a tie-breaker. Part of that was due to the win Sherman earned against McKinney North in the district opener. Now a different path will be needed for there to be a similar ending — regardless of seeding in the top four.
Heading into the district opener against North, the Bearcats knew they were going to have their hands full against the Bulldogs’ explosive offense. Sherman was up to the task early but couldn’t keep pace in the 49-28 loss.
The Bearcats led 21-14 after the first quarter but were down 39-28 at half-time. And while the defense made the right adjustments to hold North to just 10 points in the second half, the offense was unable to find its footing against a team that allowed every opponent to score at least 34, and three of the four to get into the 40s.
“It happened for a quarter. It was going pretty good pretty quick,” Martinez said. “We didn’t execute. Plain and simple. The opportunities were there but a penalty would get us behind the chains. They got a couple of sacks.”
Three of the touchdowns came on big plays — Tate Bethel had a 39-yard throw to Jacoby Hunt and a 63-yarder to Gage Smith while Benji Omayebu scored on a 66-yard run — but it wasn’t enough.
North finished with 570 yards (330 passing and 240 rushing).
“Our kids have a great mentality,” Martinez said. “I think our coaching staff has done a great job embedding in them what this week means. We have a great work ethic. Don’t sit there and pout. What are you going to do now?”
Poteet opened district play with the bye and the Pirates are looking to continue their recent momentum after closing the non-district portion of the schedule with a 19-14 win against Tyler Lee two weeks ago.
It was a much-needed result after Poteet started the year with three straight losses — a 52-6 defeat against Denton Ryan, a 53-46 setback to Waxahachie and a 33-21 loss to Mansfield Summit.
In the victory over Lee, Seth McGowan had 26 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown while Jaylond Police was 9-of-19 passing for 106 yards and a touchdown to go with nine carries for 83 yards.
Tristan Golightly finished with four catches for 43 yards and a TD and Matthew Sierra kicked a pair of field goals.
Quarterback has been a spot where both Police and Steven Fink have seen significant time. Fink, who did not play against Lee, has completed 19-of-42 passes for 449 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions while Police has made 27-of-58 throws for 300 yards, two TDs and an interception.
McGowan is the main focal point for the Pirates. He is a four-star recruit who has committed to Oklahoma. After missing the opener with an injury, he has 38 carries for 279 yards and two touchdowns and three catches for 74 yards and a score.
Xzaveon Jeans is next at 49 carries for 241 yards and two touchdowns.
Golighty is the top target with 20 receptions for 317 yards and four touchdowns while Jailyn Graham has 11 catches for 194 yards and two TDs.
“They’re very, very talented,” Martinez said.