For the second straight district game, the Sherman Bearcats weren’t able to keep pace with their opponent in the second half.

Now as the team enters its bye week, Sherman will need to regroup for the final month of the season after the Mesquite Poteet Pirates came away with a 44-21 victory over the Bearcats in District 7-5A (II) action at Bearcat Stadium.

Two fumbles and an interception in the first 15 minutes hurt even more as Sherman (2-3, 0-2) wa down only 7-0 after the first quarter.

The Pirates (2-3, 1-0) outrushed the Bearcats, 304-30, and doubled up the rushing attempts. Seth McGowan, who is committed to Oklahoma, had 192 of those yards on 21 carries.

Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez attributed the difference in the ground game to the work in the trenches.

“They just beat us up front,” Martinez said. “We weren’t able to do what we needed to do and hats off to them; they did a good job.”

Sherman quarterback Tate Bethel completed 22-of-34 passes for 273 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while Benji Omayebu totaled seven catches for 71 yards, Jacoby Hunt added five catches for 60 yards and Sean Husband finished with six catches for 57 yards.

The Pirates started with the ball and marched down the field with the drive culminating in a 24-yard screen pass from Jaylond Police to McGowan with 6:45 remaining in the first quarter. On the ensuing drive, Bethel threw an interception, his first of the season, on the second play.

The Bearcats were able to hold Mesquite Poteet and forced the Pirates to go for it on fourth down. Police overthrew receiver Jailyn Graham in the end zone and turned the ball back over to Sherman.

Five plays later, Hunt fumbled the ball on a pass from Bethel that would’ve given Sherman a first down.

Taking the ball back over, Mesquite Poteet couldn’t make it past its 40-yard line and punted. Again, a five-play drive culminated in a turnover, this time with receiver Husband losing the ball after completing a catch.

This turnover gave the Pirates the opportunity to rely on McGowan and find the end zone again, this time a four-yard run, going up 14-0 early in the second quarter.

“We fumbled ourselves, we didn’t turn around, didn’t catch the ball,” Martinez said. “We were really slow about it and we were just terrible. I mean, everything we did was self-inflicted. Everything.”

The Bearcats were able to cut their deficit to one score on the ensuing drive. Bethel completed a pass to Omayebu. who made it down the sideline before being knocked out at the one. Bethel kept the ball on the next play and punched it in around the right tackle.

The final score of the half was a 32-yard field goal by Matthew Sierra to give the Pirates a 17-7 advantage

The third quarter began with the longest Sherman drive of the evening: An 11-play series that ended in a punt from the Mesquite Poteet 45-yard line. Seven plays later, the Pirates scored for the third time on a 20-yard pass from Police to Graham. Police was 10-of-20 passing for 112 yards and three TDs.

The teams traded drives before Bethel threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Hunt in the early stages of the fourth quarter.

McGowan restored the three-score margin as he took the ball 62 yards to the house on the first play of the ensuing drive.

Sherman didn’t go quietly as receiver Elijah Chapman hauled in a 53-yard touchdown pass from Bethel to make it 37-21.

T.J. McCollum scored the final points for Mesquite Poteet on a 25-yard touchdown run.

The Bearcats may be sitting at 0-2 heading into their bye week but both losses were to playoff teams. Sherman can still control its destiny for a third straight postseason berth when it returns to action at Texas High on Oct. 18.

“We gotta get healthy,” Martinez said. “We got some bangs and bruises. We just [have] to get healthy here and there and fix the mistakes that we’ve been making and go back to the basics.”