Sherman defensive back Aaron Ingram sealed the Bearcats 32-27 win over John Tyler with an acrobatic end zone interception in the game’s final minute, the second time he picked off Cameron Ford in the final 4:36 of the District 7-5A (I) finale at Bearcat Stadium.
Under normal circumstances it would have been a reason for celebration, but the joy of the victory was muted because neither turnover led to points and Sherman’s season ended on the wrong side of a three-way tie-breaker.
The Cats (6-4, 3-3) won three straight to end the season and tied for third with John Tyler (3-7, 3-3) and Texas High. But Sherman had to win against the Lions by at least 11 points and were trying their best to get there with one final touchdown.
In their final possession of the game, the Bearcats drove 67 yards to the Lions 13 in 46 seconds, and with six seconds left, Tate Bethel’s pass sailed out of the end zone, leaving Sherman with a season-ending win, but no trip to the playoffs.
John Tyler got the third seed and Texas High got the fourth seed after it ended with a win against West Mesquite. If Texas High had lost, West Mesquite would have been the third team in the tie for third and Sherman would have advanced simply with the win.
Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez described the senior Ingram as “the epitome of what Sherman Bearcat football is. “
“He did a super job of getting after it,” Martinez said, describing Ingram’s improvement during his years on the team. “Good things are going to happen here. We won three straight and this team accepted that challenge and kept going.”
Ingram’s initial fourth-quarter interception came with 4:36 left when he leapt high to corral Ford’s throw. Ingram was flipped on the tackle, but he hung on when he hit the ground at the Sherman 25-yard line.
On fourth-and-six from the Tigers 24, Bethel was sacked for an 11-yard loss with 1:18 left, giving the Tigers the ball.
The Tigers drove inside the Bearcats 20 before Ingram’s second interception of the quarter set up the Bearcats’ final drive of the game.
Sherman started the game strong when Bethel found Sean Husband for a 30-yard touchdown pass on the Bearcats’ first possession.
John Tyler tied the game at seven later in the quarter when Ford found Austin Campbell behind the defense for a 60-yard touchdown pass.
After a Jose Nandin 35-yard field goal put the Bearcats up 10-7 early in the second quarter, Tigers running back Kitan Crawford rumbled 58 yards for the touchdown, giving John Tyler a 14-10 lead at the end of the first half.
Crawford gave the Lions a 21-10 lead seconds into the third quarter with a 13-yard touchdown run. Crawford’s scamper came after a kickoff return and penalty set the Lions up inside the Bearcats’ 20. The senior led the Lions with 10 carries for 106 yards.
Sherman scored the next 22 points to take a 32-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
Mike Brown who finished with 20 carries for 94 yards, scored on a one-yard run and Bethel threw for two more touchdowns — a 35-yarder to Jacoby Hunt and a 12-yarder to Benji Omayebu, the latter coming in the final minute of the third.
Bethel was 20-of-30 passing for 300 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 105 yards on 13 carries. Hunt had five catches for 94 yards.
Ford’s one-yard scoring run less than two minutes into the fourth quarter cut Sherman’s lead to five when the two-point failed.
During the fourth quarter, Husband and Bethel appeared locked in as the duo played pitch and catch up and down the field. Husband finished the game with 156 yards on eight catches, 126 of those yards coming in the second half.
But the Bearcats couldn’t extend the margin beyond the final score and missed out on a third consecutive playoff appearance.