The second half pace had decidedly slowed and the scoring opportunities were become as low as the temperature. Deadlocked on the portable scoreboard and a shootout looming meant the next goal was probably going to produce the final margin.

The second half pace had decidedly slowed and the scoring opportunities were become as low as the temperature. Deadlocked on the portable scoreboard and a shootout looming meant the next goal was probably going to produce the final margin.

Denison was able to come up with a pair of goals in a 26-second span in the later part of the second half as the Yellow Jackets defeated Sherman, 3-1, in the District 17-4A opener at Denison on Saturday afternoon.

"Taking advantage of the opportunities. You have to capitalize," Yellow Jacket head coach Scotty Voight said. "It’s good to start off district with a win."

Marcos Sauceda put Denison (7-3-1, 1-0) in front and then Brandt Krasovic immediately followed with some insurance as the Jackets matched their win total from 2013.

Sherman (4-7-1, 0-1) went nearly the final 30 minutes without a good scoring chance, including the final 7:50 when the Bearcats played a man down following a red card.

"Keeping position of the ball in the midfield. Good communication and leadership," Voight said. "That was something we were lacking in the first half."

The few scoring chances right after halftime were good ones. Jason Chavez had a pair of headers come up empty in the first 11 minutes of the second half for Sherman while Denison couldn’t capitalize on a free kick, a run by Adam Green down the left sideline and then Bearcat defenders Urias Marcos and Jonatan Luis cleared what would have been a sure goal by David Sauceda when the Jackets got possession right on the goal line.

Sherman’s last best chance came with 17:52 remaining when Jorge Sosa chipped a shot wide and Denison was just minutes from going ahead for good.

Marcos Sauceda notched his second goal of the season when he came swooping in from the left side as a corner kick deflected in his direction with 12:47 remaining. He managed to gain control despite some serious spin on the ball.

"We got caught watching. Actually we weren’t paying attention," Sherman head coach Chico Aleman said. "He flew right in. You cannot let your guard down."

Krasovic then broke loose when play resumed and he chipped it past charging keeper Joseph Kahlaf, then ran the ball down and scored his 11th goal for a 3-1 advantage with 12:21 showing.

"Got a little cushion there," Voight said. "You just put a goal on them and their heads are down and you take advantage."

It was the one play that Aleman took exception to because it put his team in a terrible spot for a comeback.

"A mental letdown. Down and frustrated," he said. "That’s a sign of not being able to play together yet."

When Sherman played with just 10 Bearcats, the Jackets had three chances to pad its lead, including when Krasovic hit the cross bar with 3:39 left.

After an inadvertent handball with 1:09 left, Sherman had a free kick but sent the attempt wide and the ensuing corner kick was cleared to keep the Bearcats from a furious rally to force a shootout.

"Believe it or not, sometimes you can play better with a man down," Aleman said. "You can be a little more organized. We score there with a minute left and then who knows?"

Both teams had scoring chances early on but the keepers were able to maintain a clean sheet. Kahlaf made a save on a Krasovic blast off a corner and Michael Moran, who has now allowed a goal or less in seven of 11 matches, came up with a stop on a header by Chavez.

Orlando Macedo almost put Denison in front but his long shot went just over the crossbar at the 28:21 mark of the opening half before Chavez connected three minutes later to give Sherman the advantage.

A scramble in front of the left post let the senior knock in the rebound just inside the right post as it was about to trickle out of bounds.

Chavez almost had a second goal 14 minutes later when he was all alone on the right side after a Jacket giveaway put the Bearcats in prime position but Moran made a diving stop to the far post and got enough of the attempt to send it wide of the net.

Anthony Rivas then missed an opportunity for a goal off a free kick near the top of the box. The Jacket wall stopped the initial shot and Rivas corralled the rebound and his second attempt missed to the left with just over four minutes remaining in the half.

The missed chances allowed Denison to even the score with 2:16 left before the break. Sherman couldn’t clear after a corner kick and Tate Perkins sent the ball to Macedo on the left side. Macedo then headed the ball towards the middle of the field and Perkins planted a bicycle kick perfectly into the back of the net for his first goal of the year as Kahlaf didn’t have a chance to make a play on the goal.

"It was a really nice. That’s the capability of some the things we can do athletically," Voight said. "That’s one of those momentum things — to get one of that caliber inspires them."

Even though the score was only tied and the Bearcats could regroup at halftime, the damage had been done.

"We had the momentum," Aleman said. "After that bicycle kick, momentum turned."