McKinney holds off Sherman
McKINNEY — After falling behind by two touchdowns early in the game, the Sherman Bearcats fought back to make it a three-point margin in the fourth quarter before the McKinney Lions were able to get some insurance and finish off a 24-14 victory in non-district action at McKinney ISD Stadium.
Benji Omayebu had five catches for 53 yards and five carries for 26 yards and a touchdown, Tate Bethel completed 13-of-21 passes for 162 yards and added a TD run, Jacob Hunt finished with three catches for 61 yards and Andrew Nehrbass totaled 59 yards on 13 rushes for Sherman (1-3), which opens District 7-5A (I) play at home against Wylie East.
R.J. Caver had 15 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns, Sampson Nazarko chipped in a TD run and Josh Secrest kicked a field goal for McKinney (3-1).
A strong McKinney pass rush disrupted the Sherman offense and didn’t allow Bethel to get into a rhythm until the second half.
After McKinney stopped Nehrbass on a third-and-three near midfield, Divaad Terry returned the punt to the McKinney 42-yard line and from there it took the Lions only five plays to get in the end zone, scoring on Nazarko’s ten-yard scramble. The score was set up with a 35-pass from Nazarko to Omari Walker to the Bearcats 11-yard line.
After McKinney thwarted another Sherman drive, the Lions took over at their 13-yard line and needed only seven plays to score again on Carver’s nine-yard run. Carver converted a crucial third down with a 19-yard reception from Nazarko on third-and-six. Two plays later Bryan Jackson rumbled 40 yards to the nine-yard line and Carver scored the next play for a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
After forcing another Sherman punt, McKinney looked like they were on their way to adding to its lead but Braiden Speed stepped in front of a Nazarko pass for the interception in Bearcat territory.
The Sherman defense came up big again when it stopped Ja’kobe Walton on a fourth-down attempt at the Bearcats 26-yard line with 5:21 remaining in the half.
Bethel then drove Sherman into McKinney territory, converting a fourth-and-four with a 13-yard scramble but the drive ended when he was stopped a yard short on a 4th-and-15 play at the McKinney 23-yard line and the half ended with the Lions holding a 14-0 lead.
Getting the ball first in the second half, Sherman came to life and cut the deficit in half. Aided by a McKinney personal foul, the Bearcats drove inside McKinney’s five-yard line and Omayebu scoring on third down from the four.
Carver then led McKinney on a drive but fumbled in Sherman territory and Mathias Coleman recovered for the Bearcats. Facing third-and-18, Bethel connected with Hunt for a 43-yard pass but just a few plays later Bethel was stopped again on a fourth down attempt, this time at the Lions 34-yard line.
McKinney headed the other way and made it inside Sherman’s 10-yard line before settling for Secrest’s 23-yard field goal which extended the lead to 17-7.
The Bearcats responded, driving 67 yards in seven plays, on a possession fueled by a Bethel-to-Nehrbass 35-yard screen pass. On first-and-goal from the one, Bethel executed a lead draw perfectly to get Sherman to within three points.
Taking over at its 24-yard line with 10:56 left in the game, McKinney went on a methodical, 14-play, 76-yard drive that consumed almost six minutes. No play was longer than seven yards in the drive, which was capped off by Carver’s seven-yard TD run with 5:12 remaining.
Sherman reached the red zone on the ensuing drive but a 36-yard field goal attempt to make it a one-score game fell short and McKinney ran out the clock to secure the victory.