Bearcats back in postseason after topping Tyler

By Rick Bailey
For the Herald Democrat
Sherman's Jacoby Hunt races to the end zone on a touchdown catch during the Bearcats' win over Tyler in District 7-5A (I) action at Bearcat Stadium.

Last year the Bearcats not only needed to beat Tyler, but because of multiple tie-breaker scenarios to end the season had to do it by double digits. Sherman won the game, although it wasn't by enough.

This time around at Bearcat Stadium, the margin of victory was plenty since all Sherman needed was a win.

The Bearcats took a shutout into the fourth quarter and unleashed a pounding ground attack for a 30-9 victory over the Lions in District 7-5A (I) action. It clinched the program's third playoff appearance in four years after Sherman (4-4, 3-1) was the odd team out of a three-way tie-breaker with Texas High and Tyler in 2019.

The Lions (2-6, 2-3) were eliminated with the loss. All four of the district's playoff berths are spoken for going into the final week of the regular season. Highland Park clinched the top seed and McKinney North is locked in as the fourth seed.

The only question comes down to Sherman and Longview. The Bearcats will be the second seed if they win at West Mesquite and Longview loses against Tyler. If the Lobos end with a win, they will be slotted No. 2 and Sherman will get the third seed based on the tie-breaker point differential rules for no contests after their match-up was cancelled due to COVID-19 two weeks ago.

Benji Omayebu led the Bearcats with 140 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries while Andrew Nehrbass added 20 carries for 100 yards and a TD as the team finished with 292 yards on 37 rushes. Jacoby Hunt added a pair of catches for 60 yards and a score and Dane Casselberry kicked a field goal.

Ken'yontae Pinkard had a 39-yard TD run for the Lions, who finished with just 149 yards — including 27 yards on 22 carries.

Sherman's first possession was mostly all Omayebu's 63-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the contest. Tate Bethel attempted a two-point conversion pass that was unsuccessful to make the score 6-0.

Tyler was unable to get anything going on offense and the Lions were forced to punt on six straight series.

At the end of the first quarter Sherman advanced to the Tyler 20 but the drive stalled and came away empty on a missed 37-yard field goal.

After exchanging punts throughout the second period, Sherman managed to put points on the board with 1:15 left in the half. Bethel hit a streaking Hunt in stride for a 45-yard touchdown strike and the Bearcats held a 13-0 advantage at the break.

The Bearcats put together a time consuming 75-yard scoring drive that ended in a Casselberry 27-yard field goal with 5:09 left in the third quarter as the gap widened to 16-0.

Tyler had its biggest threat to score up to that point when the Lions made it all the way to the Sherman five-yard line. After they were backed up by a penalty, Saul Perez missed a 25-yard field goal.

At the 7:50 mark in the final stanza, Omayebu popped a 52-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage giving Sherman a 23-0 lead.

Perez got Tyler on the board with a 31-yard field goal which capped an 11-play drive with 5:15 remaining

With just over two minutes left. Sherman added its final points on a four-yard touchdown run by Nehrbass.

Pinkard replaced Eli Sanchez following an injury in the fourth quarter and the duo finished 12-of-32 passing for 122 yards and a pair of interceptions. On the fourth play of the drive after completing a 13-yard pass to Ja’Davion Lacy, Pinkard did the rest himself on a 39-yard scramble for a touchdown with 1:25 left in the game.

District 7-5A (I)

Sherman                30

Tyler                         9