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Bearcats shut out the Yellow Jackets

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Sherman's Kai Altun, right, celebrates a goal with Daniel Gracia (back) and Noel Martinez in a District 10-5A win over Denison.

The Sherman Bearcats were searching for a complete effort as they chased their first victory in nearly a month. And now with district play in full swing, a group going for a third straight playoff berth needed to figure it out quickly.

After a strong showing at both ends of the field in their first rivalry meeting, Sherman is hoping to build on the confidence that comes after defeating the Denison Yellow Jackets, 4-0, in 10-5A play at Bearcat Stadium.

"Not a better game to come up with a win. They responded well,” Sherman head coach Chico Aleman said. “It was the little mental letdowns that were hurting us. We had to clean those up. We finally put the pressure on the opposing team.”

Kai Altun scored twice, Noel Martinez had three assists, Daniel Gracia and Colby Wilkins had goals and Jacob Prado and Luis Vasquez combined on the shutout for Sherman (2-6, 1-2), which travels to Lovejoy on Tuesday night.

“We’re going to enjoy this win but this is a very tought district,” Aleman said. “We’ve got to come back ready to work. There’s no easy teams and if you relax, you’ll get beat.”

Denison (5-7, 1-2), which hosts McKinney North on Tuesday, was unable to build on its first district victory since 2015 after topping Princeton on Tuesday as the Jackets fell behind 2-0 at half-time and struggled to put together consistent chances.

Josue Pavon had an opportunity to cut into the deficit during the opening minutes of the second half but Prado came away with the save.

The Jackets didn’t muster much after that as Sherman controlled the action and pushed to extend its lead. Vasquez came on with 15 minutes left and was immediately tested but turned away a shot from the right side to preserve the shutout.

It stayed a two-goal deficit when Denison keeper Kanyon Ives was able to get a hand on a header by Gracia in the early stages of the half.

But the Bearcats made it 3-0 with just over 30 minutes left when Martinez sent in a ball from the right side and Wilkins knocked it in.

Five minutes later Altun notched his second goal off a corner kick by Martinez that ended the scoring and was more than enough cushion for the Cats to pick up their first district win. The set pieces helped set up the offense throughout.

“That’s what we’ve been working on,” Aleman said. “That’s a way we might win a game and you saw that tonight.”

Sherman had a couple of chances from Victor Paulin and Paxon Wecker in the first few minutes of the game before Gracia hammered home a corner kick by Martinez into the back left side of the net with 31:03 showing.

The Bearcats' attack didn't wane and Martinez pushed a shot from inside the box just outside the left post. Seconds later Altun, a freshman, connected right in front off an end-line pass from Wecker for the 2-0 advantage with 24:22 remaining in the first half.

Wecker almost added to the total with just under eight minutes on the clock with a header but he was off target to the left.

The Yellow Jackets only produced a couple of opportunities to get on the board.

Prado came up with a save on John Dornstatder following a corner kick in the first five minutes and Denison went nearly 15 minutes before Anthony Cruz’s free kick from the left side went over the crossbar.

Cruz had an attempt with 13 minutes showing go over the bar and Pavon’s blast from the top of the box with just under two minutes to go in the half was right at Prado.

“A total team effort. Everybody got involved in making it happen on the field,” Aleman said. “We had a change in tempo and that got them going.”

District 10-5A

Sherman                 4

Denison                  0