Sherman's second straight win develops into a rout
SAGINAW — After a dramatic victory, the Bearcats put together a second straight win but the finish to Sherman's contest against Saginaw had a far different emotion attached to it.
The Cats were able to cruise in a laugher because they were all business at the start en route to a 52-10 victory over the Rough Riders in non-district action.
It couldn't have been further from the last-second touchdown which had lifted Sherman over Mount Pleasant — this one had a 32-point half-time margin.
"I was really happy to see us jump right out and put some points on the board and get some stops. Our kids started really, really well," Sherman head coach Cory Cain said. "I think we have an idea of of who we are. We're trying to expand our tool chest, adding to it each week."
Phoenix Grant completed 16-of-24 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, Vontrelle Sanders totaled five catches for 118 yards and a TD, Kane Bowen finished with 76 yards and two scores on 11 carries and Collins Muriithi ran five times for 73 yards and a touchdown for Sherman (2-1), which closes out non-district play when it hosts McKinney on Friday.
Kyle Kennard had 17 carries for 105 yards and a TD to lead Saginaw (1-2), which finished with just 135 total yards. It was a similar showing to last year's 62-0 win by the Bearcats, when they held the Rough Riders to 93 yards.
Sherman pushed its lead to six touchdowns by the latter stages of the third quarter.
Anthony Gionfriddo recovered a fumble at the Saginaw 16 but the Bearcats were forced to settle for a 42-yard field goal by Dane Casselberry in the middle of the frame.
Jones capped the next Sherman possession when he caught a 13-yard fade pass in the right side of the end zone for a 45-3 margin with just over 13 minutes remaining.
Saginaw followed with its best series of the night when Kennard broke loose down the right sideline for a 60-yard TD near the end of the third. Outside of that run, the Rough Riders managed 11 yards on 37 carries and had 75 yards on the other 54 plays.
"They had some offensive areas where they were struggling," Cain said. "Our defensive line played well."
Bowen put the exclamation point on the victory when he scored from 17 yards out in the middle of the fourth quarter on the first play following Colby Ray Short's interception at midfield and 33-yard return.
In the first half, Sherman had eight drives and they either ended with a touchdown or a turnover as the Cats held a 35-3 margin at the break and a 354-89 yardage advantage. Saginaw ran the ball 23 times for 21 yards before half-time, losing yards on eight of those carries.
Less than four minutes into the contest Sherman was up 14-0. It took just five plays to cover 75 yards, the last 13 a TD run from Caleb Thompson barreling over a defending to reach the end zone, on the game’s opening possession.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Bearcats scored on the first play of the ensuing series when Grant, who started the game 7-of-7 for 130 yards, faked a hand-off before hitting Sanders on a post route at the 35-yard line on his way to a 50-yard touchdown catch and the 14-0 advantage.
Sherman’s third drive started at the Saginaw 34 following a 20-yard punt return from J.D. Parker but the Rough Riders minimized the damage with a fumble recovery at the nine-yard line by Paul Barasa.
Saginaw later cashed in an interception return by Jose Chaves the next time Sherman had the ball but the Cats defense forced the Rough Riders into a Parker Yoccum 37-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
It was a 21-3 advantage a little more than a minute later when Bowen punched in a one-yard touchdown run with mere seconds left in the opening frame. Sanders caught a deflection for a 36-yard gain on the preceding play.
The Bearcats had another one-play drive when they started at the Saginaw 49 following a 13-yard punt. Muriithi went right up the middle for a TD and Sherman took a 28-3 lead with 7:37 left in the half.
Saginaw had to turn to backup QB Archie Smith on the next drive as Sam Johnson injured his right shoulder after being brought down on a sack for the fifth time.
Another short punt gave the Bearcats the ball at the Rough Rider 41-yard line and Elijah Chapman scored on a keeper from a yard out to cap the six-play drive with 3:31 to go in the second quarter.
A chance to pad that lead heading into the locker room ended on another fumble recovery by Saginaw in the final minute.
"You want it to be cleaner," Cain said. "There's things we need to clean up but we went out and won a game we should."