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Sherman hosts Saginaw seeking first win

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Sherman's Logan Taylor and Tey'vian Knight (32) combined to sack Mount Pleasant's Keller Thompson during non-district action at Bearcat Stadium.

Halfway through their non-district schedule, the Sherman Bearcats can feel good about the progress on one side of the ball while still figuring out ways to get things clicking on the other.

It can be the basis of what preparing for district contests is all about: a week-to-week gauge in the lead-up to chasing a playoff spot and something which can arrive quicker than you think.

“I’m really excited with the way the kids are progressing. The sophomores are really figuring things out,” Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez said. “Our offensive line is going to continue improving. We need to continue getting that push up front to make things go.”

Going from the season-opener to Week 2, the Bearcats received a defensive effort which could allow them to win. But Sherman had issues offensively for a second straight game, albeit with an injury-necessitated change at quarterback, which kept them spinning their wheels at times.

And while senior Tate Bethel returns behind center this week after sophomore Phoenix Grant stepped in last Friday and some chances to the line showed levels of progress, the Bearcats are hoping to do more than show improvement as Sherman (0-2) hosts Saginaw (0-2) in non-district action at Bearcat Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

The Bearcats want to come away with a win and start building some momentum heading into 7-5A (I) play in two weeks.

“We’re getting healthy. Tate returning will be a benefit for us,” Martinez said. “It will be great to have him back. Would I have loved to win (against Mount Pleasant)? Absolutely. But I wasn’t going to risk a player’s health. I’ll never do that when facing that decision.”

The Bearcats are looking to avoid their first 0-3 start on the field since 2015, when they were 0-3 before having the middle loss against Sulphur Springs turned into a forfeit victory.

They are coming off a 24-7 defeat against Mount Pleasant in their home opener. Sherman was down 17-7 at half-time and held the Tigers to just a TD over the final two and a half quarters but couldn’t get more scoring outside of Elijah Chapman’s 23-yard touchdown catch in the middle of the second quarter.

“What a great game plan by the defensive coaches,” Martinez said. “They were outsized all night but they were put in positions to make plays and they made a lot of plays. We couldn’t sustain anything offensively to keep those guys off the field.”

The Bearcats managed just 150 yards, including 54 yards on 17 carries and had four turnovers. Andrew Nehrbass had 10 carries for 47 yards and Chapman finished with three receptions for 32 yards.

Grant filled in for Bethel, who played through an ankle injury in the loss to Denison to kick off the season, and was 10-of-24 passing for 96 yards with a TD and three interceptions.

“Were there some highs and lows? Absolutely,” Martinez said. “You have to get out there and ride the horse up and down to figure things out. He’ll get better.”

Saginaw is also seeking its first victory after opening with losses against Fort Worth Southwest and Frisco Heritage.

The Rough Riders struggled in a 36-0 loss to Southwest before coming up short in a shootout, 42-35, against Heritage after holding a 28-21 half-time lead.

Kyle Kennard led Saginaw with 24 carries for 215 yards and two touchdowns while Chance Nesbitt added 11 carries for 34 yards and two scores.

Both Joseph Billiot and Samuel Johnson saw time at quarterback. Billiot was 5-of-9 passing for 61 yards with a touchdown while Johnson completed 6-of-12 throws for 74 yards.

DeShawn Tiliaia had three catches for 68 yards and a TD.

The Rough Riders allowed 254 yards passing and 237 yards rushing to Heritage.

In the loss to Southwest, Saginaw played three quarterbacks, adding Gabriel Seiter to the mix. The offense committed five turnovers (four fumbles) and totaled just 167 yards with Kennard gaining 107 on 14 carries.

“They went 7-4 last year, made the playoffs. This year they’ve got a lot of young kids,” Martinez said. “They’re just trying to figure some things out.”

Non-district

What: Saginaw at Sherman

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Radio / Webcast: KMAD 102.5 FM / www.shsbearcats.net/broadcasts