Sherman takes out its frustrations on Saginaw

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Saginaw's Kyle Kennard gets upended by Sherman's Brandon Bonilla during the Bearcats' non-district victory at Bearcat Stadium.

After the first two weeks of the season, the Bearcats needed this.

They needed a game which showed things were better than the 0-2 record next to their name.

They needed to see an opponent struggle moving the ball.

They needed to see the scoreboard light up drive after drive.

By the end Sherman had produced on all fronts, getting touchdowns on defense and special teams for a victory to provide the first breakthrough moment of the year.

"Just what the doctor ordered. Two aspirin, some sprite and crackers and just like new," Sherman head coach J.D. Martinez said. "Guys got after it and played hard. I'm really, really proud of the way we got after it."

Andrew Nehrbass had 120 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries and returned a kickoff for a score, Tate Bethel ran for a TD and threw another and Connor Clark brought back an interception for a touchdown as the Bearcats rolled past Saginaw, 62-0, in non-district action at Bearcat Stadium.

It was the most points by Sherman (1-2) since a 63-14 win over Mount Pleasant in 2011, its biggest shutout win since 64-0 against Trimble Tech in 1994 and the largest margin of victory since a 69-7 win over Trimble Tech in 1995.

Jacoby Hunt, who had three receptions for 55 yards, and Elijah Chapman caught TD passes while Benji Omayebu and Caleb Thompson ran for touchdowns to pace the Bearcats, who close out non-district play at McKinney on Friday.

"We hit on all three phases of the game. They came out fast and continued strong," Martinez said.

Saginaw (0-3) managed only four first downs and 93 yards, including 18 yards on 26 carries. Out of 46 snaps, 22 of them either gained no yardage or went backward. Kyle Kennard had most of the production with 15 carries for 33 yards and a 21-yard reception.

The best chances to end the shutout bid were on the Rough Riders' first two drives of the second half.

Helped by a face-mask penalty, Saginaw eventually got to the Sherman 16 on fourth down but was well short of the conversion. The next possession was a yard short of moving the chains on fourth down at the Bearcat 36. Those two drives had three of the Rough Riders' four first downs.

"(Shutouts) don't happen in Texas high school football anymore. It's like the Big 12," Martinez said. "I challenged the kids. We put a lot of guys out there and when you're out there, you're not a backup, you're a one. You're a starter. They answered that."

By that point Sherman had built a 48-0 advantage after Nehrbass returned the opening kickoff of the second half 80 yards for a touchdown. Omayebu initially fielded it going left to right and handed it off to Phoenix Grant, who stood with his back to the oncoming Rough Riders. Nehrbass then came from the right, took the hand-off and went down the left sideline, using a cutback inside the 15 to reach the end zone for his third touchdown of the night.

The senior transfer from Kansas had his other two TDs in the first quarter and didn't have a carry in the second half.

"We had to figure out what Andrew did well. He did really, really well," Martinez said. "The line did a great job. They were moving people."

Nehrbass left the heavy lifting to Thompson, who finished with 17 carries for 86 yards and notched the final touchdown on a five-yard run with 4:20 remaining. It was set up by Trey'vian Knight blocked punt which was recovered by Sam Thorton.

Earlier in the fourth Grant connected on an eight-yard TD toss to Chapman in the left side of the end zone.

Sherman finished just short of 300 yards rushing (297) after a couple of kneel-downs. While Saginaw couldn’t get anything going, the Bearcats continued to widen the gap throughout the second quarter.

It seem obvious it would be the Bearcats’ night when Bethel went to pass and lost the ball. He picked it up and raced 28 yards untouched up the middle for the touchdown a minute into the second quarter.

A 14-yard punt then set Sherman up at the Saginaw 25 and Omayebu finished off that possession with a six-yard run up the middle.

Sherman’s lone non-touchdown drive in the second quarter came when Djonny Mukuna recovered a Bethel fumble at the Rough Riders 36.

The defense added to the lead when Connor Clark undercut a throw to the right side, picked off the pass and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown and a 34-0 advantage with 2:35 remaining in the half.

Sherman closed out the quarter with one last score. Bethel scrambled and found Hunt for 31 yards on fourth-and-12 and the next play was Hunt’s 14-yard TD grab over the middle with 14 seconds left.

In the opening quarter, Nehrbass’ three-yard run up the middle in the middle of the quarter capped Sherman's first series and he made quick work of the second with a 41-yard run where he made a defender miss on a run through the line and went untouched for the 12-0 advantage.

The teams then traded turnovers. Grant recovered a fumble after a catch over the middle which set Sherman up at the Saginaw 21. But Antonio Hardin came up with an interception at the right sideline to keep it a two-score margin for the time being.

Sherman held a 285-31 yardage advantage at half-time because the Rough Riders managed just a single first down before the break and it came with just over three minutes left in the second quarter. Joseph Billiott and Sam Johnson combined to complete eight passes for 21 yards while Saginaw had 15 carries for 10 yards.