Sheman 49 Denison 24 SHS 6-3, 4-1
The thing about rivalry games is that they always keep you on your toes.
Despite Sherman’s ups-and-downs this season, the Bearcats were expected to win the the “Battle of the Axe” handily given the woes that have befallen their neighbors to the north.
I know what you’re thinking.
“But Matt, they won 49-24. Is that not ‘handily’ enough for you?”
It certainly is; but let’s not forget that late in the third-quarter those pesky Yellow Jackets trimmed the SHS lead to 28-17. At that point, any team is just a break or two from turning a game around, especially a game with as much emotion as a rivalry that is being played for the 113th time.
I mention this to give Sherman credit. We pine over how a game looked when we saw it play out, but in the end the only stat that counts is the final score and the Bearcats held a big advantage in that.
The win over Denison puts a cap on the significant roadblock portion of the schedule. Sherman now heads into the bye week with a 6-3 record overall and a 4-1 mark in district play, with a spot in the playoffs locked up.
That’s not to overlook Greenville on Nov. 4, but with the Sulphur Springs and Texas High games in the books, the rivalry game with Denison was the only other game that most felt could have had surprises in store.
That is the nature of a rivalry game.
But with this win under its belt now, the Bearcats improve to 67-38-8 all-time in the rivalry.
A couple of notable performances include Braylon Mitchell who rushed for 94 yards and two scores and added a receiving score as well. JT Luper turned in his best pass-catching effort of the season in Joseph Harvey’s absence by hauling in nine receptions for 109 yards.
Actually make that 10 catches as Luper posted his first interception of the season. Since he couldn’t get in the end zone on offense, he decided to return the pick 60 yards for a defensive score.
Speaking of the defense, here is a number that is a little staggering.
SHS has forced three or more turnovers in five straight games. If that’s not exciting enough for you, they can do one better as the defense has posted a touchdown in each of those five games.
And since I mentioned Mitchell and Luper above, I’d like to comment a little on the philosophy taken by the coaching staff.
In an age of specialization, even at the high school level, these Bearcat players are not only playing both ways, but doing so in an impressive manner.
Just ask an opposing player who gets his bell rung by Braylon Mitchell, the line backer, only to turn around and get run over, around or through by Braylon Mitchell, the tailback.
And with Luper sneaking across for some time on defense and Ryan Reid sneaking in on offense, it’s clear to see that the Bearcat coaches are putting their best players on the field in every way they can, and it’s worked out pretty well for them so far.