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Game 7 vs. Sherman

Sherman Scores More But Bulldogs Hang Tough

By Bobby Summers

It would be easy to describe this game by the score and say no more. But just take a look at what lies beneath that 59-36 victory by Sherman over the Royse City Bulldogs during Homecoming 2011 at Royse City ISD Stadium last Friday night.

‘Sherman scores on two pick sixes (133 yards). Royse City scores on
two fumble recoveries (95 yards). Royse City has 430 yards of offense. Sherman has 356 yards of offense. Royse City rushes for 68 yards, Sherman rushed for 64 yards. Royse City passes for 362 yards, Sherman passes for 292 yards. Royse City has 24 first downs, Sherman has 14 first downs. Royse City turns the ball over six times. Sherman turns the ball over two times.
Sherman scores 8 touchdowns and a 24 yard field goal
Royse City scores 5 touchdowns and a 32 yard field goal

Final Score Sherman 59 Royse City 36’

Now that you have seen the statistics, it is easy to see that the title and the cover of the book do not always tell the whole story. And when all was said and done all you could say is ‘That’s the way football go’.

Sherman jumped out to a quick 24-7 lead in the first period, however the first two series of the opening quarter began to write what was a very interesting story.

Braylon Mitchell broke free on the sixth play of the Bearcats first possession and scored on a 28 yard run. Austin Roan kicked the point after for a 7-0 Sherman lead with just one minute and thirty one seconds elapsed in the game.

The Bearcats came right back and recovered their onside kick and the Bulldog defense was back on the field. On second down, that Bulldog defense stopped the Sherman celebration when Damion Foster picked up a fumble and then sprinted 63 yards for a Bulldog touchdown. The homecoming crowd erupted as Foster cruised in for his touchdown landing and Sean Pollock added the point after to tie the score at 7-7 with just two minutes and 11 seconds expired in the opening period.

Sherman tried to respond to the Bulldog score after returning the ensuing kickoff to the Bulldog 32 yard line. Four plays later the Bearcats were literally knocking on Royse City’s door with a first down and goal to go on the Bulldog 6 yard line. That’s when the Royse City defense tightened up and showed what they were made of. Sherman made it as close as third and goal on the Bulldog one yard line before they were knocked back two yards and then tried it again on fourth and goal on the Royse City three. The Bulldogs held again as the entire Royse City defense converged on a hapless running attempt for loss of three and the Bulldogs took over on downs.

Both teams then squared off, measured each other’s punches and then butted heads. With 5:21 to play in the first quarter, Elijah Butler found a seam and slipped through to race for a 38 yard touchdown. Roan kicked the extra point as Sherman’s lead extended to 14-7.

Sherman’s defense picked up a Bulldog fumble on the Royse City 18 yard line, but the Royse City defense held for three downs inside the nine yard line and forced the Bearcats to boot a 24 yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

The Bulldogs still found themselves with a case of the nerves and with 1:25 remaining in the first quarter, Sherman’s Tre Mask intercepted Bulldog quarterback Wes Brookshire’s’ pass and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown. Roans point after made it 24-7 Sherman.

Royse City’s defense continued to put pressure on Sherman as Damion Foster was making one armed tackles in the backfield and James Gilbert kept the pressure on Bearcat quarterback Gus Daniel.

Finally that pressure and those hits took effect and jarred the ball loosed from a Sherman runner. Gilbert then picked up the fumble and it was his turn to return one in for a touchdown. Gilbert’s rambling run was 38 yards long with a nifty move or two along the way. With 7:41 remaining in the second quarter the bleeding had stopped and the Bulldogs were back in the game trailing 24-14 following Pollock’s extra point kick.

But Sherman is a great football team and threatening to repeat as the District 13-4A Champion. Royse City’s ensuing failed onside kick attempt game the Bearcats a first and ten at the Bulldog 47 yard line and Braylon Mitchell had just enough speed to break loose on a touchdown run on the first play of that possession. Roan’s kick gave Sherman a 31-14 lead at the 7:04 mark of the second period.

Sherman repeated one more time before the half would end when receiver Ryan Reid found himself wide open and all alone on a 62 yard touchdown pass from Daniel. With 4:51 remaining in the second quarter the Bearcats had taken a commanding 38-14 lead.

Normally you will find teams lying down at this point, but that was far from what the Royse City Bulldogs had in mind. Their mind was set on coming back and winning this game. And two minutes later the Bulldogs turned to the toe of Sean Pollock to boot a 32 yard field goal and the first half ended with a 38-17 score.

The graduating class of 1961 celebrated their 50th anniversary in the comfort of the third floor of the stadium press box. 90 year old Nettie Rose Patterson was the Royse City High School 1939 Homecoming Queen and she returned to her alma mater to escort her great granddaughter, Jolee Patterson as a member of the Homecoming Court of Queen candidates. And Chelsey Snow brought wide smiles to her mom and dad, as well as her fellow cheerleader squad members, as she was announced as the 2011 Royse City High School Homecoming Queen.

With all of that halftime excitement, there was only one thing left to do and that was for Royse City to make a dramatic second half comeback and they began to do that when the Bulldogs drove 34 yards in 4 plays to open the scoring for the second half. Wes Brookshire laid the fade pass into the hands of Michael Webb from 15 yards out, for the touchdown. The extra point kick however was a rare miss, as the Bulldogs trailed 38-23 at the 6:26 mark of the third period.

Sherman responded three minutes later when Daniel hooked up with Jordan Hume on a 36 yard touchdown pass. The extra point gave Sherman a 45-23 lead.

Royse City came right back at the Bearcats. Driving relentlessly on what was expected to be an 80 yard touchdown scoring drive, however Sherman picked off the anticipated pass in the end zone and stopped a much needed score as the third period ended.

The drive and the period ended, but the drive within the Bulldogs did not end. Even though Sherman scored on a 35 yard touchdown pass on the second play of the final period, the Bulldogs answered with a 37 yard touchdown pass from Brookshire to Jared Tumbleson with 10:30 to play in the game.

The Bearcats went three and out as the Bulldog defense continued to pound Sherman’s huge offensive line. Royse City then drove 81 yards in 10 plays capped off with a 6 yard touchdown pass from Brookshire to Michael Webb. The two point conversion failed, but the 52-36 score was whittling away at the Sherman lead with still 5:28 to play in the game.

Another three and out and the Bulldogs were driving to try and get to within a one touchdown lead of Sherman.

A 42 yard pass completion to Jake Horbacz was the shot that the Bulldogs needed to achieve their seemingly insurmountable goal of the comeback. However a penalty and a sack by Sherman forced a last second throw up for grabs. Sherman grabbed that toss and then raced 69 yards to close out the scoring in the game and stop the Bulldog comeback effort.

So the story is always better than the cover and the title. Each chapter showed the Bulldogs clawing their way back to the top, but the untimely events caused by the turnovers kept them from completely rewriting this story to be ending that Royse City wanted.

Royse City needs to win two of its next three games to lock in a playoff position this season. Greenville away, Mount Pleasant at home and Sulphur Springs away is the remaining schedule and the Bulldogs certainly have a chance of continuing into post season play.

The game this Friday at Greenville is scheduled for a 7:30 kickoff.