Bearcats take advantage of upper hand in special teams play
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 23, 2006 - Sherman got the better end of the special teams performances on Friday.

The Bearcats had a 55-yard kickoff return by Waymon James to start the second half, converted a fake punt into a 20-yard pass, recovered a kickoff that Sulphur Springs failed to cover and converted a fake extra point into a two-point conversion.

That doesn't even take into account that kicker Trent Deans hit all three field goals he tried, had four touchbacks on kickoffs and put two other kickoffs into the end zone that Sulphur Springs returned. All of those kicks came with Deans kicking north.

The strong south wind made kicks into that direction tough to hit, and it seemed the Wildcats were kicking into the wind the entire game, accounting for Jon Holt's 31.8-yard average on eight punts. Holt had been averaging over 41 yards per punt for the season.

KNOCK DOWN - Wildcat defensive linemen knocked down three passes at the line. Rodney Evans, Bill Hood and Tyler Francis all deflected passes from Sherman QB Matt Rome. ... Francis, DaMarcus Johnson and Tyler Higgins each had a tackle for a loss, and A.D. Miles recorded a sack, his first of the year. ... Linebacker Stefan Petty saw his first action of the season and had eight tackles. ... Eight penalties were called in the game - none on either teams' defense. All six of Sulphur Springs' penalties were assessed on the offense. Sherman was hit with two penalties for 15 yards, both on the same drive.

COMING UP - The Wildcats have a bye next week to try to get four defensive players healthy who were not suited up for Friday's game, and to regroup from Friday's performance. They will host Texarkana Liberty-Eylau in the pre-district finale on Oct. 6. ... L-E (3-1), rated in the Top 5 in Class 3A in most polls, was beaten by defending state champion Wimberley on Friday, 35-7. ... On Friday, Sulphur Springs' best starting field position for its 10 offensive series was its own 33-yard line. ... Seven of Sherman's possessions started at its own 45 or better.

AROUND THE DISTRICT - The Wildcats were the only District 11-4A team to lose on Friday. Texas High (4-0), rated either No. 1 or No. 2 in the state depending on the poll, overcame a 15-7 halftime deficit to beat Waxahachie 43-15; Paris (3-1) outscored Denison 28-22; Mount Pleasant (2-1) continued its surprising resurgence by edging Atlanta 17-14; North Lamar (3-1) continued its small school tour of East Texas by pounding Pleasant Grove 49-0; and Lindale (4-0) stayed unbeaten by whipping Canton 35-6.

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