Snap streak

Tigers claim first district win

Story by TJ Wall and Anna Grace Jones

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The Texas High Tigers claimed their first district win of the regular season against the Sherman Bearcats with a score of 27-14. This critical victory allows the Tigers to remain in contention for the fourth and final spot in the playoff bracket.

The first quarter started off quickly with a 61-yard touchdown run up the gut by running back Tracy Cooper to get the Tigers an early 7-0 lead.

Sherman then had the opportunity to respond with a score of their own. Texas High’s defense stood firm, forcing Sherman to go three and out.

Solid defensive play by the Tigers allowed another successful showing by the offense. Quarterback Rian Cellers passed to defensive lineman Clayton Smith, playing at receiver, for a 42-yard touchdown, making the score 13-0 after a failed extra point attempt.

On the Bearcats’ next offensive attempt, they drove downfield to the Texas High 42 yard line where they then fumbled, giving the Tigers possession. Unfortunately, the Tigers could not capitalize and were forced to punt after three plays. 

After a couple of uneventful drives, the Bearcats’ Benji Omayebu caught a 29-yard pass for a touchdown, making the score 13-7.

Texas High then marched down the field with intent. However, a potential scoring play turned into a touchback on an interception by Sherman defensive back Aaron Ingram.

The Bearcats, in an attempt to score before the half, had multiple successful plays which led to a field goal attempt to close out the second quarter. Tigers’ defensive back Marquavious Fisher blocked the Bearcats’ last-second field goal attempt, keeping the score the same.

Omayebu started off the second half with a kickoff return to the Texas High 29 yard line. Disappointingly for Sherman, the Tigers’ defensive linemen, Jaylen Green and Trestin Whitehead, came up with a key sack on third down, leading to a failed fourth down conversion on an errant throw.

After another failed offensive drive for both teams, Texas High came close to scoring once more until Ingram notched his second interception of the night in the end zone. Shortly after, Sherman quarterback Tate Bethel passed to Elijah Chapman for a 50-yard touchdown giving the Bearcats the narrow 14-13 lead for the rest of the third quarter.

To begin the fourth and final quarter with a bang, Cellers threw a 49 yard touchdown pass to receiver Kobe Webster, giving the Tigers a 20-14 lead. 

After the Tigers’ defense forced yet another Sherman punt, their offense kept the drive going long enough to waste precious seconds off the clock, leaving the Bearcats’ with less time to score at the end.

With around 3:30 left in the quarter, Sherman received the ball for their final offensive attempt with a chance to win the game. The Bearcats’ hopes, however, would be cut short with a pick six by defensive back Caleb Arnold to secure a 27-14 victory for the Tigers. 

“I had to do it for the team, and if it weren’t for the dudes on defense, I wouldn’t have had [the chance],” Arnold said. “I came in clutch for the team.”

One of the significant factors in this game was the return of Cellers. In his absence, sophomore Brayson McHenry took the reigns of the offense. 

“People were telling me that [Brayson McHenry] did good. I watched the film, and on the film I saw, he didn’t look bad,” said Cellers. “I’m going to work on staying in the pocket more and trying to find my receivers. We executed more plays that we needed to, and that kept us in the ball game.”

Coming off of a three game losing streak, the Tigers look to keep it rolling in hopes of a potential playoff berth. 

“I think this is a repeat of the beginning of the season,” Smith said. “We have this momentum, and we’re going to keep it going into the post season.”

Next week the Tigers have a break which will likely be used as an extra period of preparation for the final two games of the regular season. These upcoming games are vital, must-win games if the Tigers hope to make a playoff run.

“I think our effort was an A+. That’s the best effort we’ve given in about three weeks. It wasn’t necessarily a pretty game but a hard fought game. It really paid off for them,” head coach Gerry Stanford said. “This was a confidence [building] game. This game gives us a chance. We’ve got two more games, and both of those are must win games.”

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