Sherman head coach Chico Aleman was looking for confidence from his team and a break to go his way. On a chilly Tuesday night at Bearcat Stadium, he got that and then some from his Bearcats.
The Bearcats used a flurry of four second half goals to overcome a deficit and beat the Denison Yellow Jackets 5-2. It is Sherman’s first win in District 5-5A.
“We did a good job recovering after Denison went ahead,” Aleman said. “I’m glad we came out with the victory. We both needed this game because of how tight a district it is.”
Aleman credited his team’s ball movement that created scoring chances for the Bearcats. Sherman (3-6-5, 1-3-2), finished with 12 shots for the match and it was the aggressor in the first half. The Bearcats finally broke through in the 21st minute when senior defender Alex Duran got free inside the box and pushed it past Denison goalkeeper Osvaldo Delarosa.
The Bearcats, who finished the first half tied with Denton and are two points back of fourth-place Rider, would have one other strong chance late in the half as forward Gaven Dawson struck the crossbar on an outside shot. Sherman took a 1-0 lead into hal-ftime.
The Yellow Jackets (3-10-1, 0-6) responded quickly in the second half, scoring two goals within the first 10 minutes of from Jared Aguilar and Luke Altnether to put Denison ahead 2-1.
“I told the team at half-time just to go out and compete,” Denison head coach Scotty Voight said. “We were in places that we needed to be at times in the first half but just weren’t executing. We came out with good tempo in the second half as we were able to get even and got another one. The kids just kept working.”
But as in any rivalry, neither team back down quietly. Tensions flared in the second half after a foul and ensuing argument resulted in yellow cards for Sherman’s Sebastian Cienfuegos and Denison’s Aguilar. In some respects, that sequence helped get the Bearcats back going.
In the 60th minute, Sherman defender Eric Garcia-Quiroz headed a goal past Delarosa for the equalizer. About 40 seconds later, Bearcat midfielder Joel Nandin found his way through a crowd of bodies in the box to give Sherman the lead for good.
“It’s a long half,” Aleman said, “We’ve won and lost games right at the end. As long as they don’t put their heads down, they’re in the game. I knew we had a chance to come back and with the way they moved the ball well.”
Jose Carrizales added two goals of his own late to cap off a run of four unanswered goals to seal the victory.
“When things are going like that, you just have to make sure that you’re in position so that they’re not able to equalize,” Voight said. “Sherman did that and Chico does a good job on that side. We’ll have an opportunity to see them again so we’ll work on some things.”
Aleman also said that the win over their rival can help the team move forward into the second half of district play.
“We haven’t had the consistent offensive punch that we needed,” Aleman said. “Once they tied the game again, I saw their confidence level go up quickly. They came back, counter punched and got their confidence back. It’ll be another exciting game again when we play them there at their place.”