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Turnovers key for Rockwall-Heath vs. Sherman

ROCKWALL-HEATH (11-1) vs. SHERMAN (9-3)

2 p.m. Saturday at UNT's Apogee Stadium

What: Class 4A Division I Region II semifinals game

When we saw them last: Rockwall-Heath made easy work of Dallas Kimball, 38-6, on the shoulders of freshman running back Rico Henderson. Sherman looked impressive in taking down Waxahachie, 38-35, with help from two fourth-quarter turnovers by the Indians.

Last in the playoffs: Sherman’s season came to an end in the area round at the hands of Trevone Boykin and West Mesquite, 55-34, at Cowboys Stadium. Rockwall-Heath made a quick exit in 2009, losing to Frisco Liberty 49-35 in the bi-district round.

When they last met: These two met in the first game of the 2009 season with Sherman coming out on top 40-31. Sherman made a late rally, scoring 33 points in the second half to blow past the Hawks. Sherman nearly doubled up over Rockwall-Heath in total yards with 429.

What’s at stake: The winner will play Tyler John Tyler (10-3) in the 4A state quarterfinals.

Key matchup: Rockwall-Heath must not turn the ball over. Sherman’s six-game win streak is due mostly to its plus-12 differential through its last four games of the season, including two key turnovers at the end of the area-round game against Waxahachie. Rockwall-Heath is a plus-15 for the entire season but has many multiple turnover games that became washes from an equal amount of opponent turnovers. The Hawks also got a boost from a plus-5 turnover game against Rockwall earlier this year. Rockwall-Heath has suffered from fumbles throughout the season but recovered many of its own.

Players to watch: Rockwall-Heath’s biggest playmaker has to be WR Amaris Fields. Heath will run a constant stream of running plays, setting up one play-action pass play to free him up past the defensive secondary for a home-run touchdown pass from quarterback Cody Court. Fields is also a threat in the kick return game. After splitting time with Torey Long, quarterback Gus Daniel separated himself as Sherman’s starter, throwing for 11 touchdowns as a traditional pocket passer. Once the ball leaves his hands, it’s spread out among a platoon of receivers and rushers. WR J.T. Luper leads the team in scoring with seven touchdowns.

Prediction: Sherman 34, Rockwall-Heath 27