In an important mid-season tilt between the two teams at the top of Region 8-A, Commerce traveled to Athens Christian and in a defensive slugfest the Tigers defeated the Eagles 10-7 to take control of the top spot in the region standings.
Commerce opened the game by fumbling on their second snap at the Tiger 34 with the Eagles claiming the pigskin there.
However, penalties against the host team along with a stout Commerce defense forced a 40 yard field goal try by the Eagle kicker which missed the mark leaving the game still scoreless.
Later in the second quarter, Tiger signal caller Caleb Brooks directed a quick Commerce drive to the AC 39 primarily behind the running of senior halfback Grant Mayberry.
Here, freshman fullback Knox Allen burst up the middle of the Eagle defense through a gaping hole and thundered to pay dirt from 39 yards out for the game’s initial score. Andres Salgado was true on the PAT kick for a 7-0 Tiger lead.
Midway through the second stanza, the Athens Christian coaching staff had punter Hardigree make an attempted run for the first down on a fake punt try but the effort fell short at the AC 42.
This error in strategy set up the Tigers in good field position at the AC 42 yard line.
In ten plays, the Tigers had marched for 32 yards to put themselves in field goal position at the Eagle ten yard line.
The highlight of the short drive was another fake punt run but this time by Tiger kicker J’varius Wood whose ten yard effort on fourth and four from the AC 36 extended the Tiger drive which eventually moved the Tigers down to the AC 10.
Salgado’s booming 27-yard field goal kick on the last play of the first half sent the Commerce team to their dressing quarters with a 10-0 lead at intermission.
Playing great defense for most of the game, Commerce thwarted the majority of the offensive efforts by the Eagles until midway of the fourth period when an AC back broke loose on an end sweep and skirted into the end zone from 35 yards out. With the successful PAT, the Tiger lead had now been cut to 10-7.
Later, following a Tiger punt to the Eagle 37, the Commerce defense stuffed three running efforts by AC for a gain of only two yards to force the third AC punt of the game out to the C16 with just over four minutes left in the game.
Here, the ball control offense of Coach Michael Brown kept the ball for the final 4:20, as the Commerce offensive line and hard running backs methodically moved the pigskin to the AC 23 where the game came to a close with Commerce winning the defensive struggle 10-7 and now putting the Tigers atop the region standings.
Commerce ended the game with 216 yards of total offense compared to 178 by Athens Christian.