Commerce took care of all its scoring in the first half and then made way for the halftime homecoming festivities during a rout to open region play.
The Tigers (5-1, 1-0 Region 8-A Public) rolled to a 35-0 win over a shorthanded Greene County team on Friday (Oct. 16), working in most of their subs and B-teamers during a scoreless second half.
“We knew that Greene (County) had a lot of injuries coming into the game,” Commerce coach Michael Brown said. “We felt like we had enough work with our older guys in the first (half), and we started rotating in some other kids, and we got a lot of good work in the second half, so I was pleased with it."
Commerce produced touchdowns on its first four offensive possessions and also scored on a blocked punt in earning its third-straight win.
Sammy Brown led Commerce with 78 yards rushing and a touchdown on five attempts during a night that 11 different Tigers carried the ball.
Elijah Burns led Commerce defensively with eight tackles.
The game marked the first meeting between the two programs since the 1981 Class AA state title game, which Commerce won 28-14.
This contest, however, was much less competitive than the one played nearly four decades ago.
Sammy Brown scored from 16 yards out to cap Commerce’s first offensive possession, which lasted just two plays. The quick scoring drive was set up by short punt to the Greene County 24.
Michael Sherman then barreled from 10 yards out on the first play of the second quarter to extend the lead to 14-0.
Commerce scored on special teams shortly after that when Jack Fagan blocked a punt deep in Greene County territory and picked up the loose ball on the 2-yard line and scored, increasing the advantage to 21-0.
Elijah Burns added a 9-yard touchdown run, set up by a 33-yard run by Sammy Brown, to move the score to 28-0 with 3:42 left in the first half.
Commerce quarterback Trey Huff capped the first-half scoring barrage when he dropped back to pass, couldn’t find an open receiver, and scrambled for a 17-yard score with just over a minute left in the first half.
The Tigers then went deep into their bench in the second half.
“We needed to work some of those subs on the varsity, and we got about a quarter with them, and got about half of a quarter or a quarter with the JV guys, so we got some good work in, and I’m pleased with it,” Brown said.
Though the Tigers didn’t score in the second half, Commerce’s defense preserved the shutout. After Greene County (0-5, 0-1 Region 8-A Public) recovered a fumble on Commerce’s 11-yard line late in the third quarter, the Tiger defense forced a turnover on downs.
Commerce hosts region opponent Towns County next Friday (Oct. 23) at 8 p.m.
“I think we’ve gotten better each week," Brown said, "and I think the kids need to continue to focus on improvement, and focus on what we’re doing in practices Monday through Thursday and hopefully it will show on Friday."