Jaiden Daniels

Jaiden Daniels leaves a defender on the ground behind him during Commerce's victory over Mount Paran on Sept. 24. The freshman rushed for over 200 yards Friday (Oct. 1) in the Tigers win over Greene County.

Commerce picked up its first Region 8-A Public win and first road won of the season Friday (Oct. 1) at green County behind an outstanding effort from the running game.

The Tigers won 35-7 behind a 395-yard effort from their trio of running backs. Jaiden Daniels led the way with 220 yards and three touchdowns, he also had one interception on defense. Dreylan Martin added 118 yards with another score while Jackson Morris rushed for 87 yards, scored one touchdown and picked off two passes as a defender.

“It was a good team effort,” said head coach Mark Hollars “I think {Daniels] would be the first to tell you, the guys in front of him and the backs that are blocking are really opening up some holes for him. Dreylan and Jaiden will both tell you it’s a total team effort. They’re really all working together and we’re getting better.

“I really like the way the kids are playing for each other, that’s what it’s all about. Whether you’re on special teams, offense or defense, the way this game works best is by playing for each other where everyone is doing their job.”

Penalties kept Commerce (3-2, 1-0 Region 8-A Public) from scoring on its opening possession. Three penalties to be exact, totaling 35 yards. The last penalty being a 15-yarder which whipped off a 20-yard run by Morris.

The Tigers cleaned up the offense on its second possession and hit Greene County (3-3, 0-1 Region 8-A Public) with a heavy dose of Jaiden Daniels. The freshman carried the ball on four of the Tigers’ six plays, gaining 32 yards. He finished with a five-yard plow into the end zone. Commerce led 7-0 early in the second quarter.

Commerce committed its first error of the game on its next possession in the form of a fumbled handoff. Greene County recovered but they didn’t hold on to the ball for long as Morris intercepted his first pass of the game two plays later.

Daniels responded with a 61-yard touchdown run to extend the Tigers’ lead to 14-0. He reached the end zone one more time with a nine-yard carry shortly before halftime to give Commerce a 21-0 lead at the break.

“We had a really good second quarter,” Hollars said. “We came out on that first drive and really moved the ball, but we had a lot of penalties on that first drive. In the second quarter, we settled down and scored three touchdowns. It was good to see.

“The defense did a really nice job in the first half and kept them off the board. It was good complementary football. They’ve got some good athletes and were doing some things well. I thought our defense played really well.”

A second Tiger fumble led to a Greene County touchdown early in the third quarter and Commerce missed a fourth-down conversion deep in Greene County territory in its next drive. The lead was down to 21-7 midway through the quarter.

Daniels swung the momentum back in his team’s favor with an interception at the Greene County 27-yard line. Martin rushed into the end zone on the Tigers’ next play to extend the lead to 28-7 early in the fourth quarter.

Morris made his second interception of the game on Greene County’s ensuing possession. He ended the following Commerce drive with a 19-yard touchdown run which set the final score at 35-7.

Commerce has now won two straight games following a 1-2 start to the season which included multi-score losses to Pickens and Elbert County. Hollars partially attributed his team’s recent outings to finally getting into a football rhythm, something they were unable to do through the cancellation and rescheduling of two games.

“I think that really matters,” he said. “You want to get in a routine. The kids know what to expect when you have a game each week. The bottom line is we’re improving. We lost to a good Pickens team and a good Elbert County team and we felt strongly that those were good football teams and we were better for playing them. That helped sharpen us.

“I think our kids responded well after the challenge of playing those schools. Give the kids credit, they’re coming put working each week to get better.”

Commerce looks for its second region win of the season next Friday on the banks of Lake Chatuge at Towns County High School.


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