GAVEN DAWLEY

Commerce defensive back Gaven Dawley disrupts a potential touchdown catch at Riverside. The Tigers end the regular season at home vs. George Walton Academy. 

The Commerce Tigers are coming off a 31-point win over Riverside Military Academy, and now the regular-season finale is in their sights. 

The Tigers (7-2, 3-1 Region 8-A North) will host the region cross-over game Nov. 8. They welcome in a familiar foe, too, as Commerce welcomes George Walton Academy (6-3, 2-2 Region 8-South). 

This is the first matchup between the programs since 2017. Commerce leads the all-time series 5-3. 

"Very well-coached football team," head coach Michael Brown said of GWA. "Kids play with great effort, and very fundamentally sound."

He also described the Bulldogs as a "physical" football team, which hits close to home for Commerce. 

"I told our team (Sunday) in a lot of ways they look like us," Brown said. "They're very disciplined. They don't make a lot of mistakes."

George Walton runs the Wing-T offense, and Brown says the group is "very, very good" at executing its plays. 

"They have the capability, kind of like us, of controlling the ball and limiting possessions," Brown said. "They do a good job of running their offense without mistakes, so they don't have a lot of negative plays."

George Walton has scored 30 or more points in five of its six wins. The offense is averaging over 31 points per game in 2019.

The Tigers haven't seen the Wing-T in 2019. One of the similarities to Commerce is both offenses are systematic. 

"They're going to take what we give, so to speak," Brown said. "I told our kids that it comes down to blocking, tackling and running. We've got to be able to out-execute them in terms of performing on blocks and defeating blocks.

"If you have one of those nights where you have a lot of mistakes or 'busted' assignments, then it's not going to end well."

On defense, the Bulldogs have players who corral around the ball quickly, Brown added. The defense is holding teams to 18 points per game, but in all three losses has allowed 28 or more points.

"They're physical," he said. "They're just a very good football team." 

Commerce has scored 42 or more points in all seven wins so far in 2019. The defense has held the opponents to 21 points or less in all seven wins.

"We're getting better each week," Brown said. "There's no doubt. Both sides of the ball, special teams, we've made improvements on a weekly basis.

"Kids seem to be very focused right now and attentive. We'll need a very good week of practice. Our scout teams are really important right now. The looks that we're getting offensively and defensively have been really good the last couple of weeks. That's a big part of being able to perform on Friday nights. So, everybody's got a role on this team, and hopefully the kids are bought in. I think they are. We'll need a great week of practice." 

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