The Commerce Tigers’ season came to an end in the Round of 16 Friday night at Ray Lamb Stadium.
The Charlton County Indians (9-2) scored 35-unanswered points including 23 third-quarter points to down the Tigers 42-14.
Commerce (8-3) was led by Easley Smith’s 71 rushing yards and both Tiger touchdowns. Caleb Mason added 79 rushing yards on nine carries. The Indians’ defense held the Tigers to 178 total yards. The Tigers also lost one fumble.
The Indians’ offense overcame 91 yards in penalties and totaled 521 yards (254 rushing, 267 passing). Quarterback AJ Bell accounted for one rushing touchdown and 110 yards. He also passed for 267 yards and one passing touchdown. Raykwon Anderson rushed 15 times for 73 yards and three scores. Wide receiver Seaquon Clark caught 12 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown. Brantley Sloan caught five passes for 52 yards.
The offense also amassed 22 first downs vs. the Tigers’ nine.
Both teams’ first possession resulted in punts. But it was the Tigers who made the most of the second possessions. First, a Sloan fumble was recovered by the Tiger defense at their own 45-yard line. Nine plays later, the drive ended with a Smith one-yard plunge for a 7-0 lead with 4:21 left in the first quarter.
The Indians’ next possession stalled, and after back-to-back unsportsmanlike penalties, the offense gave way to the punt team; however, the Tigers’ special teams muffed the punt and the Indians took full advantage with the new life as Anderson rushed four-straight plays and found the end zone from a yard away with 11:56 left in the second quarter. The Tigers led 7-6 after a missed extra point.
After another Tigers’ punt, the Indians’ offense started to roll, picking up three first downs in seven plays. A drive that started on their own 3-yard line ended with Anderson’s second touchdown of the night and a 12-7 lead with 4:26 left in the second quarter.
The lead remained the same at halftime.
After the Tigers started the second half with a three and out, the Indians’ offense continued its hot play, going 71 yards in nine plays. The result was like the previous touchdowns, Anderson into the end zone. After a successful 2-point conversion, the Indians led 20-7 with 8:14 left in the third quarter.
On the next possession, the Indians faced fourth-and-goal from the Tiger 21-yard line. Instead of opting for a field goal, the Indians went for it on the legs of Bell, who found the end zone on a quarterback draw. Another successful 2-point conversion bumped the Indians’ lead to 28-7 with 4:29 left in third quarter.
The Indians’ third-quarter assault wasn’t finished. The Indians’ next possession covered 52 yards in eight plays. It ended with a Bell-to-Clark 10-yard touchdown with 1:04 left in the quarter. The lead was 35-7.
The Tigers responded with a 13-play drive. The drive ended with Smith’s second touchdown from a yard out to cut the lead to 35-14 with 6:36 left in the game.
The Indians’ final touchdown came with 4:44 left in the game as Michael Elliott scored from 40 yards away.