COMMERCE — Current Commerce football coach Michael Brown was there the last time the Tigers and Greene County played.
“I was at the 1981 state championship game. I was 7-years-old and can clearly remember the game and the celebration afterwards. I remember Greene taking the field in a similar helmet as ours. The stadium was packed that night. I can remember the PA at the end of the game announcing Commerce as the 1981 state champs.”
There won’t be any titles on the line this time around when Greene County visits Tiger Stadium on Friday. It will be the first meeting between the two programs since that 1981 showdown.
However, it also will be the Region 8-A Public opener for both teams, which means the true playoff race finally will be under way. And it will be a far cry from any sort of championship game as both teams currently are headed in opposite directions.
Commerce (4-1, 0-0 Region 8-A Public) is ranked No. 4 in Class A Public and is starting to get its patented triple-option offense on track. Greene County (0-4, 0-0 Region 8-A Public) has struggled most of the season with freshmen and sophomores comprising more than half of a 60-man roster.
That meant very little to Brown and the Tigers.
“They are young but are well-coached and very talented,” Brown. “Greene has a top notch coaching staff under (head coach) Larry Milligan. They will be prepared for us; that plus the fact that they are extremely athletic in the skill positions.”
Commerce’s only blemish came at the hands of Class A Private No. 2-ranked and old Region 8-A foe Athens Academy (24-7) back on Sept. 18. Since then, the Tigers have unleashed their triple-option with 96 points. They hung 55 on Elbert County two weeks ago, the most the Blue Devils have allowed since they were touched for 59 by Stephens County in 2006.
Commrce now has three players with 373 yards rushing or more and four with 187 or more so far to make for a potent rushing attack. Dreylan Martin has 461 yards and 7 TDs; Sammy Brown has 375 yards and 7 TDs to go with 117 yards receiving with 2 TDs; quarterback Tre Huff has 373 yards and 4 TDs and has added 303 yards passing with 3 TD tosses. Tyelon Brock has 187 yards and 3 TDs rushing for the Tigers.
“We are making progress on a weekly basis,” Brown said. “Our offensive line has played well since the Banks County game. The biggest thing we are trying to do as a whole is eliminate busted assignments and improve our fundamentals.”
All that has led a steady climb up the rankings ladder as well. They will be a heavy favorite this week.
Green County has scored the 2nd-fewest points (16, 4.0 ppg) and has allowed the 7th-most points (167, 41.7 ppg) in Class A. Meanwhile, Commerce has given up just 93 points (18.6 ppg) and last week held Mount Paran to minus-12 yards rushing for the game.
“We really do not pay attention to rankings or things of that nature,” Brown said. “Our focus is always on identifying areas that need improvement and working on those during the practices during the week.”
At the halfway point, the Tigers are being mentioned in the state title conversation. Brown is not ready to discuss that just yet.
“I have always believed that if you can improve as a team for 10 weeks, then you should have a shot at winning a game or two (maybe more) in the playoffs. But state titles are hard to come by,” he said.