COMMERCE — It almost has become their signature calling card in 2020.
After a nip-and-tuck first half, Commerce held Gordon Lee scoreless over the final 21:46 to pull away for a 28-14 victory in the second round of the Class A Public playoffs at Tiger Stadium.
It was the fourth straight game for the Tigers (11-1) where they were tied at halftime or early in the third quarter only to rev up their offense and get a lockdown defensive performance in the second half.
“The last few games we’ve been to come out in the second half and kind of go to a more ball-control offense and put the game in the hands of our (offensive line),” Commerce coach Michael Brown the WDUN Hardy Chevrolet Scoreboard Show after the game. “I thought this would be a 7-point game and it was most of the way. The kids did a great job of doing what they needed to do to get a win.”
The Tiger jumped on Gordon Lee quickly when sophomore quarterback Trey Huff scored on a 3-yard run to cap their second drive. But the Trojans answered even quicker when Nate Dunfee rambled 53-yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7.
In the second quarter the Tigers’ Dreylan Martin capped a long drive with a 2-yard touchdown run for a 14-7 lead they would take into halftime.
The Trojans’ Cade Peterson tied the game for a second time with a 4-yard scoring run with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
It was all Commerce after that.
Huff found Sammy Brown for a 34-yard TD pass, his only completion of the game, to reclaim the lead 21-14 for Commerce. Brown sealed it for the Tigers with an 11-yard touchdown with just over two minutes left.
Brown finished with 118 yards on 13 carries to lead Commerce. Martin had 93 yards on 15 carries for the Tigers.
Commerce will move into the quarterfinals to take on defending Class A Public state champion Irwin County next week at home. The two teams have history as the Indian knocked off the Tigers in a classic in 2018.
“(Irwin) is talented and their kids know how to win,” Brown said. “It should be a great game. It will be a big challenge. We have work to do to get ready for sure.”