HIAWASSEE — In 25 career meetings, Commerce had never lost to Towns County.
On Friday, the Indians were looking not just for its first-ever win over the Tigers, but to also show that they were ready to be a player in Region 8-A Public.
The Indians gave Commerce all it could handle before falling 28-20 in a game they led 8-0 early and were tied at 14 at halftime.
The early lead came on a 10-yard run from Kyle Oakes and was the first time the Indians had ever led the Tigers. The scoring play was set up the play before when Oakes fumbled, which was picked up by teammate Collin Crowder and taken to the Tigers 10.
Commerce (4-2, 2-0 Region 8-A Public) would eventually answer in the second quarter.
Dreylan Martin pulled the Tigers within 8-7 on a 2-yard TD run and after forcing a short Towns County punt, Trey Garnto capped a 46-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run for a 14-8 Tigers lead with 6:53 left in the first half.
Commerce forced another Indians punt but two plays later Garnto was stripped as he scrambled on a pass play with Towns County recovering. The Indians capped the short 19-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Connor Chastain to Oakes three plays later to tie the game.
Towns County (4-3, 0-2 Region 8-A Public) got the ball to start the second half but was stopped on downs after a fake punt attempt on fourth down. Commerce took advantage as Martin scored on a 34-yard run with 7:07 left in the third quarter for a 20-14 lead.
Towns County drove into Commerce territory on its next possession but again was forced to punt.
Martin struck again, rambling for a 47-yard run to set up his own 4-yard scoring run for a 28-14 lead early in the fourth quarter after a 2-point conversion.
The Tigers were poised to put the game away driving to the Indians 2 on their next drive. But Towns County forced a fumble on fourth down at the Indians two and Oakes returned to their own 27.
The Indians drove 73-yards after the fumble, capped by a 34-yard pass from Chastain to Oakes with 1:20 left to get within the final score.
Commerce sealed the win recovering the ensuing onside kick and running out the clock.
Freshman Jaiden Daniels had his second huge game in as many weeks for Commerce with 201 yards rushing. Martin finished with 144 yards for the Tigers.
Oakes, who came into the game leading Class A Public in rushing, finished with over 100 yards on the ground for the Indians.
Chastain finished 14-of-22 for 124 yards passing for Towns County.