COMMERCE - Mitchell Crittenden likes how his Commerce Tigers are beginning to surge.

The Tigers, who dropped their first two games of the season, shoot for a fourth straight Friday night when they entertain Fairland in a District A-7 clash.

“I have been with some teams that started fast and falter at the end when the playoffs start and others who were slow starters,” Crittenden said. “I would much rather be a slow starter and finish strong.”

Commerce suffered back-to-back losses to Colcord and Tulsa Lincoln Christian - teams with a combined 9-1 record.

“We had some injuries early and the kids were trying to grasp what we wanted to do,” Crittenden said. “We didn't respond well early to adversity. Hopefully, we learned something from it.”

The Tigers beat Kansas for their first win, and have chalked up wins against district foes Quapaw and Afton since then.

Senior fullback James Sullivan had 231 yards and three touchdowns to lead CHS past Afton 33-14.

“We wanted to get better each week and we have,” Crittenden said. ‘We made a lot of strides the first two weeks. Our kids are smart. They have been successful and after those first two weeks, they knew things weren't right. They took steps to correct it. That is a tribute to them.

“My assistant coaches (Willie Ng, Steve Moss and Tom Fenderson) have done a great job, especially on the defensive side of the ball. It's been great.”

Fairland routed the Colcord JV 35-6 last Thursday to improve to 2-3 overall. They suffered a 34-18 loss to Ketchum in their lone A-7 outing.

“They have been up and down,” Crittenden said. “They are real basic on offense and defense, but Coach Thomas (Fairland head coach Choo Thomas) is just trying to give them an opportunity to win. Nowadays, it's real easy to fall into that ‘let's do some crazy stuff' kinda thing. They are doing the right thing over there.”