COMMERCE — It was a blue-collar win for the Commerce Tigers.
Needing two touchdowns in the final 4:02 to put the game away, the Tigers ground out a 34-6 District A-6 win over Fairland here Friday, Oct. 5.
“It was 21-6 with five minutes left in the game, so it wasn’t a blowout,” Commerce head coach Steve Moss said. “We got a couple touchdowns late, but they gave us fits for a while. The Fairland kids played hard.
“A win is a win, but it wasn’t a real pretty one.”
“We can say six plays probably defined the ballgame,” Fairland coach Kent Marshall said.
Commerce (4-2, 3-0) was up 7-6 after one and 21-6 through 44 minutes of play.
But a 10-yard run by Ryan Dunbar and Salvador Martinez’ PAT kick at 4:04 gave the Tigers some breathing room.
They finally put the game away with a 22-yard scamper by Chris Ibarra about 2:30 later.
“We struggled more in the no-huddle than we like to, so we finally told them to huddle up (running the I) and we started moving the ball a lot better,” Steve Moss said.
The Tiger defense limited Fairland to just one touchdown and 172 yards in total offense.
“The defense played well,” Steve Moss said. “The TD they got was on a fake punt. They caught us off guard and had good field position.”
The Owls capped the drive off with a 2-yard run by Jamal Morris with 37 seconds left in the opening frame.
A run on the conversion failed, leaving CHS with a 7-6 advantage.
The Tigers got a couple quick momentum-changing scores in the second frame when Caden Pickard had a 54-yard interception return on a fourth-down gamble and Ibarra exploded on a 74-yard touchdown run.
“We tried to do everything we could to stay aggressive with them,” Marshall said.
Hayden Moss tacked on the extra point both times to give Commerce its 21-6 halftime advantage.
“In the second quarter, we were driving to get a second touchdown to take the lead and have a bad snap, lost 7. The next play, we had a sack.
“We would start something and it would either be a snap or drop the ball — something where we self-destructed.”
Ibarra had a season-best 185 yards rushing on nine carries with a pair of touchdowns.
This was his fourth 100-yard-plus game and he’s logged 744 yards on the season.
Dunbar had 16 carries for 95 yards and one touchdown.
Hayden Moss completed only 6 of 20 passes for 37 yards.
He only had 13 yards against Colcord last week. By comparison, he had 1,014 yards through five games a year ago.
“We have to find a couple receivers that want to stand up and just say ‘all right, we’re going to be the guys that are going to go get the football,’” Steve Moss said. “It’s Week 6 and we should have those guys already, but we are still looking.
“We lost some good receivers, but we’ve got to be able to throw the football if we want to go deeper in the playoffs. We can run the ball with the best of them, but people will stack the box on us if we can’t find somebody to catch the football.”
Ibarra had three receptions for 19 yards, Dunbar two for 14 and Oscar Guttierez one for 4 yards.
Brandon Kelley logged three solo and eight assisted tackles to head up the CHS defense.
Dunbar added three solos and seven assists.
Morris finished with 87 yards on 17 carries for Fairland (2-3, 1-2).
Four other Fairland backs ran the ball 20 times and finished 4 yards in the hole.
Braxton Jones completed 5 of 14 passes for 89 yards with one interception.
Cole Cawlfield had two receptions while Ahkay Steers and Thatcher Smalley caught one each for 15 and 8 yards.
“We got every ounce of what we asked from our kids,” Marshall said.
Fairland travels to Afton and Commerce hosts Oklahoma Union on Friday, Oct. 12.