COMMERCE — The phone rang and Commerce answered the wakeup call.
A touchdown by Chelsea narrowed a Tiger lead to four points in the third quarter, but a pair of touchdowns helped propel them to a 30-6 victory here Friday, Nov. 13.
The play-in round game bumped Commerce’s record to 6-4 and moved them into a date next week at Woodland.
The Tigers had beaten Chelsea (3-5) 40-18 earlier in the season.
“The old saying is it’s hard to beat someone twice. It got to 10-6 in the third quarter when they scored (on a 21-yard tight end dump pass). I think our boys went ‘OK,’” head coach Steve Moss said. “You worry about 15 to 18 year old kids — ‘we’ve already beat these guys, we don’t have to worry about it. We’ve got them’
“And then all of a sudden, it was 10-6 and I was like ‘uh-oh, we’ve got a ballgame here.’ I think that is what I am worried most about that age is they put too much stock in ‘we’ve already beat them once,’ so all that means is they are highly motivated and we are less motivated. That always scares me.”
Touchdowns by Eric Cunningham on a 32-yard run and a 3-yard carry by Lance Hyatt pushed the Tiger lead to 23-6.
Josh Thronebury added a 9-yard run in the fourth.
“We didn't come out of the gate very good but it’s good to get a win at this time of the year and move on, however it happens,” Moss said.
The Tigers marched down the field early in the game and stalled, then opted for a 27-yard field goal by Ethan Myers.
In addition to the field goal, Myers was successful on three of his four extra point attempts.
“A few weeks ago at Oklahoma Union, they beat us 10-0 and we could have scored late, but had a penalty. That field goal they kicked was huge,” Moss said. “A field goal can make all kind of a difference this time of year.”
The shutout was the first of the season for Commerce.
“The defense did a great job,” Moss said. “Coach (John) Medlin and Coach (Terry) Tyree have been doing great with that. Oklahoma Union — to give those guys 10 points — has probably been averaging well above 30 or close to 40.”
Chelsea had only 130 yards, including 41 rushing.
Defensive leaders included Aiddenn Vanatta with three tackles and 10 assists, Thronebury with five tackles and seven assists and Kolby Dean, who added three tackles and seven assists.
Thronebury and Cunningham each recovered a fumble while Jose Ramirez had an interception.
Commerce rolled up 404 yards in total offense, including 357 rushing.
Cunningham led the way with 200 yards and his two touchdowns on 12- carries.
Thronebury finished with 83 yards on 13 attempts.
The Tigers had only 47 yards passing as Hyatt, Gannon Reece and Cunningham combined for only four completions.
Ty Jauert had half of that, netting 35 yards.