Commerce had little trouble scoring in 2016. They scored at least 40 points in seven games and shut out three others. They finished 7-2 in Region 8-A with a 42-30 win over Athens Academy, and 21-14 losses to Athens Christian and Prince Avenue Christian.
The schedule is also favorable for the Tigers. They get all three Athens-area opponents in Commerce.
“The competition here is outstanding. You know when you’re a Region 8 team they’re going to be well-coached, they’re going to be disciplined and they’re going to give you fits in terms of scheme,” coach Michael Brown said.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Tigers miss the Class A Public playoffs, especially after the consistent and deep runs they’ve made recently. Commerce returns most of its defensive starters, but have just three coming back on the offensive side. They travel to Banks County for the home opener.
NEED TO KNOW
Two of the three offensive starters returning – Cade Ridley and Levi Pate – play on the offensive line. They also return Kyrie Ware at wide receiver. Brown didn’t count Dylan Deaton towards the returning starter number, but Deaton did see some playing time on offense at halfback last season.
“It’s going to take a while to find out who we are on that side of the ball,” Brown said.
Brown feels like they generally have more depth.
“We feel like our backups are quality backups,” he said. “There are several positions where we’re two and three deep and the backups are very close to the starters. We’ve got more depth at positions than we’ve had in the past.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cody Ridley, DL, Sr.
Dajuan Wood, CB/RB, Sr.
LAST FIVE SEASONS
Michael Brown, now in his fifth season, led the Tigers to back-to-back Class A Public state semifinal appearances in 2014 and 2015. They made quarterfinals in 2016.
Aug. 25: at Banks County
Sept. 1: Hebron Christian Academy*
Sept. 8: vs. Lakeview Academy*
Sept. 22: vs. Athens Christian*
Sept. 29: vs. Prince Avenue Christian*
Oct. 6: at Providence Christian*
Oct. 13: vs. Riverside Military*
Oct. 20: at Towns County*
Oct. 27: vs. Athens Academy*
Nov. 3: at George Walton Academy*