Commerce survives at Towns behind Martin’s three TDs [VIDEO]
In a game in which it seemed like the ball kept bouncing Towns County’s way, the Commerce Tigers survived a late comeback attempt in a 28-20 thrilling region win in Hiawassee. Dreylan Martin scored 3 times, while Jaiden Daniels racked up around 200 yards rushing for Commerce (4-2; 2-0 in 8-A).
Kyle Oakes also had 3 TDs for Towns (4-3; 0-2), as the Indians went up early but were outscored 28-12 the rest of the way. The Indians recovered a fumble near the goal line as it appeared they were about to go down 35-14. However, they turned it into points with a late TD to pull within 28-20. An onside kick attempt was unsuccessful.
Commerce had two first quarter TD runs called back by penalties, and on Towns’ first possession, Oakes fumbled on a 5-yard run that saw him eclipse 1,000 yards for the second straight season. The ball popped right into the hands of Collin Crowder, who rumbled 81 yards to the 10-yard line. Oakes then scored on the next play on a rushing TD. His 2-point try made it 8-0 Indians.
Commerce retaliated to open the second when Martin scored the first of his TDs from 2 yards out. A Trey Garnto 13-yard TD with 6:53 left in the half put the Tigers up 14-8. Just prior to halftime, Connor Chastain threw a screen pass to Oakes, who went 20 yards to the end zone to make it a 14-14 ball game. The play was huge, as it came on 4th down and after Chance Schmeltz had recovered a fumble.
Commerce scored with 7:07 left in the third on a 34-yard TD run by Martin that put the Tigers up for good at 20-14. Martin added a 2-yard dagger to lead off the fourth quarter, and a 2-point conversion by Jackson Morris had Commerce up 28-14. Daniels fumbled at the goal line, and the ball was scooped up by Dawson Barrett, who returned it for some solid yardage. That led to a Chastain passing TD to Oakes from 34 yards out with 1:20 left in the game. After recovering the onside kick try, Commerce was able to kneel out the clock.