THE PARENTS, BROTHERS, SISTERS, GIRLFRIENDS,
teachers, former players and other supporters surrounded the
Commerce players near midfield after the buzzer sounded on
the 28-7 loss to Irwin County in last year’s state semifinals.
Defensive lineman Brevin Knox was at the center of the
huddle. The senior standout gave the last post-game speech
of such a successful season.
The Tigers ( 10-3) broke it down and then the tears came out.
Quarterback Caleb Brooks crouched down and let the
There was fog and a slight drizzle.
Grown men were crying just as hard as the teenagers
who led by seven at halftime and saw a chance to play in
the Georgia Dome for the state title erased by a dominant
second-half performance by the Indians (11-1-1).
Knox walked off to let the moment sink in for a couple minutes.
And then he came back to the huddle and smiled at his boys.
“Hey, we made it,” Knox yelled. “Y’all quit the crying. We
did it. We made it to December.”
That was the goal set back in the spring — get back to
It had been six seasons since the Tigers last played in
the state semifinals. It had been that long since Commerce,
used to so much winning under coaches Ray Lamb and Steve
Savage for all those years, won 10 games in a season.
So Knox wanted to make sure everybody knew — Com-
merce did it.
And there’s plenty of reasons to believe the Tigers will
keep doing it, too.
Brooks, who scored the first touchdown of the game and
directs the option offense with absolute authority, returns for
a senior season. So does dangerous receiving threat J’varius
Wood and talented defensive back TreVonta Williford. Imposing fullback Will Thomas and two-way star Cole Chancey have
two more years of eligibility left.
So while Commerce’s players were dismayed by not
earning one more week of play this December, there’s a good
chance they’ll be back for redemption in 364 days. These
talented young players have now been on a deep playoff run.
And they’re already hungry for another.
“This was a special season, but we’re not satisfied,”
Brooks said. “We’re not where we wanted to be. We wanted
to go to the Dome.”
That’s why there were so many tears in the aftermath.
As the huddle broke up for the last time and each player found
somebody to hug, Knox gave his final parting words of advice.
“Y’all keep working hard, man.”
COMMERCE RETURNS PLENTY OF TALENT
Above: Commerce returned
to glory in 2014, winning 10
games for the first time in six
seasons and advancing to the
Left: Quarterback Caleb
Brooks returns for his senior
season to direct the Tigers’
QB Lian Welch, Aquinas
RB Andrew Lee, Charlton County
RB Lyn-J Dixon, Taylor County
RB Lofton Tidwell, Landmark Christian
WR Lorenzo Smothers, Marion County
WR Kordell Braxton, Brookstone
OL Robert Kraeling, Prince Avenue
OL Reed Kroeber, Fellowship Christian
OL Stephen Bedosky, Landmark Christian
OL Chandler Reeves, Eagle’s Landing Christian
OL Carter Canaday, Stratford Academy
ATH Demetris Robertson, Savannah Christian
DL Chauncey Manac, Clinch County
DL Antonneous Clayton, Dooly County
DL Matt Walters, Pinecrest Academy
DL Will Evans, Aquinas
DL Christian Rodgers, Tattnall Square
LB Chase Burdette, Eagle’s Landing Christian
LB Ben Davis, Pacelli
LB D.J. Pollard, Irwin County
LB Jack Hardin, Fellowship Christian
DB DeAndre Bowman, Pacelli
DB Mikal Marble, Pacelli
ATH O’Showen Williams, Stratford Academy
1. Mount Paran
3. Marion County
5. Calvary Day