As the weather gets cooler, the Commerce Tigers seem to be getting warmer.
After a 2-5 start in a grueling early-season schedule, Commerce players are now reveling in a winning streak for the first time all year.
Commerce (4-5, 3-2) heads into Friday’s regular season finale seeking its third-straight win following consecutive wins over Lakeview Academy and Social Circle.
“We were fired up,” Tiger senior Chase Bowen said after the Social Circle game. “We needed back-to-back wins. We hadn’t had that all season. We had a real good game tonight (Friday) and we’re excited about that.”
The 21-7 victory over Social Circle moved the Tigers into third place in Region 8-A and gave Commerce its 12th win in 14 tries over Social Circle.
“Aw, man, I was really proud of them,” Tiger coach Steve Savage said. “It was a big win ... They just kept fighting all night and finally got something going.”
The Tigers hope to keep those things going Friday night as they take on a Prince Avenue (3-5-1, 1-4) team that nearly upset Commerce last fall.
“They’ve got a real good tailback, got two big tackles that block well and play pretty good defense,” Savage said. “They gave us problems last year, and it’s almost the same football team.”
A win would move Commerce to 5-5. It’s rare that Savage looks fondly at the prospect of a .500 record, but considering the schedule Commerce has played, a 5-5 campaign would certainly have its merits.
“I never thought I would say 5-5 would be good, but it’s really good for this football team,” Savage said. “We played some good teams early and knew it was going to be tough.”
The 20th-year coach also notes the significance of closing out the regular season strong.
“If we can get this one, we’ve got ourselves on a roll at the right time of the year,” Savage said.
And that time of the year would be the state playoffs.
In addition to a .500 record, a victory Friday night would secure Commerce a no. 3 seed out of the region.
That would — in all likelihood — pit the team against Region 7-A no. 2 seed Wilkinson County.
But the Tigers were only thinking about Prince Avenue and extending their winning streak following the victory over Social Circle.
“We’re just going to take it one game at a time, come out here in practice, get a good game plan in and try to pick up another victory,” running back Deon Orsborne said.
Bowen echoed those statements nearly verbatim.
“We just take it one week at a time here at Commerce,” he said. “We take it one week at a time, one game at a time.”