IRWINTON--The Wilkinson County Warriors proved to be as fast as advertised -- and then some.
Small but speedy tailback Immanual Shinholster ripped off touchdown runs of 60 and 75 yards as the Warriors bumped the Commerce Tigers from the first round of the playoffs with a 21-7 win.
The loss ends the Tigers' season at 5-6, their first losing campaign since 1992.
Commerce traveled two and a half hours down Hwy. 441 for the playoff matchup and fell behind 21-0 in the third quarter before trying to rally late.
Deon Orsborne scored the Tigers' lone touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but Commerce turned the ball over on its next drive and Wilkinson County ran the clock out from there.
The Warriors move on to face Gordon Lee in the second round of the playoffs next Friday, while Commerce exits the playoffs in the first round for the third time in the last four seasons.
After giving up a 60-yard touchdown run to Shinholster late in the first quarter, Commerce appeared to steal the momentum in the final seconds of the second quarter, turning back Wilkinson County on a fourth-and-goal at the Tiger four yard line.
However, Wilkinson County would atone for that miss in the third quarter, running a reverse on fourth-and-four to Benardis Hughes who sprinted past the Commerce defense for a 14-yard touchdown with 8:11 left in the period.
On its ensuing possession, Commerce was stopped short at the Wilkinson 25 on a crucial fourth-and-three (reaction from the Tiger sideline indicated that Commerce thought the Warriors were offsides), turning the ball over on downs. That would prove to be the turning point of the game.
One play later, Shinholster sprung loose from the grasp of a handful of Tiger tacklers and motored 75 yards down the right sideline to put the Warriors up 21-0.
Commerce answered with a 76-yard touchdown drive -- capped by a two-yard run by Orsborne with 10:58 left in the game -- but wouldn't cut any further into the Warriors' lead.
The Tigers' trip to the state playoffs marked the program's 12th-straight appearance in the postseason.