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Commerce claws past Pinecrest, 24-14

Fourth down conversions key for Tigers

POSTED: November 8, 2013 11:30 p.m.

CUMMING — Commerce had several close spots go its way as it converted first downs in crucial situations and finished with a total time of possession of 34:29 in a 24-14 victory over Pinecrest Academy on Friday at The Paladins’ field.

Pinecrest finished the season 5-5 overall and 2-4 in the region, while Commerce improved to 7-3 (5-1) and will qualify for the Class A playoffs. On the second play from scrimmage, Paladins running back Anthony Carco threw a halfback pass, rolling out to the right and finding Nick Palmer downfield for a 43 yard touchdown to give Pinecrest a 7-0 lead.

The ensuing Commerce drive was a testament to its ability to control the ball. The Tigers relied heavily on their running game as they orchestrated a game-tying touchdown drive that lasted almost 13 minutes and included three successful fourth down conversions. The Tigers added another touchdown before the half, giving them a 14-7 lead.

After halftime the Paladins offense struggled to find consistency, while the Commerce running game continued to grind out first downs. The Tigers were able to add a touchdown and a field goal in the third quarter, extending their lead to 24-7 entering the game’s final quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Pinecrest offense cut the deficit to 24-14 when quarterback Ryan McCarthy found Carco across the middle for a 35 yard catch and run that resulted in a touchdown. Carco went seemingly untouched as he weaved through Commerce defenders on his way to the end zone, and gave his team a glimmer of hope with 8:32 left in the game.

After a failed onside kick attempt by Pinecrest, the Tigers’ running game once again ran more than six minutes off the clock.

The Paladins took over on downs with 2:18 left, but Commerce forced the Paladins to punt from their own end zone. The Tigers ran out the clock and sealed a 24-14 win.


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