ATHENS -- Third-ranked Athens Academy defeated Commerce 19-13 on Friday night at Slaughter Field in their third consecutive victory over the Tigers.
The victory was the Spartans' sixth in the last eight years over Commerce.
"It means so much," said senior receiver McKay Matthews, who had three receptions for 39 yards. "It's one of our biggest games of the year."
Senior quarterback Will Daniel connected with William Harris on a 35-yard touchdown pass to lift the Spartans to a 19-13 lead with 3:36 remaining in the game. It was Harris' second touchdown catch of this season.
The Spartans (5-0, 2-0 in Region 8-A) stopped the Tigers (1-4, 0-1) from scoring with just 55 seconds left in the game. The 12-play drive stalled on the 22-yard line.
The Tigers suffered their third straight loss and first region loss this season.
"Somehow we've got to find a way to get 11 guys to do the right thing on every play," Commerce coach Steve Savage said. "We had a chance right there at the end and couldn't do it. My credit goes to Athens Academy."
Commerce's Deon Orsborne scored on a 72-yard touchdown run on the first play of the Tigers' possession with 5:25 remaining in the game. Orsborne was the game's leading rusher with 164 yards on 17 carries, 110 yards in the second half.
Harris also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first half. He totaled 54 rushing yards on eight carries.