COMMERCE — Since the team’s 2006 Georgia Dome appearance, the Commerce High football team has looked for a way to get past the opening round of the Class A state playoffs.
And after two failed attempts, the Tigers found it Friday against Landmark Christian.
Anchored by the heroics of running back Deon Brock, Commerce ended its playoff win drought with a 29-19 win at Tiger Stadium.
Brock racked up 243 yards and scored four touchdowns on eight carries, leading an efficient running game that used big plays on short drives to keep the offense energized.
"We were going off motivation tonight," Brock said. "We’ve been getting put out in the first round the past few years, but we came out this year with a purpose.
"Now we have some momentum to take into next week."
With the win, the Tigers (7-4) visit Darlington in the second round of the playoffs next Friday.
Brock made his mark on the Landmark Christian defense with long runs of 39, 40, 75 and 76 yards, three of which went for touchdowns. Brock’s first three touchdowns came early in the game, allowing the Tigers to jump out to a commanding lead by the end of the second.
While Brock broke away from every War Eagle defender on numerous plays, the Commerce defense kept Landmark Christian (6-5) from doing the same. The Tigers limited their opponents to two field goals in the first half, and successfully stopped long drives of 13, 10 and 17 plays, the last one ending on Commerce’s 3-yard line with seconds remaining in the second quarter.
"Tonight was a physical football game," Tigers head coach Steve Savage said. "They were big and kept hammering it in on us, but our kids just kept battling and battling.
"The goal-line stand at the end of the half was big."
The Tigers offense needed only 10 plays and only one first down to take a 20-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Brock scored his final touchdown of the night midway through the third quarter, giving Commerce a 20-point lead, its largest of the night.
Along with Brock’s efforts, quarterback Cody Streetman rushed for 97 yards on 13 carries and Jon Cash added 61 yards on 11 carries.
Landmark Christian finally found the end zone in the fourth quarter, once on a 4-yard run by Gerald Davis and another on a 1-yard run by Blake Austin.
Austin finished the game as the War Eagles’ leading rusher, with 137 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries. Quarterback Carson Bennett was 13-for-22 passing for 133 yards.