The Quitman Bulldogs fell to the Commerce Tigers 44-0 Friday night in the season finale.
The Tigers ended the season 4-6, but got stronger as the year went by and posted a 4-2 district record, good enough for the playoffs. Quitman now moves to basketball and the off-season.
The young Quitman team, with a large number of sophomores and some freshman who played varsity, are going to work getting ready for next season.
“Obviously it did not end like we wanted it too. I really hate it for a great group of seniors who came out and who have paid the price,” Head Coach Bryan Oakes said. “We felt like we improved throughout the year and we know things are going to get better. We have kids who fought all year long. We faced adversities this year with key injuries and the loss of a teammate, but these kids never quit working hard. I just wished the seniors could have gotten that win. However, they did help us lay the groundwork for the success we know is coming.”
The Bulldogs showed spark and enthusiasm against the swift and talented Tiger crew. Commerce running back Isaiah Askew had his second 200-yard rushing night in a row. After gaining 216 yards in a win over Mineola last week, the fleet-footed running back went for 239 yards rushing on 16 carries against Quitman.
The Tigers got on the board after a 60-yard, 10-play drive ended on a touchdown pass from quarterback Casey Shields to receiver K.D. Williams covering six yards. The point after boot was good and it was 7-0 at the 8:50 mark of the first quarter. Askew would score in the second quarter on a 36-yard run to put it at 14-0 for the Tigers. Commerce took a 21-0 lead into intermission on a three-yard run by Shields.
An interception on the first play of the second half by Commerce led to a quick score on a short run by Williams to extend the Tigers’ lead to 28-0 with just 46 seconds gone in the third quarter. An errant snap on fourth down went out of the end zone on Quitman’s next possession giving the Tigers a safety and a 30-0 lead with 9:16 still to play in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs held Commerce on the next possession forcing them to punt from midfield. The snap sailed over punter over the head of punter J.J. Savage who raced back to his own 28-yard line only to zigzag his way up the field, and finding a wall of blockers to go all the way. The score made it 37-0. Another long distance run of 45 yards by Askew made it 44-0 at the end of the third period.
The teams traded drives and punts in a fourth quarter filled with penalties before the final gun sounded ending with Commerce up 44-0.
“We had a great effort by A.J. Dunn running the ball again this week. Greg Taylor was having a great game defensively until he got hurt. Dylan Coe and Rylie Flanagan both did a good job for us on defense too,” Oakes added.
Oakes hopes to see the numbers grow for next season. “There is strength in numbers. I told our kids to get out in the halls at school and recruit your classmates to come out for football next year.” Oakes noted. “We have a foundation now… We are going to be young again next year, but we will be experienced.”
In other district 7-3A DI news, district champion Mt. Vernon (10-0, 6-0) will take on Redwater in the bi-district round. Mineola, Farmersville and Commerce all ended up with 4-2 records and district tie-breakers gave second to Mineola who was 5-5 on the year and 4-2 in district action. In bi-district, the Jackets will take on Hughes Springs while Farmersville (6-4, 4-2) takes on 9-1 Jefferson and Commerce (4-6, 4-2) will face White Oak.