David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

COMMERCE-Despite being on the losing end of the 35-14 final, versus Commerce at Tiger Field Friday night, the Colcord Hornets were still in the thick of things until nearly the midway point of the final quarter.† Thatís when the Tigersí stellar running back, Bryson Sullivan, added the final pair of his four-touchdown performance, to break the game wide open and lead to a perfect 5-0 start for the home team.

The Hornets received the opening kickoff and set up offensive shop on their own 21.† Moving the chains four times on 13 snaps, Colcord marched into Tiger territory.† Colcord quarterback Canaan Sherrell converted a pair of big third and long situations when he connected with Rusty James for 12 and 20-yard gains, respectively.†

But the Tiger defense stiffened and the visitors faced a fourth and long on the eight-yard line.† The Hornets then attempted a 25-yard field goal that sailed just enough to the right to be no good.††

Taking over on their 20, Commerce went to Sullivan on their first snap and the gifted senior broke through for a 23-yard gain.† Staying on the ground, the Tigers crossed to the Colcord side of the field.† But on quarterback Kasey Ngís first pass attempt, Darwin Davis got between Ng and his receiver and intercepted the pass.† A 15-yard penalty followed Davisís pick and a short 2-yard gain brought the opening stanza to completion.

The second quarter opened with an incomplete pass that forced the Hornets to punt the ball away under the shadow of their own goalposts.† Taking over on the visitorís 31, Commerce got a first down on a nine-yard run by Austin McMain and scored the gameís first TD when Sullivan scooted in from the five.† The Tigerís Tyler Maxville made good on his first of a perfect five of five extra point attempts.†

After starting their next offensive series on the 24, Colcord put together a 12-play scoring drive that chewed up the bulk of the second quarter clock. Staying on the ground for 11 of the 12 snaps, Sherrell put his team on the scoreboard with a one-yard plunge into the end zone.† The PAT failed, giving Commerce a 7-6 edge.†

With under two minutes remaining in the half and a full complement of timeouts, the Tiger offense went back to work.† After Colcordís kickoff rolled out of bounds, Commerce got the ball on their 35.† And on the first snap of the series Kasey Ng broke free for a 38-yard gain into Hornet territory.† Using the clock judiciously, the Tigers marched to the 10.† And on a second down, Ng found his brother Kyler in the end zone for a touchdown with only 25 seconds to play in the half.

Trailing 14-6 to start the second half, the Colcord defense made its first statement when they forced their hosts into a passing situation.† And Sherrell intercepted the pass attempt.† After hauling in the football in the middle of the short secondary, the fleet-footed Sherrell broke to the outside and outran the Commerce team 55 yards and across the goal line.† Sherrell then completed his two-point conversion pass to Rusty James, tying the game at 14 each.†

But the Hornet momentum was short lived as Sullivan (28 carries for 202 yards) scampered for a 31-yard gain on his teamís first snap.† Using back-to-back 10-yard carries by Sullivan and McMain, the Tigers marched to inside the Colcord 20. And with 8:13 to play in the third, Ng connected with Sullivan for a 19-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead.

After going three and out on their next possession, the Hornets went back on defense.† After moving the chains twice, Commerce appeared to be on another scoring drive.

But this time Sherrell got in between an Ng to Braden Smith pass attempt, for his second interception of the night.† Using Chris Aguilar (10 carries for 53 yards) almost exclusively, the Hornets stayed on the ground and moved the sticks four times.† With a Colcord first down on the 15, Commerceís defense rallied to take the ball over on downs.†

And after moving the ball to near midfield, Sullivan burned the Hornets with his longest run of the game.† Breaking through the Colcord middle, Sullivan got into the defensive secondary and powered his way 51 yards to pay dirt.† Trailing 28-14, with less than eight minutes to play in the game, the Hornets needed to score quickly.† But on Colcordís next offensive series the Tigers picked off a Sherrell pass.† The teamsí trade possessions to burn most of the remaining game clock.† But with a scant nine seconds left in the game, Sullivan added his fourth score, with an 18-yard sprint for six.

Colcord returns to Hornet Field next Friday where they will play host to district archrival, Kansas.