The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


November 17, 2012

Second-half rally boosts Commerce past Meeker

COMMERCE, Okla. — Commerce Tigers coach Steve Moss said he would love to take credit for some clever second-half adjustment.

But that wouldn’t be the truth. Instead, Moss just challenged his players to compete the way he said he knows they can.

Trailing 13-0 at halftime, the Tigers responded by scoring all of the second-half points in a 16-13 win over Meeker on Friday night as Tigers senior Sam Alvarado hit the game-winning 25-yard field goal with 7:41 left in the game.

The win advances Commerce (11-1) to the Oklahoma Class 2A quarterfinals, and the Tigers will travel to face unbeaten Frederick next Friday.

“We didn’t change a thing at halftime” Moss said. “I’d love to say we made adjustments. We didn’t. We went in and said, ‘You’re not playing like you can. We have a good plan, so go out there and do what you’re supposed to do.’ And that’s what they did.”

The Tigers repeatedly shot themselves in the foot in the first half. A false start stalled a drive on Commerce’s opening possession. A fumble early in the second quarter negated a 65-yard pass play from Blake Jameson to Jerrod Kirtley. Another fumble on Commerce’s next possession led to a Meeker touchdown.

“I’m glad we play two halves, because we had a lot of mistakes in the first half,” Moss said.

Commerce also had a difficult time handling Meeker’s wing-T misdirection offense. Bulldogs freshman quarterback Jake Standlee ran for 131 yards on 18 carries in the first half.

Standlee hit Dallas Jackson on a 10-yard touchdown pass on a fourth down-and-5 to take a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter. Meeker increased the lead to 13-0 when Jesse Weaver scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:51 left in the half.

“Our offense was clicking,” Meeker coach Mike Hedge said. “We had a good rhythm going in the first half. We kind of had them off balance. In the second half, they came out and got us off balance a little bit. We won the first half, and they won the second half. Their half is the one that matters.”

There’s no doubt the Tigers won the second half.

Commerce forced the Bulldogs to a three-and out on their opening possession. The Tigers then scored on their first possession with a 15-yard touchdown run by D.C. Chance to make it 13-6 after Alvarado’s kick failed.

On Meeker’s next possession, Standlee was picked off by Commerce’s Angel Landeros. Six plays later, Jameson hit Landeros on a 23-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 13.

“We said it wasn’t over,” Landeros said. “Once we got fired up, we stayed fired up in the second half.”

The young Meeker team seemed rattled in the second half and couldn’t regain the success from early in the game. Standlee carried the ball seven times for negative-8 yards in the second half.

“Coach tried to get us pumped up in the second half and get our confidence back,” Jameson said.

Commerce’s defense forced a Meeker punt that gave the Tigers good field position to set up Alvarado’s go-ahead field goal.

The Tigers’ running game also got going in the second half as Chance finished with 117 yards and Parker Morgan ran for 106.

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