BY Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
Commerce High School was picked to finish in first place in 6-2A Division 1 in “Dave Campbell’s Texas Football,” an annual magazine that many consider a Texas high school football Bible. According to the report, the Tigers are returning 12 starters, seven on offense and 5 on defense.
“We know that our district will be very tough,” Head Football Coach and CHS Athletic Director Scott Wells said. “There are some excellent football programs in our district and we expect a dogfight every week. But, we are pleased to be picked where we are and look forward to the challenge of making Dave Campbell’s look smart. This is where we expected to be as a program - we want to be the ‘team to beat’ every year. Now it is up to us to to rise up to that level of expectation.”
The top players to watch according to the magazine are seniors wide receiver Buck Wilson, who was also selected as the division’s preseason offensive MVP, quarterback Sam Wells, and defensive lineman Cotez Crosby. The top juniors are wide receiver Nick Simmons and defensive back Al Jackson. Wilson caught 35 passes for 753 and 9 touchdowns, and ran for 304 yards and two scores. Wells threw for 2,204 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. Crosby was an AP all-state honor after recording 93 tackles. The Tigers recorded an impressive 8-3, including seven wins to start the year, record last season and made it as far as the Region II bi-district playoffs, where they fell to Argyle 49-7.
“WR Wilson is poised for a big senior season after landing AP all-state honors as a junior — he’s a versatile threat on offense,” according to the DCTF report.
Commerce was moved to 2-A and is now in a division with Van Alstyne, who also moved from 3-A to 2-A after realignment, Pottsboro, Farmersville, Caddo Mills, Sunnyvale and Howe.
Earlier in the year Wells was optomistic but cautious about the Tigers’ chances in 2012.
““If you look at all of the teams in 2-A Division 1, it’s really the old 3-A,” he said. “Van Alstyne played three rounds of playoff football last year, Sunnyvale is an up-and-coming team, Pottsboro played three rounds into the 2-A playoffs. Farmersville won a title last time they were in 2-A.”
The realignment, which is performed every two years by UIL, is based on a school’s student population. The requirement for 3A increased from 429 in 2010 to 449.
“We know the expectations are higher, and we’ve communicated that to our players,” Wells said. “We’re hoping to use it as a motivator.”
The Tigers will begin their season with two scrimmages before entering the 10 game regular season