By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
When members of the Commerce High School football team step on the field, they are there to conduct business, according to Head Coach Scott Wells.
The football team began two-a-day practices last week in preparation for what Wells thinks will be a well-fought season against tough opponents.
“The kids have taken a very business-like approach and we are able to stay on schedule real well,” he said, adding that the team has cut down on mistakes with every practice. “When you can keep from losing two to three minutes for each transition, that’s extra reps you get to practice. It adds up quick.”
The team captains are not picked until after the season is over, a tradition Wells said makes the players earn the title. Wells does have a leadership council on the team who he thinks will step up during the season, including previous team captains Isaiah Martinez, Demetric Jennings and quarterback Sam Wells. Also on the leadership council are Al Jackson, Darion Redd and brothers Brandon and Tony Ramirez.
Wells said even though four teams in the district can now make the playoffs, with the strength of this district, it is still a toss-up as to which four make it.
“Everybody in our district is so much alike,” he said. “There’s not any one team that I say we should be gunning for, every game will be fought.”
Wells said the seniors this year have taken shepherding the younger players to heart.
“They work hard but know how to have fun. They are good role models for the younger players,” he said. “Thise kids are a lot of fun.”
Senior Sam Wells will have a receiving corps whom he’s thrown to for more than 5,000 yards in his more than 20 starts as quarterback.
On paper, it looks as if the team will rely heavily on the passing game, since most of his offensive line is new, but Wells said assistant coach Matt Bryant has brought the offensive line up to caliber.
“Coach Bryant has done a wonderful job with our offensive line,” he said.
Wells said the team has a new motto this year: “Separation is in the preparation,” and that they have been consistent every practice.
“They definitely have a mission on their minds,” he said. “That makes coaching fun.”
The Tigers return seven starters on offense and six starters on defense from a squad that went 7-5 last season, including a playoff victory over Whitesboro. The 32-13 victory earned them a bi-district title and was their first playoff win since 2002. The Tigers ended up falling to New Boston in the next round. The Tigers did lose major players on both sides of the ball to graduation, including DL Cortez Crosby, WR/DB Buck Wilson and DL Blake Madewell.
Commerce’s district opponents include Farmersville, the team selected to finish first by Dave Campbell’s 2013 Texas Football magazine; Pottsboro, a team that went 11-1 last season and finished undefeated in the district; and Caddo Mills, a team that features experienced running back Dax Hill (1,364 yards, 13 TDs in 2012). Sunnyvale (7-3 in 2012), Van Alstyne (1-9) and Howe (2-8) round out the district.
Commerce’s first game is Aug. 30 at North Lamar High School. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.