It only gets tougher. In a rivalry that is a close second to The 378 War with nearby Washington-Wilkes, Commerce's Tigers come to Buddy Bufford Field Friday looking to extend our Red Devils' rough 2005 start.
But those Tigers from Jackson County also have had a tough start to the season. Commerce scored late in edge Trion (now 1-3) 15-14 in the opening week before losing to AAA Franklin County 14-3 in week 2. Undefeated AA Morgan County whipped Commerce 31-3 before the Tigers shutout AA Banks County 14-0 last Friday.
Commerce returned two starters on offense and five on defense from last year's 7-5 team. The Tigers lost their leading running back, receiver, and QB to graduation. College prospect Hunter Roop returns at linebacker after 92 tackles a year ago. Kicker Dusty Black returns for stability in the kicking game. Only 2 of 8 all-region players return for the Tigers.
The Tigers are certainly looking for revenge from last season when the Devils handed them 2 of their 5 losses. In Commerce in September after a one-day Hurricane delay, the Devils won 18-13. Then, in the second round of the playoffs, the Tigers visited Lincolnton but left unhappy after a 35-14 Red Devil win. Commerce took a 7-0 lead before the Devils stormed back in the second half to overcome the Tigers 7-6 halftime lead.
Click here for the series history, which Lincoln County leads 8-4.