October 24, 2013

Football previews: Week 8

October 24, 2013 Chuck Porter Sports Editor

PRYOR, OK — Game of the Week: No. 11 Salina (6-1, 4-0 District 2A-8) at No. 5 Commerce (7-0, 4-0 2A-8), Friday, 7 p.m.

Adair got its shot at its district front-runner, Nowata, in Week 6. Pryor and Locust Grove each toppled first-place foes in Week 7. In Week 8, Salina finally gets its chance to seize control of District 2A-8 when it travels to unbeaten Commerce Friday.

For two teams that run the ball almost every down, Commerce and Salina couldn't attack opposing defenses more differently.

In 2012, Commerce rode star running backs DC Chance and Parker Morgan to the Class 2A state quarterfinals. Morgan graduated in May, so this season Commerce fans have marveled at the brand-new DC universe. Chance topped the 1,000-yard mark in Week 6 and averages over 15 yards per carry heading into Friday's titanic clash against the Wildcats.

Salina, meanwhile, cycles through a veritable stable of talented runners out of its wing-T offense, led by seniors Jon Parsons, Bret Fite, Cale Backward and Damon Gourd and junior Kyle Johnson. The quintet has combined for 1,770 yards and 22 touchdowns en route to a six-game winning streak. That swath of destruction includes district dark horses Colcord and Wyandotte after Salina held unbeaten Locust Grove to its lowest offensive output of the season (29 points) in a Week 1 loss.

Commerce, on the other hand, has raced through a flimsy opening slate. The only teams with winning records the Tigers have faced are Cherryvale (Kan.), Wyandotte and Kansas, which all float 4-3 marks.

Salina had some success stopping the Commerce attack in 2012, but the Tigers ultimately left Mayes County with a 14-6 win. Stopping Chance will be no easy task, but with fall break last week head coach Kyle Fowler and his staff had an extra day to formulate a containment plan for the elusive back. "We've got to be sound. That's the key," Fowler said.

If the 'Cats can zero in on Chance and put pressure on quarterback Jameson Blake (44 percent completion rate), they will have a great shot at the upset.

Bold Prediction: Commerce 24, Salina 14

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