Tigers begin 2015 with new starters at QB, RB, WR
High school football season begins tonight! The year kicks off at 6 p.m. with The Big Friday Night Scoreboard Program on KETR, with Commerce Tigers pregame coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. This evening, Commerce will host North Lamar at Memorial Stadium. Play-by-play action with John Mark Dempsey and Kevin Jefferies begins at 7 p.m.
With a preview of the 2015 Tigers, here’s KETR’s Mark Haslett.
Mark Haslett: Second-year Commerce High School football coach Jeff Cleveland enters this season having had the luxury of a summer to prepare for the fall campaign. That wasn’t the case in 2014, when Cleveland arrived shortly before the season started.
Jeff Cleveland: We’ve had an opportunity, I think, to do a few things in the off-season that I believe are going to help us. We were able to fix some things on our coaching staff. My goal and what I’m trying to do is looking at a long range plan, you know, a thing where we can build a program that’s going to hopefully be able to sustain some success year after year after year. You know, that’s our big picture goal.
Haslett: Cleveland has put his stamp on the program with the addition of several new coaches. Including longtime East Texas State University and Texas A&M University-Commerce head coach Eddie Vowell, who will serve as assistant coach.
Cleveland: Our new defensive coordinator is Scott Rozell, and Scott came from Sulphur Springs with Greg Owens, who's a very, very good coach; very, very knowledgeable. Of course, he’ll be working with Coach Vowell, Eddie Vowell who was head coach at the university and was my coach in college. And then we have another young man named Joey Scott that I coached in high school at Wylie, whose going to be coaching on the defensive side of the ball and coaching our running backs. We hired some young guys. Chaz Dickerson first year coach out of Detroit, who played for our high school principal Steve Drummond. Stephen Clayton is a Commerce guy that’s been heavily involved in our youth leagues and all that. He’s a super gentleman, and we’re happy to have him. We hired Colton Reynolds from Prairiland.
Haslett: The Tigers enter the season with a squad of returning starters on the offensive line. That’s good news for the other players who will be moving into starting roles in the offensive backfield and at wide receiver. In the pass-happy world of today’s high school game, Commerce will be relying on six-foot, 190-pound senior Malcomb Fragosa to fill D’Lance Sharp’s shoes at wide-out. He’ll be catching passes from another six-foot, 190 senior – new signal-caller Scott Cameron. It’ll be a different look for the Tigers on offense.
Cleveland: Malcomb Fragosa - Malcolmb is an outstanding athlete, was a basketball player who had a knee injury that he didn’t play football last year, but explosive, great hands. Cameron Scott [is] definitely going to be our quarterback, and Cameron is a good athlete. He’s a little different athlete than Jaston Wilson. Cameron’s a big strong kid, throws the ball well, but he’s a very strong, strong runner. Probably not as quick and elusive as Jaston was but he’s strong. He’s hard to get on the ground. Isaiah Askew is going to probably be our running back. He’s a sophomore, along with Jacorian Savage who’s a sophomore. We could also play Sam Rasberry who’s a returning all-district player at running back. We’ve got some options.
Haslett: On defense, the Tigers will present both four-man and five-man fronts. Six-foot, 200-pound senior linebacker Tony Ramirez leads the Commerce defense, along with fellow senior linebacker Sam Rasberry.
Cleveland: Austin Morgan is coming back. Oscar Ramirez was the first-team all-district tackle. We’ve got several kids on the defensive side of the ball that are back, that are quality football players, and so we’re excited about what we’ve got going on there.
Haslett: Commerce surprised some observers last season by posting a 7-5 record and advancing to the second round of the playoffs, where the Tigers lost to eventual state runner-up Mineola. The 2015 season begins tonight with a home contest against North Lamar. Commerce hopes to avenge a one-point loss to the Panthers in last year’s game in Paris.