MEMPHIS -- Austin Taylor and the Friendship Christian running game made sure the Commanders' season got off to a strong start Friday night.
Taylor ran for two touchdowns and Friendship piled up 322 yards on the ground as the locals beat Harding Academy 27-7 in the season opener for both teams.
Taylor had scoring runs of 2 and 9 yards. The first wrapped up an impressive first half for the Commanders, who led 19-0 at halftime. The second concluded the scoring with less than eight minutes left.
Mike Jones started the scoring, with a 12-yard touchdown run to cap the Commanders' first possession of the game. Steven Hollis added a 7-yard score in the opening moments of the second quarter, and Taylor's first scoring run wrapped up the half.
The Friendship defense was also impressive. The Commanders held Harding Academy to eight yards of rushing offense, and were pitching a shutout until Harding scored on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Zack Montgomery to Calvin Austin with 9:18 left.
But Taylor scored his second touchdown of the game moments later.
Hollis had 134 yards rushing and Taylor added 105.
Friendship is off next week, then visits King's Academy in Week 2 before playing Trousdale County in its home opener Sept. 12.