Dutch Fork tops Byrnes, moves on to AAAA football championship
Junior running back Matt Colburn ran for 312 yards and three touchdowns, and senior quarterback Derek Olenchuk added another score as Dutch Fork defeated the top-seeded Byrnes Rebels 31-21 Friday night in Duncan.
The Silver Foxes now move on to the Class AAAA, Division I State Championship game against the Sumter High School Gamecocks.
The win for the Silver Foxes also gave Byrnes their first home playoff-game loss in 12 years.
Colburn was happy with his performance but acknowledged that the Silver Foxes’ success was a team effort it was.
“I just kept believing no matter what. I had no doubts,” he said. “I just had to do my job and rely on my defense and my offense and do my job and get it done.”
Dutch Fork head coach Tom Knotts said the team came in with their own plan on defense to try and stop the Rebels.
“We hadn’t seen too many people really get after them,” he said. “So we thought there was a couple of kinks in their protection that we could get them on the edge … they (pass rushers) did a great job.”
In the first quarter, Byrnes struck first after pushing down to the Dutch Fork 5-yard line in a drive that started at the Byrnes 37.
Senior quarterback Shuler Bentley hit senior wide receiver Greg McHam in the right back corner of the end zone to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead with 10:22 left in the first quarter.
The score remained 7-0 throughout the first quarter, with both teams trading punts four times.
The Silver Foxes got themselves on the board in the beginning of the second quarter when junior kicker Tyler Bass hit a 27-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 with 11:17 left in the quarter.
The second quarter played out much like the first with both team trading punts back and forth.
The Silver Foxes had a chance to take the lead with 2:50 left in the first half, but Colburn fumbled at the 11 allowing Byrnes to recover at the 3-yard line.
The fumble proved costly, as Byrnes marched down the field in a 10-play drive that ended with freshman running back Isaiah Hill plunging in from the 1 and putting Byrnes up 14-3 heading into halftime.
Dutch Fork was able to respond, however, when they got the ball for the first drive of the second half and took it down to the Byrnes 26-yard line.
On a fourth-and-2 play, Colburn ran to his left and scored from 26 yards out to cut the Rebels’ lead to 14-10 with 5:57 left in the third quarter.
Byrnes responded on the their next drive, when Bentley hit senior wide receiver Shaedon Meadors for a 59-yard touchdown pass to give Byrnes a 21-10 lead.
On the next drive, Colburn was able to find the end zone again on a 4-yard touchdown run that put the score at 21-17 Byrnes with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Olenchuk was able to find senior tight end K.J. Williams for a 31-yard score to take the lead, 24-21 with 6:15 left in the game.
After stopping Byrnes on their next drive, Colburn scored his third and final touchdown of the night — a 62-yard touchdown run that gave Dutch Fork a 31-21 lead they never gave up.
Olenchuk ended the night going 12 for 20 on 176 yards with one touchdown. His Byrnes counterpart Bentley was 20 for 36 on 310 yards and had two touchdowns.
Meadors had five catches for 123 yards and one score.