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By Tyler Cupp
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
That phrase worked on so many levels Friday night as the Dutch Fork Silver Foxes avenged their lone loss of the 2017 season to knock off previously unbeaten Fort Dorchester 24-14. The win puts the Foxes into the class 5A State Championship game for the second straight year. The win came as revenge for the 41-25 loss DF took back in September. It was a chilly November Friday night, where cars were parked, and lined up for at least two miles down the road. This was a game in which DF really was never in danger of losing. And two things stood out in the first half to me. The penalties, plus lack of discipline on the part of the Patriots, and the defense of the Foxes. Even though Fort D committed just 8 penalties for 100 yards, they were all timely.
The Patriots had two touchdowns called back including a kickoff return and another that came right before the half. That’s where DF got a ton of momentum, holding Fort D scoreless in the first half with a 14-0 lead. A 14 play 78 yard drive capped off by Ron Hoff took 6 minutes off the clock early in the first. Then a quick 41 yard passing score from Ty Olenchuck to Colin Donelson after a blocked punt gave DF the two score lead. Olenchuck finished the night with 222 yards on just just 11 of 17 passing.
There was no shortage of college scouts, media and fans all in attendance to see the slew of potential D-1 talent on the field. University of South Carolina commit Dakeron Joyner was obviously atop that list of talent crop for the fans to see. Unfortunately for those wanting him to put on a show, they were actually treated to a spirited defensive effort by Dutch Fork. Led by all star selection Alex Smith, the Silver Foxes did a great job of mixing up coverages, and defensive fronts. In particular the front 7 seemed to force Joyner in the middle of the field. Even the DB’s led by Bryce Thompson, who played primarily on defense rather than at tailback, did a great job of scanning and spying the QB. Dutch Fork sacked Joyner 5 times, 3 of those were by Alex Smith.
Thompson also had a late game interception, too. Coach Tom Knotts did a phenomenal job game planning for an offense that averaged 55 points per contest coming in. Joyner would get into the end zone finally in the third, with a 69 yard pass making the score 17-7 midway thru the third. The Gamecock commit had close to 300 yards of total offense with 100 rushing and 193 passing. However, DF would answer right back as Ron Hoff got into the endzone for the second time of the evening from one yard away. It was setup by Olenchuck finding Jaylin Hyatt for a 60 yard bomb down the near sideline. Fort D finished out the scoring late with a 14 yard touchdown run by Drew Parker. The DF defense made the Patriots work for every yard on that last drive. So the Silver Foxes look to go back to back in the 5A State Championship versus Boiling Springs at Williams-Brice Stadium next Saturday. The game will play out at noon.
Some notes and stats that stood out from this game:
-Joyner has lost 3 games in his high school career. All three coming to Dutch Fork.
-Fort D ran 60 plays for 379 yards whereas Dutch Fork ran 48 for 313. Silver Foxes obviously more efficient there. And as opposed to the previous meeting this year where DF turned it over 4 times, they had no turnovers this time around.
-It was a great crowd on hand for this one, including a ton of fans on the opposing side making the trip from North Charleston.
-A player I just happened to notice that really stood out was Davon Gilmore for Fort Dorchester. A 6’2 junior linebacker. He was outstanding and all over the field Friday.
-This might be one of the smallest squads in terms of size for Tom Knotts. But it also might be his smartest and most disciplined. And that’s saying something considering his QB, wide outs and a few lineman up front are all underclassman. Just something to point out. And above all, just so well coached on both sides.
From around the state-
The only other Midlands team in action were the Brookland-Cayce Bearcats. For the second straight year, they go down to Dillon in the Lower State Championship game. The Bearcats lost 42-7. They turned it over 4 times which turned into 21 points for the Wildcats. For what its worth, after all the talk about Gilbert this year, it was BC who made it deeper. Rusty Charpia did a great job once again getting the most out of this roster in 2017. As for Dillon, they will head into a rematch with Chapman for the 3A State Championship.
-South Pointe had no trouble with Greer winning 67-21. They will have a rematch with Hartsville in class 4A.
-In 1A Lamar will play Baptist Hill and in 2A Abbeville will take on Bamberg-Ehrhardt