dutch fork

(Photo | Thomas Grant Jr.) Dutch Fork football on the sidelines at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium

The five-year reign of Class 5A football ended Saturday for Dutch Fork High School.

A fourth quarter rally lifted Gaffney to a 22-19 victory over the Silver Foxes at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.

The loss ended Dutch Fork’s 62-game undefeated streak, 61-game winning streak against in-state teams and state-record 28-game playoff win streak. It was the first defeat suffered by the Silver Foxes since Sept. 1, 2017 to Fort Dorchester and first in the postseason since Nov. 27, 2015 against Dorman.

In becoming the first team to win the Class 5A title other than Dutch Fork since the classification’s formation and defeating the Silver Foxes for the second time in the final, the Indians came back from a 12-point deficit. The comeback began following Landon Bullock’s second interception of the game which was followed by a four-yard touchdown run by Tyler Smith and concluded with quarterback Grayson Loftis’ 40-yard touchdown pass to Suga Jeffries with 3:30 left.

Quarterback Davin Patterson gave the Silver Foxes a 13-0 lead to open the game. A 42-yard kick return by Antonio Williams set up Patterson’s 20-yard touchdown run on the opening series.

Gaffney looked to answer on its first series. The Indians reached inside the 20, but quarterback Grayson Loftis was intercepted by Nick Wright to end the series.

Dutch Fork capitalized with a scoring drive capped by Patterson’s seven-yard touchdown run. The PAT was missed by the Silver Foxes.

With 1:36 left in the first quarter, Gaffney got on the board. Facing a third down, Loftis found an open Suga Jeffries for a 54-yard touchdown.

The second quarter saw both teams unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities inside the Red Zone. Dutch Fork had two drives inside the 20 end on turnover on downs. while Loftis was intercepted by Chandler Perry to end the first half.

Gaffney was forced to turn over on downs to open the second half. Dutch Fork turned to Williams, who broke off a tackle and sprinted down the Gaffney sidelines for a 42-yard touchdown.

The PAT was blocked, keeping the Silver Foxes ahead 19-7 with 5:04 left in the third quarter.

Gaffney was forced to punt on its next series. With 42 seconds left, Bullock intercepted Patterson for the second time in the game at the Dutch Fork 24.

It took four plays for the Indians’ Tyler Smith to score from four yards to make it 19-14 with 11:20 left in the game.

Dutch Fork drove into Gaffney territory, but penalties stalled the drive at the 30-yard line. Gaffney took over on downs with 7:07 left, looking to take the lead.

The Indians drove the football to the Dutch Fork 35, only for Perry to tackle Ken Littlejohn for a five-yard line. On third down, Loftis found an open Jeffries for the go-ahead touchdown.

Loftis completed a two-point conversion pass to Deshon Corry to make it a three-point game.

Dutch Fork drove the football to the Gaffney 46. A sack on Patterson and incomplete put the Silver Foxes in a 4th and 21. With Williams out of the game after he took a hard hit on an incomplete pass, Dutch Fork turned to Jacob Hamilton who was stopped two yards shy of the first down.

Gaffney managed to run out the clock and the standing room only crowd celebrated the school’s 18th state title. The Indians finished the season 15-0, while the Silver Foxes ended a season dedicated to late offensive lineman Jack Alkhatib with a 13-1 record.

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