Fort Dorchester entered the South Carolina Class 5A Lower State title game with a legitimate chance to repeat as state champions. Instead Fort Dorchester fell far short, capitulating to USA TODAY Sports Super 25 No. 24 Dutch Fork in a faceoff of traditional state powers.
The Silver Foxes dominated throughout a 49-24 victory, after a tight first quarter that finished 14-14. Even then, Fort Dorchester remained in the tight game in part because of a Dutch Fork fumble inside the Fort Dorchester 10-yard-line.
Fort Dorchester capitalized first in the second quarter, using a field goal to take its only lead of the game, but a pair of touchdown passes from Dutch Fork quarterback Reese Nichols gave the Silver Foxes a 28-17 lead that they would never relinquish, despite Fort Dorchester outgaining Dutch Fork in total yardage, 284-280.
Indeed, Fort Dorchester would score just a single touchdown in the second half, in the third quarter, but not until Dutch Fork had added another pair of scores. It was 49-24 at the end of three periods, and that’s the way the contest — and Fort Dorchester’s season — would end.
The true undoing for the Patriots was their inability to slow Dutch Fork’s explosive, quick-strike offense. In addition to outgaining the Silver Foxes in the first half, Fort Dorchester held a sizable advantage in time of possession. Yet, in the ultimate proof that time of possession need not yield success, Dutch Fork scored a pair of its first half touchdowns on a single play.
For Dutch Fork, the Silver Foxes move within a game of another state title, and a perfect 14-0 season to go with it.