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ONE FOR THE THUMB: Dutch Fork seizes 5th straight football state championship

Updated: Dec. 5, 2020 at 12:03 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Windy and rainy conditions did not dampen Dutch Fork’s historic celebration Friday night from Charlie W. Johnson Stadium.

The Silver Foxes upended T.L. Hanna 28-6 in the Class 5-A state championship game to capture their fifth straight state championship and set a South Carolina High School League record.

“I’m so proud of them,” said Dutch Fork head coach Tom Knotts with a smile on his face. “We pressured them all year to get here and to do it. They did a great job.”

“We had to work really hard,” exclaimed a tearful senior defensive lineman Rodney Shell. “We were doubted. People did not think we were going to get this far. But we did it! We did it!”

Dutch Fork senior defensive lineman Edward Owusu felt disrespected by a social media post that showed T.L. Hanna confidently yelling, “We want Dutch Fork.” Well, the Silver Foxes defense gave the Yellow Jackets a lot to remember. They held T.L. Hanna to 212 total yards and one score.

“They said they wanted Dutch Fork,” said Owusu. “We showed them what Dutch Fork [does].”

Dutch Fork seized momentum from the opening kick. Even with heavy rains drenching players, Dutch Fork found ways to move the ball in the first half effectively. Sophomore running back Jarvis Green put the Silver Foxes on the board first with a 7-yard rushing score. He finished the first half with 150 total yards and two touchdowns.

“I love all our seniors,” said Green. “They work. They taught me life. My freshman year, when they went for four, they taught me everything.”

Green capped off a championship performance with 137 yards rushing.

“I think it was all God,” said Green. “I believe in him. He put me in the right positions at the right times.”

Senior quarterback Will Taylor picked his spots to air it out. A 58-yard pass to Devin Hyatt in the first quarter set up Dutch Fork for its second strike, but Hyatt was injured on the play and left the game with a broken collarbone.

Taylor finished the drive with the first of two first-half rushing touchdowns. He was 6-of-9 passing for 147 yards and added 82 more on the ground. Taylor, who transferred into the program in January, finished his lone season as a Silver Fox in style.

“We just took it to them in the first half,” said Taylor. “It’s a great feeling. The guys around me make it easy for me. I just did my job, and we came out with number five.”

Dutch Fork found the scoring zone on its first four drives of the game, piling up 326 total yards in the opening half to carry a 28-6 lead into the locker room.

The goal every season at Dutch Fork is to win a state championship. In Knotts 11th season, the Silver Foxes have finished on the mountain top six times, including now five in a row.

Friday night’s victory marked Knotts’ 129th with Dutch Fork.

Knotts glowingly spoke about his 18 seniors. Four years ago, when they were freshmen, it was a group of 30. Eighteen stayed the course to accomplish history and this year’s group was exceptional.

“Will Taylor came and gave us a jolt and energy we needed,” said Knotts. “We got some magnificent skill players. Our defense was so tenacious, mean and rough all year, except for the Carolina Forest game.”

Knotts, staying in form after the game, mentioned he’s already preparing to win number six in a row. He’s taking some time to enjoy this one.

“Five in a row is great, though,” added Knotts. “It’s a tribute to all the guys and the coaches because I pushed them all hard.”

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