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Dutch Fork repeats as Class AAAAA state champion with 28-27 win over Dorman

Columbia Dutch Fork held off a potential game-winning two-point conversion attempt with 19 seconds left in regulation to beat Dorman, 28-27, in the 2017 Class AAAAA state championships game at Williams-Brice Stadium on December 2nd.

The Silver Foxes capped off a 13-1 season with their second consecutive state championship while winning their third crown since 2013. Dorman finishes with a 12-3 record after starting the season 0-2.

Dutch Fork held a 28-21 lead after stopping Dorman on fourth down inside the five-yard line with under three minutes to go in the game. Dorman, however, forced a punt and had one final possession, starting at the Dutch Fork 42. Six plays later, quarterback Ben Batson connected with Jacoby Pinckney on a two-yard pass to set up the conversion attempt.

After a timeout, Dorman attempted a tight end screen over the middle. Batson’s pass found tight end John Gelotte but Dutch Fork was able to make the tackle inside the one-yard line.

“The more I thought about it, if we go overtime and put the ball on the 10 they probably go wildcat with (Bryce) Thompson and he’s been tough to stop,” Dorman head coach Dave Gutshall said. “We had one play to win it all. We went for the win. We thought we had a good play. Just came up short.”

Dutch Fork head coach Tom Knotts, who won his third title since taking over the Dutch Fork program in 2010, says Dorman’s attempt to win the game was a good call.

“I thought they might kick it since we were having a hard time stopping them but I probably would have gone for two myself,” Knotts said. “I thought they had a great call. We just sniffed it out. What a game though. A great game. It worked out for us.”

Dutch Fork fell behind late in the first quarter when a high snap resulted in Dorman’s Tylen Fowler returning the loose ball 51 yards for the game’s first score with 42 seconds left in the first period.

The Silver Foxes responded with a pair of second quarter touchdowns from sophomore running back Ron Hoff, who scored on runs of four and two yards to give Dutch Fork a 14-7 halftime lead. Hoff finished with 188 yards rushing in the game.

Dutch Fork limited Dorman to only 99 yards on 16 plays in the first half but the Cavaliers got their offense going in the second half. Dorman tied the game at 14 on a 17-yard pass from backup quarterback Matthew Powell to Zack Hillstock with 9:28 left in the third. Powell entered the game for starter Ben Batson, who went down with an injury, and completed a 43-yard pass to Pinckney on his first play. Batson later returned in the game and led Dorman in rushing with 135 yards.

“Matthew came in and did a great job but once they told me that Ben was able to play, we went with the guy that got us here,” Gutshall said. “Very proud of Matthew thought. We thought we would take a shot and it worked out but we were playing to win the game with what got us here.”

Dorman ended up with 282 yards in the second half and finished with 290 yards rushing in the game.

After Dorman tied the game, Dutch Fork’s Bryce Thompson took over for the Silver Foxes. His 72-yard run capped a 99-yard drive and gave the Foxes a 21-14 lead.

Dorman tied the game early in the fourth on a five-yard pass from Hillstock to Gelotte but Thompson struck again, racing 25 yards out of the wildcat to put Dutch Fork on top, 28-21, with 8:39 remaining. Thompson finished with 136 yards rushing on six carries. Dutch Fork quarterback Ty Olenchuk added 115 yards passing.

The title was Knotts’ 10th as a head coach after winning seven as a head coach in North Carolina. Dutch Fork avenged its only loss of the season, to Fort Dorchester, by beating the Patriots in the Lower State finals.

“It has been a stressful season,” Knott said. “We had to work to get better and we got better. We set all of our sights on beating Fort D and all of sudden we had to get ready to play a state championship game. I am really proud of our coaching staff and our kids. These last few weeks have been really special for Dutch Fork football. They were single-minded in purpose, which makes me proud as a coach.”

© 2017 High School Sports Report

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