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Can Dutch Fork Three-Peat In AAAAA This Season??

HSSR-SCHSL AAAAA Pre-Season Football Poll

(As of July, 18)

1. Dutch Fork

2. Dorman

3. Byrnes

4. T.L. Hanna

5. Summerville

6. Fort Dorchester

7. Northwestern  

8. Gaffney

9.  Berkeley

10. Greenwood

11. Westside

12.  Spring Valley

13. Sumter

14. Irmo

15. Conway

16. Ashley Ridge

17. Rock Hill

18. Boiling Springs


20. Lexington 

Can Dutch Fork Three-Peat In AAAAA This Season??

By Billy G. Baker


Moncks Corner—This will be the third season for the new  AAAAA football classification in South Carolina and pre-season top ranked Dutch Fork has won the first two state titles, and they are the pick to make it a three-peat despite true parity in the state’s largest classification.

There might be a great offensive minded teams like Dormn (515 points scored in 2017) and solid defensive teams like T.L. Hanna (allowed just 133 points) who need to be in the  AAAAA gold medal round conversation. However, Dutch Fork proved in 2017 it can get it done on both sides of the ball by outscoring teams 616-188.   

Fort Dorchester led the state in scoring with a whopping 703 points last season but the engineer that drove their offense, quarterback Dakereon Joynor has moved on to the Big House at USC.   

Sometimes it boils down to coaching and their play calling decisions in the heat of battle. Well, Tom Knotts of Dutch Fork has won everywhere he has coached and he rarely calls a play he regrets calling. This is why he has a 377-77 coaching record! At number two in our HSSR pre-season ranking is Dave Gutshall from Dorman and he stands at 385-134. You could say that coaching experience factors into pre-season rankings when coaches have the talent they have also.    

Ty Olenchuk (6-1, 190) is now a junior quarterback for the Silver Foxes with one more year of experience under his belt. He is a Clemson baseball commitment with a strong arm and good field instincts. He is the type leader a team needs to win a championship. He threw for over 1,700 yards last year and he had 18 touchdown passes to only four interceptions.  

Another reason to pre-season Dutch Fork number one is the return of junior running back Ron Hoff (5-11, 185) who missed six games last year with an injury. Hoff still managed over 800 yards and 14 touchdowns and he had 188 yards rushing against Dorman in the tile game last year. Junior outside linebacker Jarvis McClurkin (5-10, 180) returns after 11 TFL last year. 

Now for the Dutch Fork seniors: Nose guard Jamar Walker (6-0, 240) is a beast on the defensive front and senior linebacker Josiah Commander is back after leading the team in tackles last year with over 125 stops. Senior defensive end Kendrick Allen (6-0, 190) returns after anchoring the defensive front with 21 TFL’s last year and over 90 tackles.

Senior Kameron Stewart (6-5, 235) is back on the offensive line along with Jalen McDuffie, Speedy sophomore receiver Jalin Hyatt is also back.

After his one point hard fought win over Dorman last year Coach Knotts said, “ It has been a stressful season,” he said. “We had to work to get better and we got better. We set all our sights on beating Fort Dorchester and all of a 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.”

Dorman will need to replace graduated quarterback Ben Batson who played with the mindset of a Tim Tebow. Big play and Virginia Tech pledge Jacoby Pinckney is back as receiver. Talented offensive lineman John Geolotte (6-6, 270) is committed to Duke and Mason Trotter (6-3, 260) is another offensive lineman getting college looks.

Mason Powell is expected to move over from his receiver role last year to become the quarterback and he has a live arm and is very athletic. Big play receiver Zack Hillstock also returns and he scored 14 touchdowns last year.

With 81 players on his varsity roster at Byrnes this season second year head coach Reggie Shaw has the third ranked Rebels poised to improve on their 7-4 record last year. They have done well in seven-on-seven drills all summer. They are expected to be vastly improved this season. T.L. Hanna is led by the state’s top over-all prospect in Zacch Pickens (6-4, 245) a defensive lineman committed to USC. The jackets own the 5th pre-season ranking.

Summerville and Fort Dorchester are ranked 5-6 coming into the season and they should battle it out for the region title. The Green Wave went 9-3 win season last season and they have three seniors in the HSSR Top 100 for the first time since John McKissick retired in 2014. They are Liberty bound quarterback Johnathan Bennett (6-1, 205), offensive lineman and Western Kentucky bound Daylen Powell (6-5, 280) and defensive lineman Ben Mitchum. DB Derrick Larry also returns after having four picks from the secondary last year.

“We are excited about our players coming up and we look to continue to develop into a championship program,” said head Green Wave coach Joe Call. “We have to keep improving to get where we can compete for championships year in and year out.”

The Fort is led by big time linebacker Davon Gilmore (6-2, 215) at linebacker. Khalil Jenkins returns at running back and Kasan Edwards is a junior pro

© 2017 High School Sports Report

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