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Class AAAAA playoffs begin with everyone chasing Dutch Fork

Moncks Corner – Well, here we are. Ten weeks of pomp and circumstance are in the books. Now, the real high school football season arrives for teams around the state.

The 2019 Class AAAAA playoffs begin on November 8 with three-time defending state champion Dutch Fork wearing the bullseye. Thing is, they don’t really care about being the hunted. Some team still has to beat them and that has proven to be most difficult the last two and half years,

Coach Tom Knotts has the best team in the state. Maybe the Silver Foxes are not the most talented team, across the board, but they sure can play. Watching Dutch Fork execute on both sides of the ball is a thing of beauty and it’s up to some team to figure out how to get the Silver Foxes off kilter.

Senior quarterback Ty Olenchuk, a Clemson baseball signee, could play college football if he chose to. Few quarterbacks have put up the consistent numbers he has in his third year as a starter. This season, he has completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,376 yards and 31 touchdowns. He has thrown just three interceptions in 216 attempts and rarely sees the field for any significant time in the second half.

The Silver Foxes average 414 yards per game and have scored 455 points in nine games. Running back Jon Hall has rushed for 828 yards with 22 touchdowns and has 318 receiving yards. Tennessee verbal Jalin Hyatt has 42 catches for 899 yards and 18 touchdowns. Elijah Spencer has 601 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Pick ya poison.

But Dutch Fork is not a one trick pony. Defensively, the Silver Foxes have allowed less than 200 yards per game and only 98 points. Linebacker Anthony DeMasi has 91 tackles and Jarvis McClurkin has 14 tackles for loss. Shrine Bowl tackle Trey Irby has five sacks.

Special teams you say? Tyrik McDaniel has two punt returns for touchdowns this season. Kick to him at your own risk.

So, who are the teams in AAAAA that could rattle Dutch Fork’s cage? In the Lower State field, there aren’t many. Fort Dorchester has a history with Dutch Fork but has lost to them three straight times. The Patriots, with a very good defensive front, could be difficult to handle but can the Patriots score enough points?

In the Lower State bracket, it is interesting to note that if the brackets hold true, Berkeley would get a rematch with Fort Dorchester in the second round after losing 44-0 earlier this season.

Also, a potential second round matchup between Goose Creek and Summerville is intriguing. The two were supposed to play early in the season but Hurricane Dorian prevented that from happening.

On to the Upper State, which has several more contending teams. Dorman is undefeated and will be a tough out. Byrnes has been a top four team in the rankings all season. Sumter is undefeated and no one is talking about them, while Laurens has been really consistent all year and can’t get any love in the statewide rankings.

Clover, under coach Brian Lane, went undefeated through the regular season but their schedule has been more questioned than Clemson’s.

Okay, prediction time. And this is where I usually mess up badly. Anyway, I am going to take Dutch Fork in the Lower State (shocker I know) and I will take Dorman in the Upper State.

Dutch Fork wins the state title. Regardless of the opponent.


Class AAAAA playoffs

Upper State (1st round)

Blythewood at Laurens

Nation Ford at Byrnes

Woodmont at Sumter

Gaffney at Rock Hill

Greenwood at Dorman

Westside at Spring Valley

Boiling Springs at Clover

Mauldin at T.L. Hanna


Lower State (1st round)

Chapin at Dutch Fork

Wando at Conway

Lexington at Fort Dorchester

West Florence at Berkeley

Cane Bay at Carolina Forest

West Ashley at River Bluff

South Florence at Goose Creek

Lugoff-Elgin at Summerville

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