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Fort Dorchester High School
North Charleston

Patriots rolling through the regular season in football

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

North Charleston – With barely a challenge, the Fort Dorchester football team has rolled through the first six games of the 2017 season with a perfect record.

The Patriots are seeking a return trip to the state finals this fall. Fort Dorchester won the Class AAAA title with a perfect 15-0 record in 2015 but lost in the state semi-finals to Dutch Fork in the AAAAA playoffs a year ago.

Since 2015, Fort Dorchester is 33-2 and has averaged better than 45 points per game over that stretch. This season has been the most remarkable segment of that impressive stretch. The Patriots are averaging 55 points per game this season, but even more impressive is a recent stretch of three victories that saw Fort Dorchester out-score three opponents, 201-21.

Fort Dorchester opened region play with victories over Wando (68-7), James Island (70-6), and Stratford (63-8). The other three wins came against Dorman (35-14), Dutch Fork (41-25) and Colleton County (55-21).

“I’ve been real proud of our team for maintaining their focus and continuing to work hard because we know it’s going to get tougher from here on out,” head coach Steve LaPrad said. “We’re doing things in practice to keep us as sharp as possible. Our starters have not played past halftime in a long time so we’re going pretty hard in practice with our one’s versus one’s. They are responding well.”

Senior quarterback Dakereon Joyner is one of the state’s most explosive players but his overall production is done because of early exits. Joyner has completed 51 of 85 passes for 821 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding 473 yards rushing with 11 scores.

Adding to the running game are sophomore Kalil Jenkins (401 yards, 4 TD) and senior Drew Parker (364 yards, 6 TD).

Fort Dorchester’s receivers average 15 yards per catch as a group. Seniors Raquan Simmons (27-405, 8 TD) and Justin Williams (18-276-7 TD) lead the group.

Senior offensive lineman Avery Snipes recently made a verbal commitment to South Carolina State and is among the leaders up front.

The Patriots are stout as ever defensively. LaPrad calls linebackers Davon Gilmore, Jonathan Parker and Kenneth Brown “one of the best linebacker groups in the state.” Senior James Middleton has been a force along the front while seniors DeAngelo Knight, Dazjon Casto and Jaquan Gomillion anchor an athletic and ball-hawking secondary.

“I’ll tell you, the offense gets all of the ink around here but this defense has been incredible,” LaPrad said. “They’re physical, strong and play fast. They are a confident group. We haven’t been run on all year. They create turnovers and they give our offense great field position.”

 

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