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Dutch Fork hopes to cap perfect season with a state championship


IRMO, SC - Tom Knotts and the Dutch Fork Silver Foxes are not interested in re-visiting the last time they played at Williams-Brice Stadium. Nobody can blame them. After running through the playoffs in 2014, the Silver Foxes were steamrolled by Hillcrest 47-17 in the state title game. This year though, Knotts and his team return with hopes of erasing that bad taste out of their mouth.

“Our kids have done an excellent job this season of taking it one game at a time,” Knotts said at the AAAAA State Championship press conference. “We had some real questions in the spring and summer. I told them they were a 5-5 team the way they were practicing through the preseason, but we’ve got some talent and we’ve got some workers. Nobody wants to be called an underachiever and I think they’ve risen to the task as we’ve moved along.” The Silver Foxes (14-0) will take on Boiling Springs Saturday in the 5A State Championship at 6:30 p.m. This marks the Bulldogs (13-1) first-ever appearance in a state championship for football.

The Silver Foxes have gotten it done on both sides of the ball this season. Averaging 40 points per game, the offense is led by quarterback Reese Nichols who is surrounded by a ton of playmakers and an excellent offensive line up front. Bobby Irby leads the receiving core with 1,318 yards and 12 touchdowns. When asked about how he’s handling the biggest week of his life to this point, Irby embraced the challenge saying, “We plan to be focused all week at practice. We’ve bought into what Coach Knotts has told us to do and we are paying attention to detail every day.”

Offensive lineman Malik Sumter echoed his head coach’s thoughts when asked about the season to this point. “We don’t want to be known as underachievers,” Sumter said. “Going 14-0 is a great accomplishment, but not winning a state championship would be a big letdown and we’re just trying to finish this thing off right.”

Defensively, the Silver Foxes have been stout all year long allowing just 248 yards per game, and they will need that same kind of performance Saturdayas the Bulldogs enter Saturday averaging 33 points per game on offense. Linebacker Taylor Wiggins says his team is just focused on “remaining humble and trying to not let the moment get to them. Approach it like any other game.”

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