Silver Foxes gearing up for repeat run at Division I-AAAA title
By David Shelton
Irmo – As the defending champions, the Dutch Fork High football program knows what it takes to win a state title. Now, the Division I-AAAA titleholders are prepping for a repeat.
Dutch Fork won last year’s title with a win over Sumter and the potential field of Division I participants this season is deep and talented. But, before making post-season plans, the Silver Foxes have some unfinished business in region 4-AAAA.
Riding a five-game winning streak, Dutch Fork faces its biggest region test of the season on October 31st as they travel to 9-0 Westwood. The Red Hawks are ranked among the state’s top five in class AAAA and boast one of the state’s top defensive units, allowing 66 points in nine games.
Dutch Fork (7-2) is starting to play their best football as the regular season winds down. Entering the final two games of the regular season, the Silver Foxes are averaging 44.7 points and 455 yards per game while allowing 21.8 points and 300.9 yards per game.
Offensively, senior quarterback Tate Fant has enjoyed a solid season, completing 63.1 percent of his passes. Tant has thrown for 2,113 yards and 18 touchdowns against only four touchdowns.
Senior running back Matt Colburn, a South Carolina Shrine Bowl selection, has rushed for 995 yards and 20 touchdowns despite missing two games.
Clayton Jones has rushed for 256 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per carry, while freshman Bryce Thompson has averaged 8.5 yards on 25 carries.
Sophomore prospect Austin Connor is averaging 27 yards per reception, totaling 627 yards on 23 receptions with five touchdowns. Alec Deboer has caught 37 passes for 419 yards and four scores while Will Sweeper has 24 catches for 466 yards and five touchdowns.
Jo’mal Aiken has 17 catches and Colburn has 13 receptions.
Placekicker Tyler Bass has proven to be a major weapon offensively as well. Bass has connected on 11 field goals and 45 extra points. His longest field goal this season is 47 yards and he is four-of-four from beyond 40 yards this season. Bass also averages 35.7 yards per punt and his 78 points leads all kickers in the state.
Defensively, Dutch Fork has forced 19 turnovers, including 12 interceptions. Jeremy Addison has four picks while Dominique Benson has three. Lane Ecton and Chris Parrott have two each and Stephen Davis has one interception.
Ecton is the team’s leading tackler with 40 tackles while Dominique Scott has 15 tackles for loss and five sacks. Linebacker Mick Lusk has 35 tackles and seven tackles for loss. Andrew Dunlap and Devlen Bridges each have nine tackles for loss while Devon Taylor has seven for loss and four sacks.