Dutch Fork set to make a repeat run at title
By David Shelton
Irmo – With talent returning in key places, the 2014 Dutch Fork High football team is set to make another run at the Division I-AAAA state title.
Dutch Fork won last year’s crown, the school’s first in football, with a resounding win over Sumter in the finals. The Silver Foxes picked right up where they left off in the week zero season opener against Greenwood, blasting the perennial AAAA power, 45-19, in a game played at River Bluff High School.
After a week off, head coach Tom Knotts takes his team to Allen, Texas to face one of the top powerhouse programs in the Longhorn State. Allen High has won the last two 5A state titles and is a nationally-ranked program.
The Silver Foxes entered this season boasting some of the state’s top talent at their respective positions. No returning running back in the Palmetto State put up the numbers that Dutch Fork’s Matt Colburn did in 2013. The 5-9, 190-pounder rushed for 2,488 yards and accounted for 40 rushing touchdowns as a junior. He verbally committed to Louisville over the summer, and rushed for 146 yards and four touchdowns in the season opener.
The defense is led by senior safety/linebacker Lane Ecton, the team’s top tackler the last two seasons. Ecton is headed to Georgia Southern next season.
Junior safety Stephen Davis, an Auburn commitment, is one of the state’s top five junior prospects.
That trio has plenty of help surrounding them.
On offense, senior Tate Fant takes over as the starting quarterback and threw for 198 yards in the season opener. Catching the passes were Alec Deboer (4-90), Kyle Olenchuk (4-30) and Will Sweeper (3-31). Colburn caught two passes for 61 yards.
Jo’mal Aiken and Austin Conner also have big-play potential in the passing game.
Along the front, starters in the opener include tight end Colin James, tackles Grayson Johnson and Malik Sumter, guards Glenn Niles and Paul Ryne, and center Montel Smith.
Defensively, working along the front were seniors Joe Sabb, Dominique Scott, Aaron Jones and Andrew Dunlap. Junior Rory Gallman also sees significant playing time.
Senior Mick Lusk is a key leader at middle linebacker, along with senior Devlen Bridges. Senior safety Jeremy Addison had two picks in the opener and cornerback Chris Parrott had an interception. Jacob Solomon is the other cornerback.