Tom Knotts isn’t ready to throw in the towel on the season.
The 14-time state championship-winning coach for Dutch Fork High School spoke about pride and turning things around following Friday’s 17-14 loss to Weddington (N.C.) at Fox Field.
The outcome dropped the Silver Foxes to 2-4 on the season. The four losses are tied for the most for the program in a season since Knotts took over in 2010. The defending Class 5A champions also lost four games in 2012 and 2015.
“We just fell apart offensively. We couldn’t throw it. We couldn’t run a route. We couldn’t call a good play. Just a terrible game by me,” Knotts said. “But I am not going to give up on them. I still think it is going to be the greatest story ever.
“I still believe it. I hope they believe in it. … We are going to gear up for White Knoll and make a run in region play. That’s the way I believe and feel about it.”
Knotts after the game hinted at possible lineup changes. Dutch Fork is off next week before facing White Knoll in the Region 4-5A opener the following week.
It looked good for Dutch Fork early as the team led 14-0 after Ethan Offing’s 74-yard swing pass to Trent Lodge on the final play of the first quarter.
But Dutch Fork’s offense managed just 60 yards in the second half and turned it over twice against a stingy Weddington defense. The Silver Foxes also were penalized 14 times for 105 yards.
The Warriors got the spark they needed on their second possession of the second half when Tyler Budge hit UNC commitment Keenan Jackson on a flea flicker for a 70-yard TD to cut the lead to 14-7.
Weddington’s Caleb Hill had one of his two second-half interceptions when he picked off Offing on the final play of the third quarter. The Warriors capitalized on the turnover and a Budge 4-yard tied it at 14.
Weddington took the lead on its next possession as Everett Scott hit a 28-yard field goal to make it 17-14 with 6:08 left.
Dutch Fork turned the ball over on its next possession, and Weddington ran out the final 5:16 with a pair of third-down conversions.
“This is a big one and the reason why we took this game,” Weddington coach Andy Capone said. “Last couple of years, I felt we were right there but couldn’t get it done against top-tier competition. We dropped the ball against Butler two weeks earlier.
“So for us to come, be resilient and fight, I think it is a great win heading into our bye week.”
The Midlands’ four unbeaten teams — Irmo, White Knoll, Gilbert and Cardinal Newman — all stayed perfect with wins Friday.
AJ Brand threw six touchdown passes and ran for one in Irmo’s 54-0 win over Airport. The Yellow Jackets are 5-0.
White Knoll also moved to 5-0 with a 42-8 win over Lancaster. QB Landon Sharpe threw four touchdown passes and also ran for one.
Quarterback Drake Braddock threw four touchdown passes and Jaylen Jay went over 100 yards as Gilbert (5-0) defeated Saluda, 49-27, in a battle of unbeaten teams.
Cardinal Newman ran its record to 5-0 after a 31-0 win over Ben Lippen. Cortez Lane ran for three touchdowns and quarterback Duncan Skehan added one.
River Bluff wins thriller
River Bluff won the most exciting game of the night in taking down powerhouse Dorman, 29-28, in its final tuneup before region play.
Hayden Myers scored on a 4-yard run with 1:47 left to give the Gators a come-from-behind victory. They had trailed 28-16 with 10:50 left in the game.
Toriaun Leaphart, Stephen Collier and Trace Nettles also had TD runs for River Bluff.
Chapin extends streak
Chapin won its fifth straight game with a 22-7 win over A.C. Flora.
The Eagles have won five in a row since a season-opening loss to Irmo. Tanner Short had three touchdown runs and the Eagles defense had a big goal-line stand in the second half.
Around the Midlands
Richland Northeast 41, Nation Ford 38: James Willingham had three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 1:21 to go, in the Cavaliers’ victory. QB Will Wilson ran for two touchdowns and threw one.
Camden 45, Lake City 8: Grayson White threw five touchdown passes and also ran in three two-point conversions as the Bulldogs won their region opener.
Hammond 49, Camden Military 0: Kinson Holland and Naeem Newton each rushed for two touchdowns in the win over Camden Military.
Brookland-Cayce 28, Hampton County 14: DeShaun Washington had four touchdowns as the Bearcats handed Hampton County its first loss of the season.
Columbia 24, Eau Claire 18: Jamel McDaniel scored on a 2-yard run with 23 seconds left to give the Caps a come-from-behind win over the Shamrocks. McDaniel finished with two rushing TDs and two passing scores. Columbia trailed 18-12 with 5:27 left. Lamar Eaddy and Aric Hicks had TDs for Eau Claire.