High school football

Byrnes coach Bentley responds to comments by Dutch Fork’s Knotts

Special to The StateNovember 25, 2013 

Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts is eager to lead his team against Byrnes on Friday.

C MICHAEL BERGEN — mbergen@thestate.com Buy Photo

Game on.

Byrnes High football coach Bobby Bentley heard the remarks of Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts from over the weekend loud and clear. According to to the Rebels’ coach, all the hoopla is unfounded. Bulletin board material is not needed.

The comment in question came from Knotts after the Silver Foxes eliminated Spring Valley on Friday night and the fourth-year coach found out the Rebels would be his next opponent.

Knotts said the Rebels were “dodging” the Silver Foxes in the regular season. Bentley said his program has not dodged anybody. He is welcoming the challenge Friday in the state semifinals of the Class 4A, Division I playoffs.

“I think our track record speaks for itself,” Bentley said. “We schedule anybody we want to schedule but we haven’t had a chance to fit them in the schedule. I think we played them three years ago. He said we dodged them, but we played them. We just go play the game. We try to play our game on the field, not with comments.”

The teams met in the second round of the 2010 playoffs, with Byrnes claiming a 31-14 victory.

But Knotts has repeatedly stated that Byrnes has been avoiding playing his teams during the regular season. The teams have not been able to reach an agreement to play during the 11-game regular season.

That leaves Knotts with the feeling his team is being “dodged.” .

Knotts said he wants to play the best teams the state has to offer, and the Rebels fit that criteria. They have claimed eight Class 4A titles since 2002 — four in Division I and four in Division II.

“We want to play Byrnes,” Knotts said after Friday’s victory. “They’ve been dodging us, they won’t play us in the regular season. I don’t care. I’ve been trying to play them for four years, and they won’t play us. Now they get to play us. I’m not saying we’re going to beat them, but we get to play them and that’s what we want to do.”

While Bentley prepares his team for Friday’s highly anticipated contest, he is ready to put to rest the controversial finish to his team’s 63-21 victory against Lexington in the second round.

The Rebels were ahead by 35 points but called a time out to throw a 12-yard touchdown pass in the waning seconds. The game had been emotional from the beginning and was getting chippy on both sides before the time out and subsequent touchdown pass. Personal fouls were accessed on both sides, and words were exchanged between the coaching staffs once the game ended. There was no postgame handshake between the teams.

“I guess it was a teachable moment for our kids that we’re going to protect each other and support each other” Bentley said on Monday. “We’re going to have each other’s back and it was in the heat of the moment of what we did. I don’t think it’s right in what they were trying to do (with the personal fouls). I’m very saddened and apologetic that the whole thing happened but we were in a response mode.”

“I hope we can put it rest. It’s so much positive things happening in athletics and we have a negative deal that gets twisted the wrong way. I hope everybody can put it behind them and move forward and learn from it.”

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