Unbeaten Spring Valley hosts reigning state runner-up Dutch Fork in an all-Midlands slugfest in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A Division I state playoffs on Friday at Harry Parone Stadium.
Dutch Fork (9-3) has dominated the series through the years, winning 11 of 15 meetings including a current streak of five straight wins. Tom Knotts is 3-0 against the Vikings and coach Miles Aldridge since both veteran mentors arrived in the Midlands in 2009.
No one is expecting a defensive struggle.
Spring Valley (12-0) rolled by visiting Spartanburg 38-21 in the first round last week, overcoming a mistake-filled first half to send the Upstate Vikings packing. SV blanked Spartanburg in the second half, allowing an offensive net of 103 yards after the break.
Most significantly, Spring Valley limited Spartanburg’s potent passing game to just 6.9 yards per completion in the game, 5.0 per completion in the second half.
The big news in Dutch Fork’s 56-28 first-round romp over Fort Dorchester was the return of star running back Matt Colburn, who singed the Patriots for 364 yards and six touchdowns on 22 carries.
Let’s look at the offensive numbers:
Spring Valley’s triple-option attack is averaging 432.8 yards and 41.5 per game, most of which comes by land. The Vikings’ running game is averaging 369 yards and 7.5 yards per attempt.
John Miller is the go-to guy with 1,740 yards rushing and receiving and 34 overall touchdowns on the books. Quarterback Chris Adams has run for 1,221 yards and thrown for 766 yards and has nine scoring runs and 10 touchdown passes.
To say the SV passing game is an afterthought is a mistake. The Vikings broke open last week’s close game with a 99-yard scoring pass from Adams to Ryan Lee. Spring Valley picks its spot in the passing game, but the reward is usually a handsome one. Adams has a 20.7-yard average on his 37 completions.
Fullback Alec Koon (116-674-2) provided Spring Valley with a good dive option if it is there.
Defensively, linebackers Josh Harlan and Christian Miller are the headliners. Harlan is averaging 14.5 tackles per game, while All-America candidate Miller has 140 tackles, 24 TFL, 23 sacks and a number of blocked kicks on his report card.
Spring Valley has already established a number of program records, including the first unbeaten regular season in school history and a new single-season scoring record. They can match the single-season record for wins this week.
Dutch Fork has the offensive numbers, as well. The big difference between the two attacks is DF is much more balanced. The Silver Foxes average 477.6 yards and 44.3 points per game, with a run-pass split of 2,795 yards to 2,936.
Colburn is the reason Knotts has been more ground oriented than he was in North Carolina. The senior game-breaker has 1,861 yards to date and 34 touchdowns – the same as John Miller.
Quarterback Derek Olenchuk, like Adams a three-year starter, is 203-for-285 passing for 2,791 yards and 32 TDs. Deion Frasier (66-862-10) and Austin Ruger (41-679-7) are the top receivers.
Lane Ecton (98 tackles7 TFL, 3 sacks, 7 PBU, 2 fumbles recoveries, 4 blocked kicks), Matt Lusk (74 tackles), Dominique Scott (52 tackles, 11 TFL, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) and Omar Staley are key players on the defensive side.