Dutch Fork and Spring Valley played a classic 4A Division I playoff game that came down to a field goal in overtime Friday.
When Tyler Bass’s 27-yard field goal split the uprights on the first play of the Silver Foxes’ overtime possession, Dutch Fork claimed a dramatic 31-28 victory in front of about 4,500 fans at Harry Parone Stadium. When it was over, the Vikings players were sprawled across the wet grass in agony while the Silver Fox players celebrated wildly in the middle of the field.
“It was a battle,” Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts said. “Both teams played their butts off. They have a great team, and we didn’t slow them down until we had to. We’re going to go back to work next week. We practice on Thanksgiving.”
Spring Valley coach Miles Aldridge had no regrets about the decision he made on the Vikings’ possession in the extra period.
Spring Valley had the ball first and reached the 2-yard line, where itand faced fourth down. Aldridge sent the field goal unit onto the field but after both teams called time out, Aldridge elected to go for the touchdown. John Miller never had a chance as he slipped down in the backfield for a 3-yard loss.
“It was closer than I thought it was,” Aldridge said of the decision to go for it. “At first, I thought it was four or five yards, and I saw it was around two and I thought we could make it. I thought we needed to to try and win the game. I didn’t think a field goal in that situation was good enough.”
Knotts wasted little time in sending in Bass, a junior who is perfect on field goals this season.
“I knew I had to make it,” Bass said. “I had to do it for my team. I just stayed calm, cool and collected because that is the job of a kicker. It all came down to me, and I finished the job off to get us the W.”
Dutch Fork (10-3) tied the score with 41 seconds remaining. The Silver Foxes forced Spring Valley to punt from deep in its territory and took over on its 36-yard line with three time outs and 4:45 remaining.
That’s when the Silver Foxes turned to running back Matt Colburn. Bottled up for most of the night, Colburn carried the ball eight times on the 13-play, 64-yard season-saving drive. Dutch Fork converted three third downs, with Colburn carrying the ball the final three plays in the drive. He broke free to the 1-yard line on third-and-3 from the 15 and scored on the next play with 41 seconds remaining.
“It looked like they were getting worn down a little,” Knotts said. “If we just held our blocks and stopped backside penetration, Matt was bound to break one, because that is what he does. We kept pounding, watching the clock and keeping it on our sidelines so we could get out of bounds if we had to.”
Quarterback Derek Olenchuk, who finished 24-for-33 for 258 yards and three first-half touchdowns, knew Colburn was going to get his shot.
“Coming out passing the ball the first three quarters really opened the running lanes,” Olenchuk said. “I told Matt to be patient and your shot and opportunity is going to come.”
Colburn finished with a hard-earned 116 yards on 26 carries, with his 14-yard carry before the touchdown being his longest run of the night.
“We kept telling Matt, ’you have to make a play,’ ” Knotts said. “He said he was slipping down, but he came and made plays when he had to. I’m just real proud of our seniors. That was a great football team we played.”
That final drive will haunt Aldridge along with the fact his defense couldn’t get off the field. Dutch Fork converted 9 of 12 third downs and was 1-for-1 on fourth down.
“They got four or five yards and kept the chains moving and finally broke one,” Aldridge said. “Defensively, we played halfway good. He didn’t have a lot of long runs, he had a bunch of 4- or 5-yard runs. They’re a good football team, though.”
Spring Valley (12-1) got three touchdowns from Chris Adams, two passing and one rushing, in the first half. Josh Harlan scored the only second-half touchdown as the Vikings were limited to 118 yards of total offense after the half. Miller finished with 135 yards on 21 carries.
“I’m real proud of these kids,” Aldridge said. “They played winning football tonight but didn’t win. They played hard, and that game could have gone either way. It just went the wrong way for us. I’m extremely proud of them. They had a heck of year.”
Dutch Fork will travel to Byrnes, a 63-21 winner against Lexington, in the third round of the Class 4A playoffs. It’s a match-up that Knotts said he’s wanted for a long time.
“We want to play Byrnes,” Knotts said. “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.”
DF – Alex DeBoer 10 pass from Derek Olenchuk (Tyler Bass kick) 7:21
SV – Chris Adams 8 run (Cooper Gresham kick) 2:40
SV – Jordan Foster 58 pass from Adams (Gresham kick) 10:40
DF – Austin Ruger 4 pass Olenchuk (Bass kick) 1:56
SV – Foster 10 pass from Adams (Gresham kick) 0:39
SV – Deion Frasier 8 pass from Olenchuk (Bass kick) 0:17
SV – Josh Harlan 1 run (Gresham kick) 5:39
DF – Matt Colburn 1 run (Bass kick) 0:41
DF – Bass 27 FG
Rushing: DF – Matt Colburn 26-116, Austin Connor 3-23, KJ Williams 2-13 Derek Olenchuk 2-11. SV – John Miller 21-135, Chris Adams 18-83, Ryan Lee 4-15, Josh Harlan 4-12, Alec Koon 3-5.
Passing: DF – Olenchuk 24-33-0-258, Julian Heyward 0-1-0-0. SV – Adams 5-7-0-110
Receiving: DF – Deion Frasier 10-114, Julian Heyward 4-0, Colburn 2-12, Jo’mal Aiken 2-61 Austin Ruger 2-27. Williams 2-5, Alex DeBoer 1-10, Austin Connor 1-9. SV – Jordan Foster 2-68, Lee 2-35, Miller 1-7.