Dutch Fork began the season much like it ended the previous one. The defending Class 4A, Division I state champion got four touchdowns from Matt Colburn and turned a close game into a comfortable 45-19 victory against Greenwood in the featured contest of the Battle on the Bluff action Friday night at River Bluff.
Colburn had scoring runs of 49, 4, 47 and 6 yards and finished with 146 yards on 18 carries. It was the type of performance Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts has come to expect from his workhorse.
“We fully know what Matt is capable of,” Knotts said. “Matt is going to make some plays and hurt some people. At 190 pounds, I can’t keep running him 30 times a game and expect him to be with me when we really want to make a run.”
Dan Pippen, the first-year coach at Greenwood, is familiar with Colburn from his days at North Augusta, where they were region rivals. He saw what he thought he would.
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“He’s one of the most underrated backs I’ve ever played against,” Pippen said. “He had (2,400) yards last year and they won a state championship. We can’t make the mistakes we made and expect to beat that team. I told coach Knotts that is a better team than we played against last year at North Augusta. We just have to get better offensively.”
Even with the outing by Colburn and 467 yards of total offense, Knotts wasn’t satisfied.
“I have six great receivers and a quarterback with a lot of potential.,” he said. “I know I looked like a bone-headed coach, and I will take the blame, but I kept putting the pressure on them with hopes they would perform like they’re capable of. They did at times, but we’re a work in progress. We’ll keep working at it, but thank goodness for Matt Colburn.”
Dutch Fork used a 17-point blitz in the third quarter to break open a two-point game. Greenwood scored on the first play of the second half when Kishawn Wright scooped up a fumble and returned it 18 yards to make it 21-19 with nearly two full quarters to play.
Jo’mal Aiken turned the momentum right back to the Silver Foxes with a 74-yard kick-off return to the Eagles’ 25-yard line. Tyler Bass converted a 36-yard field goal before Dutch Fork used a little trickery on its next possession. After a three-and-out by Greenwood, Aiken caught a lateral from Tate Fant and threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Alec DeBoer to make it 31-19 with 8:38 remaining in the third quarter.
“We’re flat coming and they score to make it 21-19, and I was just proud of the defense,” Knotts said. “We had a trick play to open the lead back up and that got the defense energized again.”
Colburn did the bulk of the work on the next series. He took a short screen pass 52 yards to the Eagles’ 6-yard line adding his final score of the evening.
Colburn, a Louisville commitment, was the offensive catlyst He finished with 2,488 yards and 40 touchdowns last season and has added about 25 pounds to his 5-foot-9 frame. Knotts wanted to limit his touches early in the season but used him just enough against the Eagles.
Colburn didn’t touch the ball on Dutch Fork’s first two possessions, but on his second carry of the night, took a zone-read play 49 yards down the right sideline to give the Silver foxes a 7-0 lead with 4:27 remaining in the first quarter.
Jeremy Addison set up the Silver Foxes’ next score when he corralled his second interception of the game and returned it to the Greenwood 4-yard line. Colburn took his next carry in from four yards and it was 14-0.
Greenwood answered with a 40-yard scoring run, but Colburn struck quickly again. He raced 47 yards on the next Silver Foxes series to increase the lead to 21-6.
As always, Colburn gave the credit to an offensive line that has four new starters.
“I want to thank the O-line,” Colburn said. “They’ve done a heck of a job. We’ve been getting heat from the coaches because they don’t have the size as last year but they’re really smart. They opened the holes, and I got the chance to do what I love doing.”
The Dutch Fork defense that allowed 219 yards in the first half limited Greenwood to 57 yards in the second half. They intercepted three passes – two by Addison.
DF – Matt Colburn 49 run (Tyler Bass kick) 4:27
DF – Colburn 4 run (Bass kick) 2:24
G – DJ Wright 40 run (kick blocked) 5:17
DF – Colburn 47 run (Bass kick) 3:01
G – Markeyvious Adams 12 run (run failed)
G – Kishawn Wright 18 fumble return (Jack Pierce kick) 11:43
DF – Tyler Bass 36 FG 10:17
DF – Alex DeBoer 58 pass from Jo’Mal Aiken (Bass kick) 8:39
DF – Colburn 6 run (Bass kick) 5:19
DF – Bobby Irby 41 run (Bass kick) 7:47
G – DJ Wright`12-55, CJ Jackson 8-32, Markeyvious Adams 2-17, Roshun Jackson 9-14, Malik Carter 2-5. DF – Matt Colburn 18-146, Tate Fant 4-(-3), Jo’mal Aiken 1-5, Bryce Thompson 1-1, Bobby Irby 1-41, Clayton Jones 3-18, Chris Colburn 3-3.
G – CJ Jackson 10-23-3-130, R. Jackson 1-3-0-24. DF – Fant 16-29-1-198, Aiken 1-1-0-58
G – Adams 6-89, Myquerris McGrier 1-58, Roshun Jackson 1-5, Jamir Watts 1-0, Wright 2-2. DF – Alex DeBoer 4-90, Aiken 1-9, Kyle Olenchuk 4-30, Will Sweeper 3-36, Ward Hacklin 2-18, Colburn 2-61, Austin Connor 1-12.