Tom Knotts wasn’t sure when his Dutch Fork football team planned on showing up.
The Silver Foxes, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, slugged it out with a seemingly outmanned Spring Valley on Friday night at Harry Parone Stadium. And through three quarters, it was the Vikings who held the upper hand. But a dominant performance over the final 12 minutes was enough to secure a win and send Dutch Fork into a pivotal Region 4-4A showdown next week.
“We wondered when the light would come on,” he said. “I’m not sure it came on too bright, but it came on to some extent.”
Spring Valley (5-4, 1-2) took a 12-10 advantage into the final quarter and appeared poised to remain in the region championship hunt with an upset. That was, until, Dutch Fork (7-2, 3-0) used a few timely breaks to go back on top.
The Silver Foxes converted a third-and-long deep in their own territory, then watched as Spring Valley cornerback Cameron Jones dropped an easy interception in the red zone. Matt Colburn made the Vikings pay for their errors, as his two-yard touchdown run with a little more than seven minutes to play put Dutch Fork up for good.
“That was it,” coach Jerry Brown said. “We had a third-and-long and then an interception. We just didn’t get it done.”
It wasn’t just Brown’s defense that fell apart. The Vikings went on top by two midway through the third quarter after quarterback Ryan Lee found R.J. Bacon on a 26-yard touchdown pass, but were silenced from that point on. They failed to register a first down the rest of the way and then watched from the sidelines as the Dutch Fork offense milked the clock.
“We just fell apart in the fourth quarter,” Brown said. “We did everything wrong.”
Colburn handled most of the dirty work for the Silver Foxes, as the senior finished with 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 42-yard scamper late in the second half that gave Dutch Fork a 10-6 halftime advantage.
“We were still trying to figure them out the whole game,” he said. “They were playing us very well, especially on the edge. They kept slanting and pushing our tight ends back across the field where we were running. It finally opened up, I just knew I had to give it time.”
Dutch Fork’s attention now turns to next week’s showdown against No. 5 Westwood, which improved to 9-0 Friday with a 35-0 victory against Blythewood. The winner will claim the Region 4-4A championship and assure itself at least one home playoff game.
“I have not even seem them on film,” Knotts said. “I saw them some on 7-on-7. I know they’re athletic. But we’re going to enjoy this one for a day or two.”
DF – Tyler Bass 40 field goal 1:35
SV – Alec Koon 35 run (Cooper Gresham kick failed) 9:33
DF – Matt Colburn 42 run (Bass kick) 2:51
SV – R.J. Bacon 26 catch from Ryan Lee (run failed) 7:02
DF – Colburn 2 run (Colburn run) 7:45
DF – Tate Fant 2 run (Bass kick) 3:16
DF – Matt Colburn 22-142, Bryce Thompson 2-9, Tate Fant 7-(-2); SV – Ryan Lee 12-58, Alec Koon 11-58, Ty’Juan Fulton 8-52, Bryson Jones 6-39.
DF – Tate Fant 23-31-0-189; SV – Ryan Lee 4-7-1-69.
DF – Will Sweeper 7-77, Alec DeBoer 6-67, Jo’mal Aiken 5-30, Matt Colburn 2-10, Austin Conner 2-9, Bryce Thompson 1-(-4); SV – R.J. Bacon 2-40, Ty’Juan Fulton 1-16, Kiyon Nelson 1-13.