Dutch Fork will try to win its second consecutive Class 4A, Division I championship on Saturday. Here’s a look at five unsung heroes on this year’s team:
1. KYLE OLENCHUK
Olenchuk, who started at center in last year’s championship game, was a tight end at the start of this season.
“We thought Kyle could help us more at tight end, and he did,” Dutch Fork line coach Bucky Tillotson said. “He’s going to help us wherever he plays.”
Olenchuk played six games at tight end, catching nine passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
The Silver Foxes moved him back to center to fill in for an injured teammate, and coaches said it made sense to keep him there.
“He’s very consistent, and very coachable. He knows all of our pass protections and is just great at executing,” Tillotson said.
2. PAUL RHYNE
This first-year starter earns praise from his coaches for his intellect and his attitude. Coach Tom Knotts said, in addition to being a solid lineman, Rhyne is an honor student and part of Dutch Fork’s rigorous STEM program. He applies the same studious approach to mastering the Silver Foxes’ blocking schemes.
“He has done a really great job at right guard, because he’s smart, he’s aggressive and he’s very consistent,” Tillotson said.
3. ALEC DEBOER
“He’s a great kid,” Knotts said. “He came to us from a private school, but he’d been right here in our area. And he’s mad e a big impact for us.”
DeBoer has made more catches (53) than any of the other Silver Fox receivers, and is the Silver Foxes’ second-leading receiver in yardage, with 724 yards and six touchdowns.
He is also a key player on special teams, where he has fielded 21 punts, with 150 return yards, helping the Silver Foxes win the battle for field position.
4. DOMINIQUE SCOTT
This year, Scott is the team’s third-leading tackler, with 81 tackles, behind Mick Lusk and Lane Ecton.
Until last week’s semifinal game, Scott was quietly leading the Silver Fox defense in sacks and tackles for loss. But, Scott made hay in that game, with four sacks. That pushed his season total to 18 sacks for losses of 70 yards. He also has made 39 tackles for losses of 99 yards, and is No. 1 in program history with 60 career TFL, and No. 2 with 24 career sacks.
5. MALIK SUMTER
This 6-foot-1, 251-pound two-way player is part of the future of the Silver Foxes’ program.
On offense, Sumter is tenacious and “does a real good job of staying on blocks,” which is a big part of the reason Dutch Fork has gathered 7,269 offensive yards this season.
Sumter does not have big stats on defense – eight tackles and two sacks – but, Tillotson said, “He’s pretty good at both and we want to keep him out there. That’s why he’s playing both sides of the ball.”