Lou Bezjak

Dutch Fork, Spring Valley staying focused with big matchup on horizon

Spring Valley coach Robin Bacon and the Vikings are 7-0 on season. Spring Valley plays River Bluff this week before big matchup against Dutch Fork.
Spring Valley coach Robin Bacon and the Vikings are 7-0 on season. Spring Valley plays River Bluff this week before big matchup against Dutch Fork. The State File photo

Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts and Spring Valley’s Robin Bacon have two objectives this week.

The obvious is to get their teams ready for this week’s opponents. Dutch Fork takes on White Knoll, while the Vikings face River Bluff at Spirit Communications Park. But the secondary goal is to keep their players’ minds off what lies ahead — when Dutch Fork hosts Spring Valley next week with the Region 5-5A title at stake.

“Overconfidence is a killer of good teams. We’ve got to work really hard and stay focused,” Bacon said. “These can be trap games if you don’t stay focused. We have stressed it is a one-game season each week, and we will be prepared for River Bluff which is playing extremely well.”

Dutch Fork and Spring Valley came into the season as the two favorites in the region and lived up to that. The Vikings are 7-0 with all wins by 13 points or more. Spring Valley has scored 40 or more points in six of the seven wins.

Dutch Fork (5-1) has been on a roll after losing to Fort Dorchester on Sept. 1. Since the loss, the Silver Foxes have won four straight and outscored their opponents, 203-23.

“We think we got the team,” Knotts said after win against Westwood two weeks ago. “We didn’t show it against Fort Dorchester, but that is my fault. We will make it up to the guys as we move along.”

Region 5-5A logjam

While Spring Valley and Dutch Fork have separated themselves from rest of Region 5-5A, it’s a crowded bunch behind them.

Lexington (2-2) sits in third place and has games left against Blythewood and White Knoll. After the Wildcats, it is Blythewood (1-2), White Knoll (1-2), River Bluff (1-3) and Irmo (1-3). The top five teams are guaranteed to make the postseason with the sixth-place finisher up for an at-large spot.

Shrine Bowl

Rosters for the 2017 Shrine Bowl will be announced at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The announcement will be streamed on the Shrine Bowl’s Facebook page. The game will take place Dec. 16 at Wofford College.

Dramatic wins for Swansea, Pelion

Swansea and Pelion earned dramatic wins for their first region victories of season.

Swansea defeated Strom Thurmond 36-35 while Pelion beat Edisto 29-27 in overtime. The Tigers got the ball on the 4-yard line with 1:50 left and drove 96 yards, capped off by Keenan Coates’ 20-yard pass to Devin White with 16.9 seconds left. Kendall Brooks ran in the two-point conversion after Strom Thurmond was called for roughing the kicker on extra-point attempt.

The game-winning drive featured a 61-yard pass from Coates to White on fourth-and-15. It was Swansea’s first win against the Rebels since 1972.

In Pelion’s game, Jeremiah Green had the game-winning TD, and Dayrun Keith ran in the two-point conversion in overtime. After Edisto scored on its possession in OT, the Panthers made a stop on the two-point conversion to seal it.

So close again

Mid-Carolina lost its 19th consecutive game Friday with a 28-26 loss to Clinton.

The Rebels have come close on several occasions this year with four of eight losses by seven points or less. M-C was stopped on a two-point conversion with 1:24 left Friday night.

This week’s stars

Jeremiah Green, Pelion – Running back rushed for 275 yards and game-winning touchdown in overtime for Panthers

Amir Abrams, Newberry – Senior went more than 5,000 yards rushing and 80 touchdowns in his career after 221-yard, five-TD game against Broome

Lucas Prickett, Hammond – Had eight catches for 166 yards, including a 99-yard TD win against Porter-Gaud

Bryce Thompson, Dutch Fork – Tailback rushed for 188 yards, four TDs and completed both of his passing attempts and caught three passes in win against Lexington

Looking ahead

Here are some of top games this week:

Bamberg-Ehrhardt at Batesburg-Leesville – Batesburg-Leesville will try to shake off its Barnwell loss with a matchup against its second consecutive ranked foe.

Blythewood at Lexington – A Lexington win should guarantee them the third spot in Region 5-5A.

Chapin at Lower Richland – Chapin going for sixth consecutive win against Diamond Hornets and 3-0 start in region play

Lugoff-Elgin at Hartsville – Region 6-4A title likely going to winner of this game

Ridge View at Richland Northeast – Loser goes to 0-3 in Region 3-4A and playoff chances dwindle

Strom Thurmond at Gilbert – Gilbert could take another step to the Region 5-3A title with win. Indians already have wins against Swansea and Brookland-Cayce.