High School Football

Nichols, Dutch Fork rally, stay unbeaten

Dutch Fork quarterback Reese Nichols runs for a long touchdown in the fourth quarter during the game between Dutch Fork and Spring Valley.
Dutch Fork quarterback Reese Nichols runs for a long touchdown in the fourth quarter during the game between Dutch Fork and Spring Valley. jblake@thestate.com

Dutch Fork proved why it is the top-ranked team in Class 5A.

The Silver Foxes took Spring Valley’s best shots, but still came out on top 30-19.

“We have a refuse-to-lose mentality,” Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts said. “We have to play better. We’re living dangerously. I don’t know when we’re going to learn our lesson.”

Spring Valley’s strategy was to limit Dutch Fork’s offensive opportunities in hopes of grinding out an upset victory. It worked for three quarters as the Vikings held a 19-14 lead heading into the final period.

“We did a great job at the beginning of the third quarter, holding the ball for almost 8 minutes, then getting a score,” Spring Valley coach Robin Bacon said. “We wanted to keep them cold, and I felt like we did that up until the last quarter.

After a Ford Williams field goal cut Spring Valley’s lead to 19-17, the Vikings misplayed the kickoff and were forced to start at their own 10. Dutch Fork’s defense held and gave the Silver Foxes the ball at the Spring Valley 48.

“We had done such a good job of field position, but that kickoff really hurt us,” Bacon said.

On the first play of the drive, Reese Nichols rushed 48 yards for what was to be the game-winning score. Nichols finished the game with 234 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Dutch Fork moves to 8-0 and 4-0 in region play. The Silver Foxes face Irmo next week before an end of the year showdown with Lexington.

TURNING POINT

With Dutch Fork leading by four, Blake Branham intercepted a Spring Valley pass deep in Silver Foxes territory. Dutch Fork’s ensuing possession went for a touchdown to push the lead to 11 points.

KEY PERFORMERS

Nichols: Dutch Fork quarterback rushed for 234 yards on 13 carries, and scored two touchdowns.

Dutch Fork defense: Came up with two big stops in the fourth quarter to stop Spring Valley’s momentum. Taylor Wiggins, Johnathan Springfield and Blake Branham all had big plays.

KEY NUMBERS

31:31: Spring Valley’s time of possession compared to Dutch Fork’s 16:29.

174: Dutch Fork’s difference in total yards despite running 23 less plays.

THEY SAID IT

“We want to prove we’re the best” – Dutch Fork quarterback Nichols, when asked about taking every team’s best shot each week.

“Nobody wants to play the Georgia Tech’s and Citadel’s because of that offense. We shouldn’t have won the game.” – Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts on Spring Valley’s style of play.

HOW THEY SCORED

1st Quarter

DF: Ron Hoff 1 yard run – Ford Williams kick (10:57)

SV: Terrell Jackson 3 yard run – kick missed (4:15)

DF: Hoff 45 yard run – Williams kick (2:46)

2nd Quarter

SV: Tate I’auolauo 1 yard run – Jake Hamilton kick (7:09)

3rd Quarter

SV: Quincy Hill 1 yard pass to Da’Prince Haynes – conversion failed (4:24)

4th Quarter

DF: Ford Williams 38 yard field goal (9:24)

DF: Reese Nichols 48 yard run – conversion failed (7:26)

DF: Nichols 2 yard run – Williams kick (3:22)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: DF: Reese Nichols 13-234-2, Ron Hoff 17-170-2 SV: Quincy Hill 14-54, Terrell Jackson 14-70-1, Tate I’aulualo 13-38, KeAndre Jones 8-43

Passing: DF: Reese Nichols 5-12-75 SV: Quincy Hill 8-17-80-1

Receiving: DF: Bobby Irby 4-63, Austin Conner 1-12 SV: Cameron Thomas 3-35, KeAndre Jones 2-27, Kiyon Nelson 1-16, Da’Prince Haynes 1-1-1

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