Dutch Fork’s Tom Knotts didn’t have the body language of a coach who was headed to his third straight state championship game.
Knotts was disappointed in the way his players carried themselves late in the 47-14 win over Summerville in the Class 5A Lower State championship game. The win puts the Silver Foxes in the title game against TL Hanna on Dec. 8 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
But instead of celebrating another championship trip and his 400th career victory, Knotts had harsh words about his team. On Dutch Fork’s final TD in the fourth quarter, Silver Foxes quarterback Ty Olenchuk was hit well after he crossed the goal line. The Silver Foxes were then flagged for their own penalty and had words for the Summerville student section.
“It is breaking my heart that the guys act like that,” Knotts said. “They see it on TV. I’m hard on them and I’m going to run the crap out of them on Monday. But a lot of it was in response to what the other team was doing. I just don’t understand kids.
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“We are going to a state championship but I am not pleased with how our team is acting. That is not me. They say your team is a reflection of your coach. If that is me, I’m hanging it up.”
Dutch Fork was flagged for seven penalties for 100 yards, and Summerville seven times for 103 yards. It was the second straight game the Silver Foxes went over 100 yards in penalties. Knotts hopes that gets cleaned up by next week.
“TL Hanna is liable to punch us in the mouth with the wing-T. They scored 50-something against Byrnes,” Knotts said. “We are liable to act like that when someone punches us in the mouth. I don’t know what kind of team we will have next week.”
The players said they know they need to clean up their act and stop with the silly penalties.
“People coming to play Dutch Fork are going to be chippy and going to try to get us off our game,” Olenchuk said. “I got to tell my guys that will cost us in the state championship. We got to stay on our game.”
“I didn’t like how they treated our quarterback after they scored,” receiver Jalin Hyatt said. “We just got to learn how not to react.”
The end of the game performance overshadowed another dominant performance by Dutch Fork’s offense. The Silver Foxes failed to score 50 points for the first time this year but scored on all five possessions in the first half to lead 33-7.
Dutch Fork scored on its second play of the game when Olenchuk hit Hyatt on 54-yard touchdown pass and followed that up with a 12-yard score on the next possession.
“We have been drawing that up all week,” Hyatt said of the first TD. “If Gage (Zirke) didn’t get the ball on the first play, they were going to be tired. It worked out perfectly.”
Then the first play after Summerville cut the lead to 13-7, Olenchuk threw an 84-yard pass to Zirke, who caught it and shook past the defender to make it 19-7.
Olenchuk was 13-of-22 for 268 yards and three touchdown passes. He also ran for two scores. He needs one more TD to tie Erik Kimrey’s school record for TD passes in a season with 40.
Zirke finished with four catches for 153 yards and Hyatt has six catches for 102 yards. Running back Ron Hoff rushed for 142 yards and a TD.
Dutch Fork outgained Summerville 493-306. The Silver Foxes defense forced two turnovers, including an interception of Summerville quarterback Jonathan Bennett.
Bennett finished with 173 yards passing and a TD.
DF – Hyatt 54 pass from Olenchuk (kick failed)
DF – Hyatt 12 pass from Olenchuk (Newboult kick)
S – Larry 14 run (Olson kick)
DF – Zirke 84 pass from Olenchuk (kick failed)
DF – Underwood 1 run (Newboult kick)
DF – Olenchuk 8 run
DF – Hoff 17 run (Newboult kick)
DF – Olenchuk 4 run (Newboult kick)
S – Glover 44 pass from Bennett (Olson kick)
Rushing: DF: Hoff, 15-142, Olenchuk 4-21, Underwood 7-35, Hall 4-20. S: Larry 13-84, Banks 6-25, Rios 3-17, Bennett 8-7
Passing: DF: Olenchuk 13-23-1 257. S: Bennett 12-20-1 173
Receiving: DF: Hyatt 6-102, Hoff 2-7, Zirke 4-153, Spencer 1-6. S: Banks 5-61, Glover 2-63, Hopkins 2-28. Larry 2-16