High School Football

Dutch Fork message for state title game: Keep your cool if things get chippy

Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts was vocal with his displeasure for how his team behaved during Friday’s Class 5A Lower State championship game against Summerville.

Two days after the game, Knotts still was unhappy how his team responded in the 47-14 win. In most instances, however, he said it was his team reacting to something the opposition did.

“In hindsight, all of our stuff except for one player was in response to something Summerville did. In football, you’ve got to be smarter than that,” Knotts said Monday at the news conference for Friday’s title game against TL Hanna. “It wasn’t us being the instigators, but I had warned the team (in a last Sunday meeting) that Summerville was a confrontational team but not to respond or hurt your team in any way. That is what drew my ire to what happened. There was only one incident we crossed the line.”

The incident was likely when Dutch Fork players made a gesture to the Summerville students and fans after a late score where quarterback Ty Olenchuk was hit by a defender three or four yards deep in the end zone after his touchdown run.

Summerville was flagged for a personal foul and then Dutch Fork players were penalized after coming to the defense of their quarterback.

“Ty goes to score a touchdown and three yards in end zone he gets leveled. That would have brought a brawl in pro or college,” Knotts said. “They responded how I wanted them to (defending Ty). With the taunting that went on, my guys went and gestured to the stands. That was part I didn’t like.”

“Dude hit me three seconds late. I’m with my guys jumping in their face,” Olenchuk said. “To the point where we were showboating in the end zone. That’s where it gets arrogant and crossing the line.”

Olenchuk said Knotts spent about an hour of Sunday’s team meeting about playing smarter and not wanting to respond if things get chippy this week against TL Hanna. He also saidthe team won’t warm up shirtless before the game, something it did the previous two playoff games.

Dutch Fork players also caught grief from Summerville fans for stepping on the logo at the 50-yard line before the game.

Knotts said no player will miss the championship game because of their behavior from last week’s game.

“We got to get rid of the individual stuff, come together as a team,” Dutch Fork defensive back Hugh Ryan said. “We represent Dutch Fork High School. We’ve got to celebrate with our team. We are a confident team in what we can do. We just have to scale back in some things.”

SC football state championship schedule


At Benedict College

Class A

Green Sea Floyds vs. Lamar, 5 p.m.

Class 2A

Abbeville vs. Barnwell, 8 p.m.

At Williams-Brice Stadium

Class 4A

Myrtle Beach vs. Greer, 1 p.m.

Class 3A

Dillon vs. Chester, 4 p.m.

Class 5A

Dutch Fork vs. TL Hanna, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $12


Friday’s games will be streamed on www.nfhsnetwork.com (subscription required).

The Class 3A, 4A and 5A games will be will be streamed on www.nfhsnetwork.com and carried locally on WACH Fox 57.2 (TWC 1250) and across the state on WCIV 36.1 (MyTV Charleston) in Charleston, Asheville/Greenville on WMYA MyTV 40 and in Florence/Myrtle Beach on WWMB CW21.

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Lou Bezjak is the High School Sports Prep Coordinator for The State and Island Packet. He has covered high school sports in South Carolina for 16 years and is a two-time South Carolina Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.