Dutch Fork, Lexington battle for second in region

By Thomas Grant Jr.

The Region 4-5A title may have been settled last week by White Knoll, which has a bye before the playoffs.

However, the stakes are very high this week in the final two games of the regular season in the region.

In one matchup, defending Class 5A champion Dutch Fork plays host to Lexington. It’s the WACH 57 Sonic Friday Night Rivals Game of the Week and can be seen on Channel 1250 on Spectrum Cable or streamed online at www.wach.com.

The winner will clinch second place in the region and will open the Upper State playoffs at home.

Dutch Fork (4-5, 2-1) has won the last nine meetings over the Wildcats (7-2, 2-1) dating back to 2012. Having not won a share of the region title for the first time under head coach Tom Knotts, the Silver Foxes also look to prevent his first-ever losing season.

Lexington first-year head coach Dustin Curtis was asked if his players will have to overcome thinking about Dutch Fork’s mystique from its past success.

“Maybe it is for the kids, but our guys need to see that they are still really, really good, but they have been beaten this season,” he said. “Our goal is to just worry about us and what we have to do to play well. Coach Knotts has the offense ticking up and their defense is as good as any in the state.”

Defense has remained a team strength for the Silver Foxes. Since allowing 85 points during the 0-3 start, the Silver Foxes have given up a total of 61 points in the past six games.

Dutch Fork defensive lineman Terrance Wells

It starts up front with sack leader defensive end Josh Smith and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives selections Dakota Jordan and Terrance Wells. Senior safety Deon Winsley leads the Silver Foxes in tackles, cornerbacks Peyton Betts and Elgin Sessions have combined for six of the team’s eight interceptions and linebackers Raleigh Salters and Bryce Nutail shore up the middle of the defense.

Dutch Fork’s offense had its best showing of the season in the 56-3 rout of River Bluff. Back from injury, quarterback Jon Hunt threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns and running backs Maurice Anderson and Trent Lodge each had two rushing touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Lexington rebounded from the 16-0 shutout loss to White Knoll with a decisive 48-18 win over Aiken. Matt McAulay rushed for 114 yards and quarterback Taiden Mines threw for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

On defense, senior Christian Sexton returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown. Earlier in the week, he was selected to the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl on Dec. 9 at Doug Shaw Stadium in Myrtle Beach. He will play for the South team.

Feature photo: Dutch Fork defensive lineman Dakota Jordan