Story by Josh German
Photo by Sam Aaron
After three straight state championship appearances and one state championship title, the streak is over for head coach Tom Knotts and the Dutch Fork varsity football team. Friday’s home playoff loss against Dorman high school officially marked the end of shortcoming, but successful Varsity football season.
While the ultimate goal of winning a state championship wasn’t reached for the Silver Foxes, there’s many things to look at that the team accomplished this season. En route to its fifth straight region title, the team finished with a 9-4 overall record including two shutout victories over Lugoff-Elgin and rival Irmo.
Among the many achievements this year, possibly the biggest award received was head coach Tom Knotts winning North and South Carolina Head Coach of the Week, presented by the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers.
“There’s two things that I like [about the award]. One, it shows the pro teams are taking an interest in the high school level. The second thing, I am the head coach, but any awards I get are a reflection of the assistants and the players. I’m proud of the job the players have done with all the adversity we’ve faced this year,” Knotts said.
Knotts’ history speaks for itself and his players realize the success that he has had in years past in the sport.
“He’s a fierce competitor and he loves to win. Going into the game, we all know that he will put us in the best position to come out of the game successful,” senior Rhyan General said.
Due to his success, many players enjoy playing for Knotts.
“It’s pretty fun actually because he
His coaching style isn’t always liked by his players, as there are a few things that the players do not prefer about him.
“He yells a lot, but it’s because we’re not living up to the high expectations that he has for us personally and as a team,” Rhyan said.
Despite the yelling, his coaching methods are effective on the field and off.
“…as a coach he helps bring the better out of you as a player and person. He makes you more competitive and that can benefit you in football and your future in life,” junior Jahuvn Benson said.
Despite the magnitude of the award, Coach Knotts puts team achievements over personal achievements.
“It’s pretty far down there [on the list of accomplishments] to be honest, it’s nice that a pro organization would recognize us. But as far as accomplishments, it’s not up there very high,” Knotts said.
The reason behind his success can be directly attributed to the time and dedication he and his players put into accomplishing their goals.
“I’m very diligent. I’m always prepared. I just have the philosophy that nobody is going to outwork me. I think I have a good knowledge. And I kind of live by the adage that God didn’t put me on this earth to be ordinary,” Knotts said.
This season didn’t end where Knotts or the players hoped it would, but there are plenty of positive things to build off of for next season and beyond.
“I prepared for this season game by game. From the first scrimmage to the first game and the last one,” Knotts said. “We’re putting in our diligence, studying the opponent, practicing hard, and preparing like it was our last game.”