Story by Stephen Wise, Photo by Goflashwin
For the second year in a row, the football team will be playing for a state championship. After last Friday’s 24-14 victory over Fort Dorchester, Varsity football Coach Knotts has led his team to a 5A-best 28-1 record over the last two seasons.
“It’s state week. We have a chance to make history,” senior Christian Johnson said, “It’s bigger than it was last year because we can be the first ever back to back 5A state championships.”
Sports are a huge part of school culture, especially at a school as large as Dutch Fork. With a successful football team comes a boost in school spirit and an improved school atmosphere, and that spirit is at a peak before a game as big as the state championship.
“I think it is exciting and that it builds a sense of school pride regardless of whether you are on the team or not,” Erin Fuseler said, “We are recognized across the state and it gives a sense of being a part of that even if you are not a football player.”
Seniors like Jake Shull are excited about the possibility of winning a second-straight championship during their last year at Dutch Fork, since it is always better to go out on top.
“It’s kind of a great end to a great high school experience, being a senior and having your football team going to state,” Jake said “It brings a lot of joy and more memories to my years in high school.”
Last week’s victory over Fort Dorchester (Fort D) was a huge statement, as the Patriots were the lone team to beat Dutch Fork over the last two seasons. That win gives them confidence that they can take down any team in the state.
“The win over Fort D showed us that when we play together, nobody in the state can come close to beating us,” junior Kameron Stewart said.
Dorman is a familiar foe, as the two teams faced off twice in 2015, with Dutch Fork winning the first game and Dorman winning the second time in the playoffs.
“It gives us a reason to beat them, that was the last team before Fort D that beat us,” senior Joseue Pardedes said, “It’s time to finish up business this week.”
Players, students, teachers, and parents alike have certainly been buzzing with anticipation for Saturday’s game at Williams-Brice.
“It gives everyone an air of excitement and something to look forward to,”Laurie Seel said, “I’ve seen kids talking about it, students buying tickets for Saturday, and I have seen parents coming to the front office to buy tickets.”
The word “legacy” has come up a lot in conversation among the team. They want to build a tradition of championships, and the game Saturday offers them an opportunity to do just that. With pride, tradition, and that legacy on the line, this has become more than just a game.
“It’s a big deal because it is all a part of the legacy we are trying to build at Dutch Fork,” Kameren said, “We want to continue that streak of dominance in the state so everyone will know our name.”