Posted On: 04/2/21 9:30 AM
Every year, the rest of Class 5A in South Carolina utters something along the lines of “Dutch Fork has gotta run out of steam sometime, right?”
And each fall, those hopeful others are left wondering what could have been.
Despite some big-name challengers with top-notch talent, the Silver Foxes have won five straight Class 5A titles. For those not keeping score at home, that’s all of them since the Palmetto State went to five classifications. It’s created a scenario where the early season prognosticators are essentially going with either the field or Tom Knotts’ team.
Believe us when we tell you it’s gonna take something special to take down Dutch Fork in 2021, too. Consider this - of last year’s roster, 20 players were seniors. But basically every number on that roster was filled, meaning 70-plus others with varsity experience return.
Yes, Knotts has the next crop of future standouts ready to go and defend what has only been theirs.
Back-to-back future Clemson baseball hurlers have led this offense. And while the Silver Foxes wait to see what shakes out at quarterback for 2021, there’s no question as to the two biggest targets this fall. All-everything rising senior Antonio Williams Antonio Williams 6'0" | WR Dutch Fork | 2022 State SC (6-foot, 180 pounds) and junior-to-be Devin Hyatt Devin Hyatt 6'1" | WR Dutch Fork | 2023 State SC (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) teamed up to haul in more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns between them. And even though Williams was credited with the bulk of that, all of it came while those two were the second and third options between now-departed receiver Elijah Spencer Elijah Spencer 6'2" | WR Dutch Fork | 2021 State SC . There’s also a talented running back tandem returning in Jarvis Green Jarvis Green 5'11" | RB Dutch Fork | 2023 State SC (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) and Marcus Taylor (5-foot-8, 175 pounds). Green ran for 756 yards and 13 touchdowns last fall while chipping in another 202 yards and a score receiving while Taylor topped 400 total yards and five touchdowns. All four are a couple offensive line adjustments and the next quarterback away from having huge seasons. DEFENSE CJ Wicker CJ Wicker 5'11" | LB Dutch Fork | 2022 State SC (5-foot-11, 205 pounds) is one of those linebackers who can step to the line, float toward the side, jam the middle of the field or bullrush a guard. It’s why he ended the pandemic-shortened season with better than 80 total stops and so influential throughout the year. Fellow linebacker Chandler Perry (5-foot-9, 200 pounds) proved his worth during money time. In the Lower State championship win over Sumter and state title victory against T.L. Hanna, Perry notched 16 solo tackles and another seven assisted stops. Nicolas Wright (5-foot-11, 182 pounds) keeps the speed going from his floating spot all over the field, pushing everything back into the middle of the field where he - or one of the others - can slow down opposing offenses. Free safety Landon Danley (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) is the perfect center fielder, then, with a touch more height and the ability to see everything developing over the top. INTANGIBLES The natural reaction here is to point out that Williams as a return man can flip a game in a hurry. And while that’s certainly true, it’s much more important to say that the lack of mentions of guys along the lines is nothing Dutch Fork fans need to worry about. There are at least six players with offensive and/or defensive experience who measure north of 250 pounds and can move in to fill those holes from graduations. Remember, this is a unit that had fewer than 20 practices prior to running the table last fall, so having a full spring and summer means the machine will have every opportunity to keep churning.