Turnovers Prove Fatal for Hawks

 Richard Hall (30) takes a tumble while Erricey Canady (10) brings down Dutch Fork wide receiver Austin Connor, but not before the junior takes a Cole Douglas pass for a first down. (Photo/Ross Burton)

Richard Hall (30) takes a tumble while Erricey Canady (10) brings down Dutch Fork wide receiver Austin Connor, but not before the junior takes a Cole Douglas pass for a first down. (Photo/Ross Burton)

IRMO – The Silver Foxes of Dutch Fork High School hosted the Westwood Redhawks for a much anticipated rematch. The Silver Foxes came out ahead, 38-28.

This was one every Redhawk player, coach and fan wanted. Make no mistake, they wanted it bad. The Foxes were one of the top schools in the nation last season, and were undefeated in the State when they took on Westwood. They became Westwood’s only regular season loss.

Not quite the same team as last season, but formidable nonetheless. Dutch Fork had lost thrice this season, once to Greenwood, Goose Creek and again to Ridge View, a team Westwood took to the cleaners, 37-16. So, with Dutch Fork’s vulnerability showing, the Redhawks sharpened their beaks and readied for the rematch.

It was not to be, as Westwood suffered four very costly turnovers, and had difficulty containing quarterback Cole Douglas, who has the ability to pass or run as well as many running backs can.

“We can’t turn the ball over and create turnovers for them,” Westwood head coach Rodney Summers said before the opening kick. “We have to make the turnovers for ourselves.”

Prophetically, it was the turnovers that played a big part in the Redhawks’ first loss in region play.

The first quarter did not do much to predict which team would ultimately prevail. Both teams moved the ball well. It wasn’t until a few seconds to go in the quarter that Douglas snuck across the goal line to draw first blood for Dutch Fork.

Both teams scored twice each in the second quarter. Douglas showed he can pass as well as run when he connected with Dante Scott for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Westwood’s Rudy Mitchell did not have the stellar rushing night that he had the week prior against Blythewood, where he rushed for a school record 467 yards. The Foxes held him to just 130. Notwithstanding, he was able to score two touchdowns in the second quarter. The second touchdown briefly tied the game 14-14.

Westwood took the second half kickoff, but blew their advantage when they fumbled on their first play. Four plays later, Scott caught a Douglas pass for a touchdown. This was the point of no return in the game. Westwood barely had possession of the ball in the third quarter, only running seven plays.

Westwood came back a little in the final quarter, outscoring Dutch Fork 14-10. Jalen Smith hooked up with Malik Griffin for the best play of the night, scoring a touchdown from 40 yards out. Recently cleared Andrew Plante only went into the game for a couple of plays, but on one, he bulled his way across the goal line as only he can do.

It was too little too late, but Westwood kept Dutch Fork honest and within 10 points.

The region picture took a downward turn for Westwood. Summers badly wanted the region title, and this game was the key. Both teams are 3-1 in region play. Assuming both teams win on Friday, the tiebreaker must go to Dutch Fork.

On Friday, Westwood hosts Spring Valley for the final regular season game. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

WHS: 0-14-0-14 – 28

DF: 7-14-7-10 – 38

Scoring

First Quarter

DF – Cole Douglas 13 run (Ford Williams kick). 00:19.

Second Quarter

DF – Dante Scott 29 pass from C. Douglas (F. Williams kick). 9:42.

W – Rudy Mitchell 58 run (Brandon Howard kick). 8:50.

W – R. Mitchell 4 run (B. Howard kick). 4:50.

DF – Clayton Jones 21 run (F. Williams kick). 2:05.

Third Quarter

DF – C. Jones 15 pass from C. Douglas (F. Willliams kick). 10:03.

Fourth Quarter

DF – F. Williams 19 FG. 11:55.

DF – C. Douglas 1 run (F. Williams kick). 7:30.

W – Malik Griffin 40 pass from Jalen Smith (B. Howard kick). 6:32.

W – Andrew Plante 7 run (B. Howard kick). 2:18.

Team Stats

                                         WHS                     DF

First Downs                       17                      19

Rushes-Yards              28-188             46-260

Passing Yards                 141                  153

C-A-I                               2-25-1             7-17-1

Fumbles-Lost                   3-3                0-0

Penalties-Yards               3-20                 8-75

Individual Stats

RUSHING: W – Rudy Mitchell 15-130, Jalen Smith 11-48, Andrew Plante 2-10. DF – Douglas 26-123, Jones 17-111, J. Ragin 2-18, A. Connor 1-8.

PASSING: W – Jalen Smith 2-25, 141 yards, INT, TD. DF – C. Douglas 7-17, 153 yards, INT, 2 TD.

RECEIVING: W – Malik Griffin 6-88, Deuntrey Gallman 2-28, Jaylen Robinson 1-16, Montre Miller 2-8, Rudy Mitchell 1-1. DF – Haclen 3-91, Scott 2-44, Connor 1-12, DeBoer 1-6.