COLUMBIA — Dutch Fork quarterback Ty Olenchuk looked forward to finishing his Dutch Fork career just the way it started: as a state champion.
Olenchuk, Dutch Fork’s quarterback and a Clemson baseball commit, sat next to his coach and a teammate Monday and spoke about what a fourth straight state title in Class 5A would mean to him.
“When you start something, you got to finish it,” Olenchuk said. “... We started off playing in the championship, it was really hard the first go around. This team has just kept on building and building. This team this year is the same thing, we just have to finish it off.”
Dutch Fork will face off with this season’s second-most dominant team, Dorman, in the most highly anticipated state title game. The game kicks off at Noon at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.
The game will be a rematch of the 2017 state title game, which Dutch Fork won after stopping a late two-point conversion by Dorman. Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts remembered Dorman coach Dave Gutshall’s decision to go for it when asked about the 2017 game.
“I remember Coach going for two, which is exactly what I would have done there at the end,” Knotts said. “It showed a lot of faith and courage in his team.”
Gutshall responded, “Same here, except we lost the game,” with a laugh.
Gustshall added that his team must play an excellent defensive game against one of the best teams in state history. Dutch Fork was ranked nationally to begin the season.
“We hope not give up the big play,”Gutshall said. “I don’t think there’s any team in the state that can stop the Dutch Fork offense. We’re going to have to keep the ball in front of us and we’re going to have to make some plays in the red zone.”
Dorman ended Greenwood’s season, 28-0, in the first round, then defeated Spring Valley, Clover and Gaffney to make Saturday’s state title game.
The Cavaliers are led by Hayden Lee, a passing quarterback who has helped the team put up an average of 43.4 points this season. Dorman running back Chance Black picked up a South Carolina offer this week.
Class 4A: Myrtle Beach vs. WrenMyrtle Beach will aim to repeat as state champions in the Class 4A title game, which starts 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Seahawks quarterback Luke Doty, a South Carolina commit at the quarterback position, could still be available, but won’t be able to play quarterback, reported Ian Guerin of the Horry County News.
Doty could play anywhere else on the field. Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said the defense has picked up since Doty left with the injury.
“I do think there was a sense of urgency once Luke went down,” Wilson said. “The defense knew they had to play better and just responded to that.”
As for Wren, the Hurricanes have arrived at the state title game after going undefeated in their region. The team’s offense showed a knack for scoring points in the regular season.
Wren quarterback Joe Owens spoke Monday about his team’s outstanding group of receivers.
“We got a great receiving corps,” Owens said. “It just makes my job a whole lot easier. The quarterback isn’t always throwing a perfect ball, so they make me look good all the time.”
Class 3A: Dillon vs. ChapmanSaturday’s Class 3A state championship game will pit two of the state’s most successful teams.
Dillon will take the field at Williams-Brice for its eighth straight state championship appearance. Coach Jackie Hayes commended his players’ ability to win crucial, close road games this season.
“I think our coaches have probably done one of the best jobs they’ve done in a long time,” Hayes said. “The thing that separates our team from other teams is they find a way to get it done in the end.”
Chapman has one of the best offenses in the state, led by Shrine Bowl player and Mr. Football finalist Mikele Colasurdo. Chapman has scored an average of 53 points per game this season.
Chapman coach Mark Hodge spoke about his team’s ability to adjust to changes. The Panthers switched from a 5-man defensive line to a 3-man line in the middle of the season and the switch paid off, Hodge said.
“They bought into what we’ve asked them to do and with growth and just analyzing and growing and accountability and so on, they’re just getting better every week,” Hodge said. “It’s great to have those types of players.”
The title game Saturday will be the third time the teams have faced each other in a state championship. Each school won one of those games.
“I like that I’m playing Chapman in the last game of the year,” Hayes said. “That means we’re right back here.”
Class 1A: Green Sea-Floyds vs. Ridge Spring MonettaAnother Saluda County team will play Friday at Benedict College.
And just like Saluda High, Ridge Spring-Monetta defeated one of the state’s best teams to earn a spot in Friday’s game. The Trojans beat Wagener-Salley, which was ranked No. 1 in the state for most of the season, 26-22, last Friday.
Ridge Spring-Monetta will face defending state title winner Green Sea-Floyds at 8 p.m. Friday at Benedict College.