A disastrous two-week stretch in the schedule could have submarined the Fort Dorchester football team's season. But the Patriots regrouped, showed resilience and have a chance to win the Region 8-AAAA championship.
The Patriots, 7-3, 2-1 in the region, travel to Ashley Ridge Thursday night for a showdown that will decide the champion.
Fort Dorchester seemed anything but championship material in back-to-back losses to Summerville and Goose Creek in mid-September that dropped its record to 3-2.
The Patriots pretty much gave the game away against Summerville with six turnovers in a 17-3 loss. The Fort set the tone early by fumbling the opening kickoff, and again on its first offensive play from scrimmage. The next week, the Fort felt the wrath of the Gator Nation, dropping a 56-7 decision.
But the Patriots recovered from the losses and roll into Ashley Ridge with a three-game winning streak.
"We didn't play well the first half of the year," Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad said. "We started playing decent football, and now we're showing signs of being a good football team. We played horrible the Summerville game. It was total nonsense that we lost that game.
"We got run over by Goose Creek, but we started to show progress. We've come up with a balanced attack, and the defense has become the unsung heroes," he said.
Ashley Ridge enters the game with a 7-3 record, including 3-0 in the region. The Swamp Foxes also know something about the Gators. They dropped a 65-3 decision to Goose Creek last week.
If Ashley Ridge wins Thursday night, the Swamp Foxes will win the title outright in just their fourth year of existence. Summerville and Fort Dorchester would have 2-2 records, but the Green Wave would finish second based on head-to-head competition, and Beaufort would finish fourth.
If Fort Dorchester beats the Swamp Foxes, the Patriots claim the top position. Ashley Ridge would finish second, Beaufort third and Summerville fourth.
West Ashley hoops commitments
Senior Tre McLean committed to play basketball for Queens University, an NCAA Division II school in Charlotte.
The 6-4, 185-pound senior averaged 10.6 points and 8.3 rebounds last season for the Wildcats, who went 19-5. He also played AAU basketball for Team TMP.
Former West Ashley standout D'Montre Edwards committed to Tennessee and is expected to sign with the Volunteers on Nov. 9.
The 6-6, 210-pound Edwards attended Brevard Community College in Melbourne, Fla., after graduating from West Ashley.
Texas A&M, Mississippi State, DePaul and the College of Charleston also were recruiting Edwards.
Reach Phil Bowman at (843) 937-5592. Follow him on Twitter @pandcphil