It has been talked about since August, maybe even before, and next week the long-awaited Lowcountry showdown between Fort Dorchester and Berkeley will finally go down.
Both teams took care of business on Friday night, with Fort Dorchester rolling to a 45-13 victory over visiting West Ashley.
The Patriots (5-1) have not lost on the field but were forced to forfeit their season-opening win over Glynn Academy due to use of an ineligible player. Berkeley, meanwhile, is 5-0 after a 40-3 trouncing of Wando on Friday.
With the win on Friday, Fort Dorchester has not lost to a Lowcountry team since September 2014. That mark will be tested next week as the Patriots travel to the undefeated Stags in a battle of teams ranked in the state’s Class AAAAA top 10.
“We can talk about it now,” Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad said. “It’s going to be a great night for Lowcountry football. They’re really good and we think we are sort of good. Should be a great atmosphere. We’ve been in a few big games, so hopefully we are prepared. We need a good week to prepare for those guys.”
Fort Dorchester junior quarterback De’Andrae Sabb had an efficient night on Friday, tossing a pair of touchdown passes while completing 15 of 21 passes for 194 yards. He added 70 yards rushing and scored once on the ground.
“He could barely throw the ball 10 yards on Tuesday, but he got well and he played well,” LaPrad said. “They took some stuff away in the running game. We found some holes in the secondary and we were able to take advantage.”
The Patriots wasted an early golden opportunity after Khalid Gadson intercepted a West Ashley pass on the second play of the game and returned it to the Wildcats’ 5-yard line. The Patriots were unable to move the ball on three plays, and Kobe Shelton booted a 22-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
West Ashley put together its only decent drive of the first half, covering 67 yards on nine plays to take a 6-3 lead on Yaphett Bienvenu’s 11-yard touchdown run with 5:47 left in the first quarter.
“They came out with some stuff we had not seen and it took us a little bit to get right,” LaPrad said. “I thought we were able to run it better in the second half. Our guys did a good job.”
The rest of the first half belonged to the Patriots. Sabb threw scoring passes of 17 yards (Antoine Parker) and 40 yards (Keith Desaussure) in the second quarter. Kalil Jenkins added a 7-yard run for a 24-7 halftime lead. Sabb completed 12 of 15 passes for 160 yards in the opening half.
Desaussure finished the night with 114 yards on five receptions.
The Patriots took their first possession of the third quarter 63 yards on 12 plays with Jenkins capping the drive with a 4-yard run, pushing the lead to 31-6 with 7:15 left in the period.
West Ashley closed the third with a touchdown pass from Kenyatta Jenkins to Justin Mazyck of 16 yards, cutting the lead to 31-13. Fort Dorchester tacked on two scores in the final period.