IRMO — There can only be one king.
Before the kickoff between top-ranked Dutch Fork and No. 2 Fort Dorchester, Patriots coach Steve LaPrad told his team that there "can’t be but one king and we’re gonna be the king."
On this night, the Patriots, indeed were kings.
Fort Dorchester quarterback Dakereon Joyner had 243 yards of total offense and scored four touchdowns as the Patriots avenged two losses from last year season to beat defending state champion Dutch Fork, 41-25, Friday night before a packed house at Fox Field.
The Patriots' victory snapped 16-game winning streak by the Silver Foxes, who dropped to 2-1 overall on the season. The Patriots, who should be the top-ranked team in next week’s Class AAAAA poll, improved to 3-0.
A year ago, Dutch Fork defeated the Patriots twice, including a 21-point loss in the Class AAAAA Lower State finals on this same field.
The sight of the Silver Foxes celebrating on the field after the victory, stuck with Joyner all summer.
“There can only be one king in this state,” said Joyner, who rushed for 113 yards and threw for 130 more yards. “We knew what they were going to do, so we prepared all week, actually all summer, for Dutch Fork. It was long, hot summer, but we played great tonight. I got chills when I walked on the field tonight because I thought they took something away from us and we had to go back and get it back tonight.”
While Joyner’s feet and right arm were pivotal in the Patriots’ victory, it was the Fort Dorchester defense, which forced four turnovers, that proved to be the difference. The Patriots scored 21 points off of the Silver Foxes turnovers.
“I thought our defensive staff did an unbelievable job of preparing for this game,” LaPrad said. “They’ve got some playmakers on offense, that (Bryce) Thompson kid is as good a player as there is in the state. I thought our guys did a great job of limiting what they like to do.”
It was all Dutch Fork early. The Silver Foxes wasted little time getting on the scoreboard when Thompson returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a TD.
“Obviously, that wasn’t the start we wanted,” LaPrad said. “Give the kids credit, they didn’t get down. They just went out and played.”
The Patriots didn’t panic and calmly moved the ball down the field on their ensuing possession as Drew Parker capped a 62-yard, 10-play drive with a 7-yard TD run.
“I think that touchdown kind of settled everyone down,” LaPrad said. “That was a big answer for us.”
The Patriots pushed their advantage to 14-7 when Dazjon Casto stepped in front of a Graeson Underwood pass and returned it 89 yards for the score.
“We’d seen that play all week, so I read it and made a break on the ball,” Casto said. “Once I got around the quarterback, I just green grass in front of me and hoped no one would catch me.”
Then Joyner went to work. The South Carolina verbal commit gave the Patriots a 27-7 lead with two more short TD runs late in the second quarter.
“He’s just a special player,” LaPrad said. “When No. 5 is on your side you know you’ve got a chance. He took what the defense gave him and didn't try to force anything.”
The Silver Foxes answered just before halftime when Thompson caught a 13-yard TD pass from Ty Olenchuk on the final play of the second quarter.
The Patriots pushed their back up to three scores when Joyner scored against on a 3-yard TD run 6:04 to play in the third quarter. Joyner got a late TD in the fourth quarter that sent most of the Dutch Fork fans to the parking.
Fort Dorchester 14 13 7 7—41
Dutch Fork 7 7 0 3—25
DF: Bryce Thompson 94 kickoff return (Ford Williams kick)
FD: Drew Parker 7 run (Kobe Shelton kick)
FD: Dazjon Casto 89 yard INT (Shelton kick)
FD: Dakereon Joyner 3 run (Shelton kick)
FD: Dakereon Joyner 1 run (kick failed)
FD: Bryce Thompson 13 pass from Ty Olenchuk (Williams kick)
FD: Dakereon Joyner 3 run (Williams kick)
DF: Ford William 35 FG
FD: Dakereon Joyner 2 run (Shelton kick)
DF: Ron Huff 3 run (Thompson run)