Fort Dorchester's offense was stellar during the first three weeks of the season, averaging 42 points per game.
On Friday night, the Patriots' offense was more like stealth -- almost invisible -- in a 17-3 home loss to a fired-up Summerville football team.
A week after lighting up Beaufort in a 49-45 victory, Fort Dorchester fumbled, stumbled and bumbled against rival Summerville in a Region 8-AAAA showdown played in front of approximately 9,000 fans at Bagwell Stadium.
The Fort Dorchester fumbled the opening kickoff, and again on its first offensive play from scrimmage, and that set the tone of the game as the Patriots turned the ball over five times.
The Green Wave had to march only 14 yards after the first turnover, and quarterback Dalton Saunders scored on a 1-yard run with 8:39 left in the first quarter.
Darin Smalls sealed the deal with a 100-yard interception return with 26 seconds left in the game. The Summerville sophomore had three interceptions and broke up six passes.
"That fumble on the opening play was big," said Summerville coach John McKissick, who picked up his 589th career victory. "It just about settled it right then and there, didn't it?"
Smalls' pick killed a potential game-tying drive. The Patriots marched from their own 20 to the Green Wave 5, but Smalls picked off Ethan Long again.
Summerville beat Fort Dorchester for the 18th time in their last 20 meetings. Fort Dorchester hasn't defeated Summerville since 2001.
Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad searched for answers.
"I don't know what to say," said LaPrad, who was an assistant coach at Summerville for more than 20 years and is winless against his former team. "Summerville had something to do with it, but I don't know. I wish I knew. I don't have the words."
Summerville, coming off a 19-7 loss to Goose Creek, upped its record to 3-1, including 1-0 in Region 8-AAAA. Fort Dorchester fell to 3-1, 1-1.
Both teams struggled on offense. Summerville tallied 158 yards. Saunders was 8-of-11 for 50 yards, while Chris McKinnon rushed for 63 yards.
Fort Dorchester managed only 135 yards in offense.
Long was 31 of 42 last week against Beaufort for 433 yards and five TDs, and entered the showdown with 1,058 yards and 13 TDs. But Friday, he struggled, completing 22-of-42 for 115 yards, while throwing the three picks.
Summerville hosts Stratford next week while Fort Dorchester travels to Goose Creek.
SUM--Dalton Saunders 1 run (Parker Cleveland kick)
SUM--Cleveland 37 FG
FD--Ryan Granger 30 FG
SUM--Darin Smalls 100 INT return (Cleveland kick)