Patriots hope to take down Gators

  • Thursday, September 19, 2013

For wide receiver Rashad Palmer and several other seniors on the Fort Dorchester football team Friday represents a final chance to earn a win over the Gators. ROPER-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM

An explosive offense will collide with a stingy defense at Charles B. Gibson Stadium this week.
Goose Creek (3-0) host Fort Dorchester (2-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Gators’ offense has seemed unstoppable this season as the Gators, the No. 3 ranked Class AAAA team in the state, have outscored their opponents 167-75.
With a powerful fullback and two crafty tailbacks, the Gators have rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season.
The team’s main weapon is senior tailback Caleb Kinlaw, who has verbally committed to Georgia Tech. He established himself by making big plays last year but this year junior tailback Tyrik Johnson has also given defenses fits.
Goose Creek also has an experienced quarterback who completed nine passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in a 34-17 win over Summerville last week. Senior receiver Jordan Barnes had a very strong showing in the game.
“They are big and strong just like they always are,” Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad said. “Offensively they can run the football but the can also throw it a little better than they could in the past. They have kids who can take it to the house. We won’t change what we do on defense, but we will have to tackle better than we have. We will have to play our best game in order to win.”
The Gator defense isn’t as intimidating as it has been the past couple of years, but that hasn’t stopped the unit from getting the job done.
The Patriots’ defense, however, is as formidable as it has been in a while. The unit has good size and speed up front and has only yielded an average of 18 points per game. The Fort is less experienced in the secondary, but has athletic players there who are learning every week.
Entering this year, the Fort had to replace all its offensive skills players. However, the new skills guys have done just fine so far.
If the Patriots could have played just a little better last week it may have improved to 3-0. The Fort fell to Stratford, which is ranked ninth among the state’s 4-A teams.
“Of course I feel bad about the loss, but in a way I feel good because with eight minutes left in that game we were in a position to win,” LaPrad said. “We just didn’t do the things we needed to do in the fourth quarter. We moved the ball well Friday, we just didn’t move it over the goal line enough.”
The coach says his defense managed well against one of the top quarterbacks in the state.
“Our defense had a great game plan and our coverages confused them,” LaPrad said. “They didn’t break many long passes but we didn’t tackle well and they made a lot of yards after the catch.”
The Patriots have moved the ball well both on the ground and through the air. After playing for the Fort JV and some as a varsity backup last season, junior QB Kobe Garrett is off to a great start this season.
“Kobe is opening some eyes,” LaPrad said. “He has really brought a lot to the table. He sees everything and remains focused. He is a student of the game and he brings a great work ethic to practice, to the weight room and to games. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a quarterback more focused than him and he is so athletic he can play anywhere on the field.”
The Gators have triumphed the last 29 times they have taken the field, but had to forfeit several of last year’s victories after the fact. These two teams have a heated rivalry so the Patriots would love to be the ones that break the Gators’ streak of success on the field.
Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or rlee@journalscene.com

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