Fort Dorchester avenged a loss to the team that kept it from qualifying for the playoffs last year.
Ashley Ridge upset Fort Dorchester last year in the final game of the regular season to prevent the Patriots from getting the points they needed to qualify for the state playoffs.
On Friday, the Patriots (7-4, 3-2 in Region 8-AAAA) played shutdown defense for most of the rematch to hand Ashley Ridge (4-7, 2-3) a 14-0 loss. However the Swamp Foxes avoided the Patriots’ fate from a year ago, sqeezing into the Class AAAA Division 1 playoffs as the No. 14 seed while Fort Dorchester enters as the No. 12 seed.
The Patriots will travel to Dutch Fork Friday for the first round while Ashley Ridge will make the short trip to Summerville to face the Green Wave for a first-round battle.
The Patriots didn’t allow the Swamp Foxes to reach the Red Zone at all in the first half and limited the team to two Red Zone visits in the second half. Fort Dorchester picked off three Ashley Ridge passes while committing only one turnover of its own.
“That might have been the best defensive performance we’ve had since I started coaching here,” Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad said. “It was unbelievable. Ashley Ridge has some serious weapons and we shut them down. Overall I thought we moved the ball well, but Ashley Ridge did a good job of scheming us up with their defense.”
After a scoreless opening period, the Patriots attempted their second fake punt of the evening. While the first fake didn’t work, punter Corey Rawlings gained 14 yards on the second fake for a first down. Three plays later, Rawlings caught a quick pass and turned it into a 12-yard touchdown reception to put his team on top.
Ashley Ridge marched across midfield on its ensuing possession and had a scoring opportunity but D.J. Commodore intercepted a heave into the end zone.
The Swamp Foxes finally reached the Red Zone on the opening drive of the third quarter. However, a fourth-down run came up a yard short and Ashley Ridge turned the ball over on downs at the Patriots’ 14-yard line.
Rawlings bounced a 32-yard field goal attempt off the right post to end the Patriots’ first possession of the second half. But then Dekoa Singleton picked off a Swamp Fox pass to set the Patriots’ offense up in Ashley Ridge territory.
Fort quarterback Kobe Garrett rushed for 33 yards on first down for a first and goal. Then tailback Nahshon Cyrus ran into the end zone from 2 yards out and the Patriots took a 14-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
Late in the final quarter, Ashley Ridge drove to the Patriot 36 before a pass deflected off a receiver’s hands and linebacker David Govan grabbed it for the Fort’s third interception.
The Swamp Foxes nearly scored in the final minute when QB Chandler Avenel threw to Dashaun Santiago in the end zone. The pass was on target, but defensive back Jonathan Rouse was there to bat the ball away as Santiago tried to pull it in.
“We got off to a slow start and didn’t make the plays when we had opportunities,” Ashley Ridge coach Kenny Walker said. “We dropped a lot of passes tonight but also they were a little more physical than us up front.”
Ashley Ridge 0 0 0 0–0
Fort Dorchester 0 7 7 0–14
F – Corey Rawlings 12 pass from Kobe Garrett (Rawlings kick)
F – Nahshon Cyrus 2 run (Rawlings kick)