Thursday, December 5, 2013
If the Patriots could have managed just four more points the first Friday of November it could have changed the way the 2013 Fort Dorchester season will be remembered.
“We won seven games this year and we would have liked to have won more,” Patriot coach Steve LaPrad said. “Probably the Beaufort game marks the only Friday we didn’t play up to our ability.”
Stratford and Dutch Fork will both play in a state title game Saturday so the Patriot losses to those teams are fairly easy to swallow for Fort Fans. Goose Creek is Goose Creek and Summerville is Summerville so those losses are understandable.
However, the 24-21 loss to Beaufort stings. If the Patriots, who were favored entering the game, had pulled out a win against the Eagles they would have improved to 7-3, finished the regular season at 8-3 and likely received a more favorable playoff seeding.
That was not the case and the Fort finished at 7-5 after falling to Dutch Fork in the opening round of the playoffs. However, there are positive things Patriot fans can take away from the season.
“We were a good football team and we played hard,” LaPrad said. “Our seniors did a great job. We were in every game, even the ones we lost. The losses were all close except Goose Creek and that was close up until the fourth quarter.”
The Patriots had three players finish with more than 800 total yards of offense. Quarterback Kobe Garrett rushed for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns and passed for 1,126 yards and 10 TDs. Matt Murray rushed for 906 yards and 15 TDs and had 74 receiving yards. Fellow running back Nahshon Cyrus rushed for 853 yards and nine TDs and had 31 receiving yards.
Corey Rawlings led the Patriot receivers this season with 21 receptions for 392 yards and three TDs. D’Monte Bailey wasn’t far behind with 26 catches for 303 yards and a TD.
With Rawlings as the team’s punter, the Patriots didn’t yield a single return yard on punts. He averaged around 40 yards per punt.
The Fort defense was pretty stout most of the season.
Lineman Myles White led the team in tackles with 70 including 40 unassisted and 9.5 for a loss. Linebackers David Govan and Ryan Chaya both had 58 tackles with 35 or more being unassisted.
Eurndraus Bryant led the Patriots in sacks with three of the team’s 10. He also had nine tackles for a loss and 29 unassisted tackles.
D.J. Commodore led the Fort in interceptions with two of the team’s seven on the season.
The truly good news for Patriot fans is the number of players set to return next season.
The defense should return its entire starting secondary plus four starting linemen. White, Bryant and Commodore are among those who should return.
The Patriot offense loses its most productive receivers and running backs, but returns its quarterback and three starting linemen.
“We have high expectations for this group that will be seniors next year,” LaPrad said. “We are losing some talented athletes but we have some others coming up through our program who should be able to do a good job. We have some holes to fill on offense but we should be as strong as ever on defense.”
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