Senior De’Andrae Sabb hit an offensive trifecta Nov. 15.
Sabb threw a touchdown pass, caught a TD pass and rushed for two TDs to lead Fort Dorchester (11-0) to a 37-7 win over Berkeley (8-3) in the second round of the Class AAAAA football playoffs. The game featured yet another dominating effort by the Patriots’ defense.
“I thought we came out and played well tonight,” Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad said. “Berkeley is obviously a good football team and our kids did a great job. I’m proud of them.”
The Stags were eliminated with the loss while the Patriots advance to host three-time defending champion Dutch Fork (11-0) next week for the third round. Berkeley only lost to two teams this season, Fort Dorchester and Goose Creek.
“This is frustrating,” Berkeley coach Randy Robinson said. “Fort Dorchester has a great collection of talent. They have athletes everywhere and they make big plays. Unfortunately offensively we just came out flat and didn’t execute, but that had a lot to do with their defensive front.”
Dutch Fork is the team that has knocked Fort Dorchester out of the playoffs two of the past three seasons so the Patriots are seeking revenge.
“There are a lot of other good teams in the state but I’ve said since day one that this will be for the state championship,” LaPrad said. “They are a great football team, but we have a great football team so we will line up for some big boy football next Friday. It’ll be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
This year, the bracket is in Fort Dorchester’s favor so the Patriots won’t have to travel to face the Silver Foxes, which have won all three 5A Football Championships since the classification was introduced for the 2016-17 school year.
“I think home-field advantage is big in every round,” LaPrad said. “Everyone wants to be at home. We earned it, but just like us they aren’t scared to go on the road so it is going to be a good football game. Hopefully we can give a performance like we did tonight.”
The Fort Dorchester defense forced three turnovers against Berkeley and had two scores of its own. Junior linebacker Jayden Gardner led the way, making nine tackles including three for a loss and causing a Berkeley fumble. Linebacker Justin McElveen also had nine tackles, including a sack. Linebacker Maccio Montgomery had eight tackles including three in the backfield. Defensive end Emmanuel Johnson had seven tackles, including three for a loss and another for a sack.
Sabb threw to Daqueze Washington on Fort Dorchester’s first possession and the senior made a leaping catch with a defender on him, landed on his feet and dashed to the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown reception.
On the Stags’ ensuing possession, a pass was tipped and linebacker Darryle Ware grabbed the ball in midair and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. After a three-and-out by each offense, a punt by Sabb was downed at the Berkeley 1.
Then the Stags had trouble with a snap and yielded a safety when the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone. That gave the Fort a 16-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, Sabb capped a 61-yard drive with a 1-yard run into the end zone. With the PAT kick, the Patriots took a 23-0 lead that held until halftime thanks in part to Khalid Gadson’s interception of a Berkeley pass later in the quarter.
Berkeley only had one decent drive in the first half and it ended with Gadson’s pick. Stags’ QB Tre Chisolm completed multiple passes to receiver’s HaKeem Meggett and Jakhi Willis to move the ball to the Patriots’ 34 before the turnover.
Berkeley had better luck moving the ball in the second half but only managed one score. The Stags’ first possession of the third quarter ended when Patriots’ defensive back Cameron Mitchell recovered a Stags’ fumble.
Berkeley did drive 68 yards on their second possession of the half to score on a 3-yard run by Chislom. The QB hit Meggett with two passes for 15 yards and Solomon Butler with a 15-yard pass on the drive. He and Tykeim Haynes both had some key runs to help keep the sticks moving.
But that was all the points the Fort Dorchester defense would yield.
Early in the third quarter, Fort receiver Keith Desaussure sent off a double-reverse pass to Sabb and he caught it for a 16-yard TD reception.
Sabb capped the scoring with 3:12 remaining in the game with a 43-yard TD run. The senior finished with 120 rushing yards on 16 carries. Sabb also completed 3 of 6 passing attempts for 48 yards. Wright finished with 80 rushing yards.
Fort Dorchester’s Stephen Herron had five successful PAT kicks on the night.