Northwestern football head coach Page Wofford exited the locker room after his team’s 49-0 loss to Dutch Fork on Friday night frustrated, but collected.
The Northwestern football team welcomed the top-ranked 5A football team in the state to District Three Stadium — and the Trojans felt its wrath. Dutch Fork accumulated 419 yards of total offense to Northwestern’s 140. The team from Columbia didn’t allow a point.
The Silver Foxes extended their streak without a loss to 31 games. The Trojans, conversely, fell to 1-5 on the season.
And yet, the head coach, although visibly disappointed, was resolute: “Realistically, you are what your record says you are,” Wofford said. “We’re 1-5. One in five. In two years, nobody will look back and say, ‘They were 1-5, but look who they played.’ They’ll see a 1-5 team.
“We’re going into region, and the way we have it set up right now, region is what counts to the playoffs. We’re looking to get as good as we can next week to go into that region schedule and see what we can do and make some noise and play as hard as we can through that region schedule.”
Dutch Fork opened the scoring with a 14-play drive led by quarterback Tyler Olenchuk who threw nine passes and eventually found Tennessee commit Jalin Hyatt for a two-yard touchdown. 7-0.
On their next possession, the Silver Foxes overcame a fourth and nine and a first and goal from the 12-yard line to score by way of a one-yard run by Jonathan Hall. 14-0. Later, Dutch Fork returned a punt for a touchdown before the break ...
And so on.
Dutch Fork quarterback Olenchuk ended his night completing 12-for-24 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns. His favorite target, Elijah Spencer, caught four passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. The Silver Foxes also flexed their proverbial muscles on the ground: Jonathan Hall ran 15 times for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Northwestern’s defense, despite what the final score may read, largely played well. The unit forced several third and long situations and mitigated a powerful opposing offense at times. In the first half, Dutch Fork’s offense was only responsible for 14 points.
“Defensively, at times we stuffed a very good offensive football team,” Wofford said. “They’ve got the best players in Columbia playing for that team. You know, they’re a very good football team. And at times, we stuffed them and made them scratch their heads and think and go back to the drawing board and do something else.”
That said, Northwestern’s defense eventually wore down, deplete of hope by vice of a stagnant offense and a special teams unit that gave up one too many big plays.
Friday night marked the end of a brutal non-region schedule for Northwestern — a six-game stretch that featured six teams ranked in the top-10 by the South Carolina preseason preps media poll.
It set the stage for the beginning of conference play, that — just like its season schedule — is front-loaded. Next week, the Trojans will be on bye, and the week after that they’ll travel to Clover to take on the undefeated Blue Eagles.
Did Friday night — generally speaking — mark anything else, Coach Wofford?
“It marks the end of a tough, tough, tough six game schedule, but I’m an optimist, so I’m looking at it thinking that we could have done better than we did,” Wofford said.
“We could have done better than 1-5.”