Another strong football season for the Berkeley Stags team ended Nov. 15 with a loss in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.
Fort Dorchester (11-0) handed Berkeley (8-3) a 37-7 loss in North Charleston to bounce the Stags from the postseason. The Patriots advance to host three-time defending champion Dutch Fork Friday in the third round.
“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.”
Berkeley only lost to two teams this season, Fort Dorchester and Goose Creek.
“Well we lost the region championship for the first time in four years and that put us on the tough side of the bracket,” Robinson said. “We made it tough on ourselves by not winning our region.”
Berkeley will lose a large and talented group of seniors at the end of the school year.
“We have a bunch of three-year starters,” Robinson said. “Jacob Dunn is the heart and soul of our defense and will be hard to replace. You got Hakeem Meggett on the offensive side who did everything he could to keep us in the game tonight. (Tre) Chisolm is a kid that sacrifices. He has a chance to play college football as a safety but he wanted the quarterback job to help this team win. Kids like that are hard to replace.”
Fort Dorchester senior De’Andrae Sabb threw a touchdown pass, caught a TD pass and rushed for two TDs to lead Fort Dorchester.
“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 Fort Dorchester defense forced three turnovers and had two scores of its own.
Sabb threw to Daqueze Washington on Fort Dorchester’s first possession and the senior made a leaping catch with a defender on him, stayed 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 short Berkeley punt and a punt by Sabb that was downed at the Berkeley 1, 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 Stephen Herron’s third of what would be five successful PAT kicks, the Patriots took a 23-0 lead that last 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 Fort Dorchester’s Khalid Gadson making a pick. Chisolm completed multiple passes to receivers Hakeem Meggett and Jakhi Willis to move the ball to the Patriots’ 34 before Gadson had his interception.
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 its second possession of the half to score on a 3-yard run by Chisolm. 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.