High School Sports

Independence High to open football season vs. Dutch Fork, ex-coach Tom Knotts

Dutch Fork head football coach Tom Knotts talks with his players while they take on Irmo at Irmo High School. Columbia, S.C.08-18-2010. C. Aluka Berry - The State Media Company\caberry@thestate.com
Dutch Fork head football coach Tom Knotts talks with his players while they take on Irmo at Irmo High School. Columbia, S.C.08-18-2010. C. Aluka Berry - The State Media Company\caberry@thestate.com The State

Independence High’s football team will kick off the season next fall in South Carolina, facing off against former coach Tom Knotts.

The Patriots, who were 8-5 under Justin Hardin last season, will play at Dutch Fork on Aug. 19. Knotts is the head coach at Dutch Fork. Knotts led Independence to six of its seven straight N.C. state championships from 2000-06. He was an assistant at Duke during the 2004 championship run.

Knotts left Independence after the 2009 season to take over at Dutch Fork. He led Dutch Fork to the 2013 S.C. Division I state championship.

Patriots athletics director Kelly Lewis said he and Knotts began talking after the Patriots’ planned season-opener with three-time N.C. 4AA champ Mallard Creek fell through. Mallard Creek is playing S.C. power Dillon. The schools signed a two-year contract. This year’s game is at Dutch Fork. The 2017 game is at Independence.

“We both agreed that it won’t be about Tom Knotts versus Independence,” said Lewis, who was an assistant under Knotts for 11 years and was his AD for three more. “We both needed a football game. But in 2017 when gets to come home, he’ll be on the opposite sideline. So sure, it’ll be weird.”

Independence High 2016 football schedule

A19: at Dutch Fork

A26: at Scotland Co.

S2: Olympic

S9: at West Meck

S16: Vance

S23: at East Meck

S30: Porter Ridge (homecoming)

O7: Bye

O14: at Garinger

O21: Myers Park

O28: Rocky River

N4: at Butler

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