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Capsules of Science Hill's 1979 season

Trey Williams • Oct 24, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Science Hill hasn’t been 9-0 since 1979, when Steve Fields led Tommy Hundley’s Hilltoppers by rushing for nearly 1,300 yards, then a school record, and playing linebacker on a defense that allowed 26 points in nine regular season games.

Bob May’s defense included linemen Ernie Carson, Mike Tipton, Anthony Bell and Paul Lockhart, linebackers Bobby Emert and Troy Hundley and defensive backs Bill McKinney, Dee Dee Scott, Marvin Bell and Otis “Nick” Smith.

Science Hill 27

David Crockett 0

At Pioneer Stadium

Fields caught a 5-yard TD pass from Curtis Hurt in the first quarter and ran for a 9-yard TD in the third quarter as Science Hill opened the season in unexpectedly easy fashion against Boyd Fox’s Pioneers.

Hurt also threw a 52-yard TD pass to Dee Dee Scott that concluded the game’s scoring in the third quarter.

Fields rushed for 71 yards and Carson ran for 66 yards, including a 34-yard TD that made the score 14-0 in the second quarter. The Hilltoppers outgained the Pioneers 278-34 and Crockett was held to two first downs.

Science Hill 9

Dobyns-Bennett 7

At Memorial Stadium

Fields rushed for 101 yards and completed a halfback option pass for 36 yards on a key third-down play to thrill most of an overflow crowd that lined the banks between the stands and was estimated at 10,000.

Anthony Bell’s 5-yard TD catch from Hurt capped a six-play, 49-yard drive in the first half. Carson punted on Science Hill’s opening drive of the second half, and Ronnie Harvey recovered it at the Indians’ 42-yard line. Seven plays later, Rick “Porky” Arnold’s 40-yard field goal gave the Hilltoppers a 9-0 lead.

John McJunkin’s 26-yard TD pass to Johnny Burton on a difficult catch in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter got D-B within 9-7, but the Indians ensuing and final drive stalled at their 45 four plays after a 23-yard run by David Templeton.

It was Hundley’s first win in three tries versus the Indians and snapped a four-year losing streak and four-game losing streak against the Indians in Johnson City.

Science Hill 16

Sullivan Central 0

At Memorial Stadium

Arnold’s 25-yard field goal with 35 seconds left in the second quarter gave the Hilltoppers a 3-0 lead at halftime, and the Cougars committed four of their five turnovers after intermission.

Science Hill scored two TDs in the third quarter. Lockhart set up the first one – a short run by Fields – when he recovered a fumble at the Central 25.

Marvin Bell set up the final TD when he intercepted Rocky Renfro. Fields rushed for 87 yards. Fullback Dan Pence added 40.

Science Hill 18

Daniel Boone 0

At Daniel Boone

Fields rushed for 90 yards on 16 carries and Pence rushed for 88 pad-popping yards against Ken Green’s hard-hitting Trailblazers.

Fields opened the scoring in the first quarter with a four-yard TD pass from Hurt.

Bill McKinney’s interception gave Science Hill possession at the Boone 29 in the third quarter and Fields then carried three times for 24 yards to set up Hurt’s 5-yard TD run.

McKinney threw a 7-yard TD pass to Anthony Bell via a fake field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter. Boone never crossed midfield, and Hundley commended his defense, particularly defensive linemen Mike Tipton and Carson.

Science Hill 20

Tennessee High 7

BRISTOL – Quarterback Dirk Gentry’s 1-yard TD run gave Tennessee High (0-3, 2-3) a 7-0 lead at halftime, at which point Fields had two yards rushing. So Hundley let his offensive line hear about it in the locker room, and Fields finished with 141 yards rushing and three TDs.

He got Science Hill on the scoreboard via a 22-yard toss sweep with 4:36 left in the third quarter and gave the Hilltoppers the lead with a 9-yard TD run with 3:43 left in the game. He added a 23-yard TD run 70 seconds later.

Gentry’s TD run was the first the Hilltoppers (3-0, 5-0) had allowed on the ground in 17-plus quarters.

Dee Dee Scott’s ensuing kickoff return went for a TD that was nullified by a flag for a block below the waist at the Tennessee High 23.

Otis “Nick” Smith’s punt return to the THS 31 set up Science Hill’s first score, a run by Fields on which he broke three tackles. Smith also set up the final TD by recovering a fumble on a kickoff return at the Tennessee High 23.

Science Hill 7

Elizabethton 0

Elizabethton (3-1, 4-1) entered undefeated and ranked No. 8 in the state. Science Hill (4-0, 6-0) was ranked No. 9. An estimated 9,000 fans were at Memorial Stadium.

Fields (172 yards rushing) ran for a 51-yard TD with 8:04 left in the game. Science Hill’s previous drive had stopped at the Elizabethton 7 when Lance Ritchie intercepted Hurt.

Cyclones junior Scott Rider, who alternated at quarterback with big John Hutchins, also made an interception he returned 31 yards to the Science Hill 29 late in the third quarter. But the short drive ended when Troy Hundley intercepted Rider at the 14-yard line.

Dave Rider’s talented Elizabethton included Ken Shipley and Eddie Coe. Scott kept Shipley’s long return on the opening kickoff from being a touchdown with a tackle at the Elizabethton 46.

Science Hill 21

Morristown West 6

MORRISTOWN – Fields rushed for 139 yards and a TD and set up the game’s first score – an 8-yard run by Pence – with a 61-yard run to the 8-yard line. Seventh-ranked Science Hill held the Trojans to 125 yards total offense.

Pence’s score came in the second quarter. Fields scored from four yards out and Carson’s PAT made it 14-0 early in the fourth quarter.

McKinney intercepted a Tim Standifer pass and returned it to the West 42 to set up Science Hill’s final TD, a 2-yard run by Carson. Standifer did spoil what would’ve been Science Hill’s fifth shutout when he connected with tight end Bo Saulsberry for a 7-yard TD pass with 15 seconds left in the game.

Science Hill 40

Sullivan East 0

At ETSU’s Memorial Center

Science Hill clinched at least a share of the Big Seven Conference title and a playoff berth. Hurt was 5-of-10 passing for 95 yards and two TDs. Fields opened the scoring with a 48-yard TD and added an 8-yard TD in the third quarter. He rushed for more than 100 yards, including 88 in the first half.

Anthony Bell caught a 20-yard TD pass from Hurt after a long punt return from Scott went to the East 39. Scott also had a long punt return to the East 31, which set up Hurt’s 31-yard TD pass to Nat Rollins. Hundley returned an interception 22 yards for a TD that made the score 27-0 at halftime.

McKinney returned an interception 27 yards to the East 20 to set up the final score, a 1-yard run by Carson.

Science Hill 27

Unicoi County 6

At Gentry Stadium

ERWIN – Fifth-ranked Science Hill concluded the school’s first unbeaten, untied regular season. Fields rushed for 179 yards and three TDs on 27 carries, giving him 1,087 yards (159 carries) on the season. Robert Shade scored the final TD from 41 yards out.

Hundley commended linebacker Nick Smith while touting a superstar-less team’s sound, stingy defense. “And we’ve got one guy in our secondary,” Hundley told the Press-Chronicle, “who has probably saved about five touchdowns – Dee Dee Scott, our safety.”


Science Hill 19

Morristown East 13

Dan Pence scored from two yards out in overtime and Troy Hundley intercepted Terry Norton’s 3rd-and-14 pass to seal the Hilltoppers’ playoff victory.

Science Hill scored on the game’s opening drive for a 6-0 lead. Scott had an 18-yard catch to the East 17, and added a 12-yard run after a 5-yard penalty to set up a 6-yard TD by Fields (33 carries, 181 yards). Carson’s PAT was blocked.

A Mike Bucca 3-yard TD made the score 6-6. The East PAT was wide.

Carson recovered a Bo Schultz fumble inside the East 10 and Fields scored on the first-down run for a 13-6 lead. East answered two plays after the kickoff when Norton threw a 70-yard TD pass to tight end Tim Sturm.

Science Hill nearly avoided overtime with 46 seconds left thanks to a hook-and-ladder from Hurt to Scott to Fields, who took Scott’s lateral around the East 40 and ran some 30 yards before fumbling around the East 10. Fields suffered a deep thigh bruise and didn’t return to the game.

Carson and Pence rushed for 91 yards apiece.

Oak Ridge 50

Science Hill 0

OAK RIDGE – After allowing 39 points to opponents all season, the Hilltoppers allowed 50 points to one of their own in a humbling state quarterfinal loss in the mud. Oak Ridge was coached by Science Hill alumnus Emory Hale and went on to win one of Hale’s three state titles that season.

Oak Ridge scored on three straight possessions after punting on its opening drive

The Wildcats blocked a punt, snuffed a fake punt and sacked Hurt for a safety.

Fields was held to 45 yards on 18 carries, and didn’t play linebacker due to the thigh bruise. Robert Shade gave the Hilltoppers their deepest penetration – to the Oak Ridge 35 – late in the game.

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