’Toppers hope to get healthy vs. Volunteer

Douglas Fritz • Oct 17, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Slowly but surely, Science Hill seems to be getting back to good health, and that’s probably pretty bad news for Volunteer.The Hilltoppers will travel to take on the winless Falcons tonight in Church Hill with quarterback Malik McGue likely back at the controls. Kickoff for the Big Seven Conference football contest is scheduled for 7:30.When looking at the list of injuries this season, Science Hill probably should feel fortunate to be 3-0 in league play and 5-2 overall. Included are three season-ending ACL injuries (Xavier Driver, Nick Ross and Cody Carden), four ankles bad enough to miss games (Gad Nagba, Malik McGue, Isaac Story, Corey Johnson), one finger tendon (Mikey White), and a shoulder (Malik Stephens).It might make for a good discussion in anatomy class, but it hasn’t been a great deal for a football team.“It has been pretty bad, and I’m probably forgetting somebody,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter. “And it has been different stuff.”Science Hill hasn’t even been able to avoid injuries during walk-throughs, said Carter.“We did a walk-through on Monday, and our starting center (Corey Johnson) showed up (Tuesday) in a walking boot,” he said. “He turned his ankle during walk-through, so he won’t be playing Friday. Things happen throughout the season, but all of these things have been a bit much.”On the sunny side, Science Hill has gotten productive work at the quarterback position from Justin Bedard. The sophomore has totaled 404 yards of offense in two weeks.That gives Carter a comfort zone as McGue returns under center. McGue has 1,303 yards of total offense in a little over four games.“As soon as (McGue) is ready to go, he needs to get reps and get going,” said Carter. “He has been taking the first half of the reps this week, and he looks good.”Offense hasn’t been a problem for the Hilltoppers this season as they are scoring 43 points per game. The problem has been defense, where the ‘Toppers are last in the Big Seven Conference and allowing 413 yards per game.Science Hill has given up 30 points per game, but held Sullivan Central to 10 points despite allowing 351 yards last week.Volunteer, (0-3, 0-7) scored just 57 points in its first six games, but piled up 42 in last week’s loss to David Crockett.“We definitely have to do better on defense, and we know it,” said Carter. “We’ve had to make a lot of adjustments because of injury. Gad is our middle linebacker, and he will be out again. He’s our leader and our leading tackler.”Overall, Carter said his team has a lot of work to do.“I didn’t think we played very well last week,” said Carter. “We’ve got a couple of weeks to get ready and hopefully win this conference. We’ve got to keep getting better.”

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