Five ’Toppers land deals with D1 schools
Today at 5:43 PM
Wednesday is Division I day at Science Hill as five athletes will sign scholarships to continue their careers at the highest point of the next level.It’s quite an impressive accomplishment for the athletes, and says a lot about the school, too.Leading the way are a pair of East Tennessee State University signees as pitcher Daniel Sweeney will join the Buccaneers’ baseball program and pitcher/infielder Emma Martindale becomes a member of Lady Bucs’ softball.Also in the mix is Gabby Lyon, the Lady Hilltoppers’ standout post player. She will sign to play basketball at Middle Tennessee State University.In another baseball deal, catcher Matthew Beaird will make it official with Coastal Carolina.And in golf, Allison Woodward will join the Virginia Tech Lady Hokies’ golf program.All signings are scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. in the new Science Hill gymnasium.———Follow Douglas Fritz on Twitter @FritzBlitzzz.———Several coaching heavyweights still have their teams in the mix as the playoffs head into round two.Here’s a list of Northeast Tennessee coaches whose teams are still alive with overall record, win percentage, playoff record and number of semifinal appearances:Coach W-L Pct. Play SAC. Ballard, Grv 59-9 .868 16-2 3M. Lunsford, Hamp 180-51 .779 13-18 2B. Pittman, Cloud 17-5 .773 1-1 0S. Carter, SH 95-28 .772 14-9 2S. Witten, Eliz 58-28 .674 11-5 3S. Haynie, South 28-17 .622 2-3 0M. Atwood, JC 75-104 .419 1-8 0———Elizabethton’s win over Huntsville Scott in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs gave the Cyclones their sixth 10-win season in school history.The school record is 12 wins, which was set in both the 1998 and 1999 seasons.The Cyclones are 10-1, having won nine straight games heading into Friday’s second-round game against Greeneville. Last year’s team set the school record with 11 consecutive wins.This year’s team had a nine-win regular season for the first time since 1999.———Basketball is just around the corner. In fact, many area teams will be participating in Hall of Champions games this week before Monday’s official start of the season.Here is a list of games at Northeast Tennessee schools, according to the TSSAA approved contests:BoysToday — Providence Academy at Sullivan EastThursday — Science Hill at Unicoi County, Sullivan North at Hampton, Tennessee High at Happy Valley, Hampton at Science Hill, West Greene at University HighFriday — Holston, Va. at Johnson County, Sullivan Central at Unaka, Avery County, N.C. at Unicoi County, Unicoi County at VolunteerSaturday — Science Hill at Johnson County, Cherokee at Elizabethton, University High at Sullivan Central; Cloudland, Wise Central, Lebanon, Tri-Cities Christian at Sullivan East; Unaka, Sullivan Central and South Greene at Tennessee HighGirlsToday — South Greene and Hancock County at Johnson CountyThursday — Science Hill at Unicoi County, Happy Valley at David Crockett, Sullivan North at Hampton, Hampton at Science Hill, West Greene at University HighFriday — Patrick Henry, Va. at Johnson County, Sullivan Central at Unaka, Avery County, N.C. at Unicoi County, Unicoi County at VolunteerSaturday — Cherokee at Elizabethton, University High at Sullivan Central; Cloudland, Wise Central, Lebanon, Tri-Cities Christian at Sullivan East; Unaka, Sullivan Central and South Greene at Tennessee High; Cosby at David Crockett at Unaka; Virginia High and Claiborne at Volunteer.———Daniel Boone recently was selected as the A.F. Bridges Award winner for Class AAA in East Tennessee. The Trailblazers were given a $1,000 scholarship to award to a student-athlete this coming spring.Athletic director Danny Good said the sportsmanship honor means a lot to the school.“I’m convinced we received this award because of how our coaches conducted themselves, the parent meeting explaining how kids are expected to act, and the example set for the programs,” said Good. “I realize the competitive nature of athletics, but it’s not always about the score. It’s about doing what is right, and we get what it is about.”———Points of interest: Knox Fulton and Greeneville continued their assault on the state’s all-time scoring record, and Class 3A Upperman is still in the picture.Fulton is already seventh on the all-time list with 686 points. The Falcons are on a pace to score 936 points if they reach the Class 4A title game. That would break Greeneville’s 2010 record by a stunning 188 points.Greeneville has scored 600, putting it on a pace to score 818. Meanwhile, Upperman is on a pace to score 789.Of course, things should slow down quite a bit for each of these teams’ offenses as the defensive competition gets stiffer through the playoffs — and any loss ends the chase.———Playoff odds: Here’s a look at who is favored, and by how much, for this week’s TSSAA playoff quadrants involving area teams:Class 6AScience Hill by 2 over Sevier County, Maryville by 33 over Morristown East.There are a couple of reasons for making Science Hill the favorite. The Smoky Bears have given up 112 points in their last three games, basically counting on outscoring their opponent. Science Hill gave up 42 points last week, but stopped Dobyns-Bennett when it counted most in Week 10.Also, Science Hill fared better against common opponents, beating Morristown West 42-0 while Sevier won, 63-28. Against D-B, the Hilltoppers won by 11 (35-24) while Sevier won by four (34-30).Class 4AKnox Fulton by 27 over Sullivan South, Greeneville by 14 over Elizabethton.The Rebels should be able to score some points on the Falcons, although turnovers against the more athletic team will likely be their undoing. …Elizabethton should be able to move the football enough to eat some clock and score a time or two. Stopping Greeneville’s offense enough to win is the biggest problem.Class 3AAlcoa by 28 over Pigeon Forge; CAK by 21 over Johnson County.The Longhorns can hope to keep it close with a couple double-digit-play drives, but in the long run CAK’s talent and tradition will be tough to overcome.Class 2AKnox Grace by 26 over Oneida; Silverdale by 14 over Hampton.Boasting a good defense, the Seahawks will be a tough wall for Hampton to break. The game should be more competitive than last season’s 41-8 whipping.Class 1AGreenback by 3 over Coalfield; Cloudland by 3 over Midway.Midway doesn’t have any bad losses this season, and the 38-21 win over Greenback in Week 10 was quite impressive. Common opponents don’t really paint an informative picture, so it’s probably a game where a good start could make all the difference in the world for Cloudland. …Greenback won 31-7 at Coalfield earlier this season, so the Cherokees get the favorite’s nod.———Pick of the Week — Greeneville 34, Elizabethton 21.Consistency has been the name of the game for Greeneville. Here are the Greene Devils’ game-by-game points allowed this season: 0, 7, 0, 6, 0, 7, 7, 7, 20, 0, 7. Offensively they’ve scored at least 40 points in every game with the smallest margin of victory being 27.An argument can be made the Cyclones will be Greeneville’s toughest opponent to date, but it likely won’t be enough to erase a 27-point gap.Picks record: 11-1.———Player of the week — Malik McGue of Science Hill.Leading his team to a 56-42 playoff victory over Knox Farragut, McGue went on an air assault.The junior quarterback connected on 14 of 23 passes for 336 yards, an average of 24 yards per completion. He tossed three touchdown strikes, including a game-changing 38-yard score to Mikey White on the final play of the first half to stretch Science Hill’s lead to 42-28.———The Hogs Award — Elizabethton Cyclones.The “Clone Hogs” were at their best in a 27-20 playoff win over Huntsville Scott.They helped the team grind out 299 yards rushing on 48 attempts for 6.2 per carry. Also, the pass protection was tight as a drum, allowing 79 percent completions (11 of 14).———Defensive unit of the week — None selected.Defense may still win championships, but Friday night it was the offenses that made the difference in the playoffs. Here are the point totals area teams surrendered: 20, 20, 23, 27, 34, 40, 41, 42, 60 and 74.———This Week in Prep History — November 10, 2006.Hampton quarterback Michael Lunsford hit on 6 of 9 passes for 144 yards, rushed for 32 yards, and accounted for four touchdowns while leading his team to a 42-7 whipping of Harriman in the second round of the Class A playoffs.