Little things could turn into big things for Science Hill’s football team.
“We’re going to have the big plays,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter, whose team dropped 75- and 76-yard bombs on Elizabethton last week. “If we put the little things together and still have the big plays, it will be something to watch. We can’t rely on converting fourth and 20.”
Science Hill wants to improve on the small stuff as it will be a major favorite against Sullivan Central in the Big Eight Conference season opener tonight in Blountville. Kickoff is set for 7:30.
In other Big Eight games, Daniel Boone plays host to Volunteer and Tennessee High visits David Crockett.
In the Three Rivers Conference, Johnson County travels to take on Unicoi County, and Sullivan North hits the road to battle Sullivan East.
As for the Class A Mountain East Conference, Hampton is at Cosby, Cloudland will be on the road against Hancock County, and Unaka is the home team against North Greene.
Science Hill is 2-0 after beating Greeneville and Elizabethton. Central is 1-0 and coming off a shutout, but the Hilltoppers have crushed the Cougars’ defense through the years. In the last nine meetings, all Science Hill victories, the Hilltoppers have scored 33 or more points in every game. They have totaled over 40 points four times.
It seems like a good week for the Hilltoppers to get their “head games” going.
“We’ve got to get the internal stuff together,” said Carter. “As talented as we are, we’re still in the infant stages in some ways.
“This is good week to focus on ourselves. And it really comes down to that any week.”
Central’s 14-0 win over Happy Valley shows the Cougars have made some strides on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think their defense is better,” said Carter. “Offensively they went to something I think will be good for them. They’re using the wing-T with no line splits and running the football. I think eventually they will get better and better with it.”
Science Hill will test Central’s defense will the passing of Reed Hayes, who has thrown for 481 yards and five touchdowns. He has also rushed for two scores.
Volunteer (1-1) at Daniel Boone (2-0) — The Trailblazers have dominated the last three games of this series, winning by a combined margin of 132-13.
However, the Falcons are off to a good start after nearly upsetting Sullivan North and then beating down Sullivan East.
Both teams can run the football, so it should be a battle of ball control. Boone’s ability to strike through the air could be the difference.
Tennessee High (1-1) at David Crockett (1-0) — The Pioneers are 0-8 in the all-time series against the Vikings, and have been outscored 138-20 in the last three games.
This one should be more competitive as Crockett is coming off a win and has had two weeks to prepare. But the Vikings are still a big favorite.
Johnson County (1-1) at Unicoi County (2-0) — One of these teams is going to be feeling sky high when this one is over.
Either the Blue Devils will have their first 3-0 start in 17 years, or the Longhorns will have won two straight after ending a 17-game losing streak.
Unicoi has proven it can move the football on offense, but if the Blue Devils can’t stop Johnson County’s ground game it could be the deciding factor.
Sullivan North (2-0) at Sullivan East (0-2) — After a bit of a stumble out of the gates, the Raiders got back on track last week and enter as a solid favorite.
They have won four straight in this series, and five of six. East figures to have massive trouble stopping North’s powerful ground attack.
Hampton (0-1) at Cosby (1-0) — This is an important mental step for the Bulldogs after last week’s tough overtime loss to rival Johnson County.
Look for a quick bounce-back for the well-coached Bulldogs.
Cloudland (1-1) at Hancock County (1-1) — Last year the Highlanders lost 16-6, and this year Hancock County has been putting some points on the board.
On the road, this should be a tough battle for the Highlanders.
North Greene (2-0) at Unaka (0-2) — Coach Josh Edens has the Huskies rolling along in the early season, and the Rangers don’t figure to have the firepower to get many points on the board against North Greene’s tough defense.