Something special will likely be needed if Science Hill is going to claim its first state golf championship since 2003.
“Obviously if you look back at the scores, you have to be around 300 or below 300,” said Science Hill head coach Kevin Vannoy. “We will have to shoot the best we've shot all season to have a chance. We've got our work cut out for us. We will give the best effort we've got.”
Included in the eight-team field is two-time defending Class AAA state champion Hendersonville. The tournament is a two-day event with 18 holes Tuesday and 18 more Wednesday.
Science Hill got in a practice round Monday at the WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester. Vannoy said consistency will be the key.
“We will just treat it like we've treated it all year long,” he said. “We've been consistently steady. Generally our three, four and five guys have been better than everybody else's three, four and five guys.”
Evan Crigger, Zach Botts, Stephen Wang and Drew Poland all have experience on the course.
“They have familiarity with it,” said Vannoy. “The front side is kind of open with risk and reward. The back side narrows and you have to be on your game.”
Science Hill has a storied tradition in golf. The Hilltoppers won the state in 1959, 2001 and 2003. They were runners-up in 1971, 1973, 1982, 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2006.
In the girls' event, Science Hill's Allison Woodward will compete as an individual.
“I think if Allison plays like she did in the district, there's a great chance of finishing in the top five,” said Vannoy. “And there are even expectations she could be in the mix to win.”
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It's getting deep enough into the season for football teams to start looking at playoff hopes and positioning, and the TSSAA will release standings and the playoff matrix today on its website.
Teams finishing first or second in their conference will receive automatic playoff berths. The rest of the playoff spots (32 total statewide in each of the larger classifications: 6A, 54, 4A and 3A; and 24 in Class 2A and Class A) will be determined by number of overall victories. A potential 17-step tiebreaker procedure includes strength of schedule, opponent victories and classification victories.
In Northeast Tennessee, a pair of Class 6A teams — Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett — are currently battling Class 5A Tennessee High for the top two spots in the Big Eight Conference.
In the Three Rivers Conference, Class 3A mates Elizabethton and Johnson County currently hold the automatic playoff berths.
Hampton, Cloudland and North Greene are three teams battling for two spots in the Mountain East Conference. Hampton and North Greene are Class 2A while Cloudland is Class A.
In the Blue Ridge Conference, four undefeated teams remain: Greeneville and Claiborne from Class 4A, and Cumberland Gap and Chuckey-Doak from Class 3A.
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Football games of the week: Tennessee High at Daniel Boone, Johnson County at Sullivan North, North Greene at Hampton.
Vikings vs. Trailblazers — This has been one of those out-of-the-spotlight rivalries through the years. Sometimes it seems one team will have an advantage, but the other team jumps up with a win.
This time around the Vikings enter as a slight favorite, but Boone's home-field advantage could be a factor. …
Longhorns vs. Raiders — Johnson County hasn't faced a major test in the Three Rivers Conference, but that changes dramatically here. It will take a very strong and disciplined defensive effort for the 'Horns to get the upset.
Huskies vs. Bulldogs — First place, and perhaps the Mountain East Conference title, will be on the line. North Greene is definitely the underdog as 93 points have separated these teams over the last three seasons.
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Pick of the Week — Sullivan North 25, Johnson County 20.
The Longhorns should have a lot of trouble stopping the Raiders' wing-T offense, and they likely don't have the firepower to outscore them.
Picks record: 6-0.
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Player of the week — Jordan Turner of David Crockett.
With the Pioneers desperately needing a win to turn their season around, Turner helped deliver a 52-25 victory over South Greene.
The senior carried 13 times for 172 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown rip. Turner also tossed a 31-yard halfback pass for a score.
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The Hogs Award — Sullivan North Raiders.
It was a snarly night for the Raider Hogs as they blew open holes in a 55-7 win over Wise (Va.) Central. North rushed 25 times for 312 yards, an average of 12.5 per attempt.
Pass protection was rock solid, allowing five completions in eight attempts for 63 percent.
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Defensive unit of the week — Elizabethton Cyclones.
Facing a Sullivan South team that was averaging 36 points per game, the Cyclones shut it down in a 21-7 victory.
Elizabethton picked off a pair of passes, forced two punts, and had two big defensive stands — one coming on the last play before halftime to secure a 13-0 lead.
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Prep spotlight: Coaches can submit standout performances for girls soccer, volleyball, cross country and golf to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline is Sunday at midnight.
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This Week in Prep History — September 18, 1998.
Jefferson County running back Ricky Upton had a game to remember in a 42-35 win over William Blount. The Patriots erased a 21-point second-half deficit to win, and Upton finished with 409 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
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Greeneville sinks four spots in this week's Prep Top 10 after its blowout loss to Alcoa while No. 3 Tennessee High and No. 4 Daniel Boone position themselves for this week's showdown.
Team W-L Prv
1. Dobyns-Bennett 5-0 1
2. Science Hill 5-0 2
3. Tennessee High 4-1 4
4. Daniel Boone 4-1 5
5. Elizabethton 4-2 6
6. Sullivan North 5-1 7
7. Greeneville 2-3 3
8. Hampton 4-1 9
9. Johnson County 3-2 8
10. Sullivan South 2-3 10