Three years later, Stacy Carter makes his first trip back for a game at his old stomping grounds.
Carter played at Sullivan South, and returned to become a successful head coach before moving over to Science Hill. The Rebels played at Science Hill in each of the last two seasons.
“It won’t be emotional, it will be fun to go out there,” said Carter. “I’m taking my team, and I’ve got a good one. I’m glad I’ve got the team I’m taking over there.
“We have a bunch of good kids, and we’re all Hilltoppers. We’re ready to get after them.”
Science Hill will visit the Rebels in a Big Eight Conference football contest tonight in Kingsport. Kickoff is set for 7:30.
Carter coached the Rebels to a record of 63-15 from 2004-09. South reached the playoffs every season, and made it to the state semifinals twice (2007 and 2009).
At Science Hill, Carter has a record of 18-10, including a 5-0 start to the 2012 season. The Hilltoppers are 2-0 in Big Eight play while South stands at 0-2 in league play and 2-3 overall.
There are still some ties for Carter at South. Key players for the Rebels, quarterback Charlie Moore and linebacker Jake Weaver, were freshmen in Carter’s last season at South.
And there are some other unique situations.
“I’ve got five coaches from South,” said Carter. “Also, one of my student helpers who signals plays is Grady Moore. He played for me at South, and he is Charlie Moore’s brother.
“Matt Eads, our receivers coach, is Jake Weaver’s brother-in-law.
“This weekend is (Science Hill assistant coach) Ralph Nelson’s 20th reunion at South. And also South made this their homecoming game.”
However, those things will fade after the opening kickoff.
“Our goal is to win all the way out and face Dobyns-Bennett for the conference championship at the end,” said Carter. “Every game is important. We can’t drop a game. We’ve got to be ready for each and every one.”
Carter said he expects the Rebels to be more balanced than they’ve been in the last two weeks, a 55-33 loss to Tennessee High and a 21-7 setback against Elizabethton.
“Against Elizabethton they ran every time, and against Tennessee High they threw every time,” said Carter. “I think we will get more of a mix, run and throw balance.
“What they’ve done against us the last couple of years, they’ve tried to hold the ball. They did pretty good the first year, but not near as good last year.”
Science Hill is coming off a bye week, so the Hilltoppers have had 13 days to prepare.
“We got an extra week of preparation, and we’re getting a few people back,” said Carter. “Anthony Head is coming back, and that will really help the defensive line.”
Science Hill is led by quarterback Reed Hayes, who has totaled 1,257 yards of offense in five games. He needs just four yards to move past 1,000 in passing, and has thrown 11 touchdowns with just one interception.
Running back Will Adams has totaled 468 yards, and is averaging 7.4 yards per offensive touch.
“Will is just breaking out,” said Carter. “He’s getting better and better. And Chance Pierce is running well.”
South is led by Moore, who has thrown for just over 1,000 yards with 11 touchdown tosses on the season. He is also South’s leading rusher with over 200 yards.