KINGSPORT — Steve who?
Wearing the jersey made famous by Steve Spurrier, Science Hill's Reed Hayes had a night that might have made the former Heisman Trophy winner a bit jealous. Hayes tossed six touchdown passes to lead the Hilltoppers to a 69-27 romp over Sullivan South on Friday night at the Rebels' field.
“We have a lot of good players and a lot of people made plays,” said Hayes, who found six different receivers for the scoring strikes. “I tried to get it to them and let them do the hard work.”
Hayes finished 13 of 19 for 229 yards, and likely set a school record with the touchdown passes.
“It's a record for any of my players,” said Science Hill head coach Stacy Carter, who made a triumphant return to the school where he played and coached. “Curt Phillips had five, but not six. Reed is a phenomenal player. Six TD passes is a pretty good night.”
Hayes also rushed 10 times for 96 yards to give him a total of 325.
Science Hill improved to 3-0 in Big Eight Conference play and 6-0 overall while the Rebels fell to 0-3, 2-4.
Science Hill needed only five plays to score first. The last one was a 20-yard touchdown toss from Hayes to Malik McGue, who made a diving catch running parallel to the goal line in the middle of the end zone.
“I felt like I got my arms under the ball,” said McGue. “I didn't think I could get to the ball, but somehow I got there and made the catch.”
McGue said Hayes' big passing night was not a surprise to his teammates.
“No sir, he's a great leader,” said McGue. “He practices hard, and I feel like hard practice pays off in the games. He's a player and an athlete. He does a lot for this team.”
South answered, also scoring on fourth down as Charlie Moore found Christian Comsa for a 6-yard scoring toss to tie the game at 7-7.
Six plays later, Science Hill was in the end zone again. It also came on fourth down as Hayes connected with Jordan Olsen from 16 yards out. Olsen caught the ball after it was deflected by a South defender.
After a South punt, Science Hill scored on a seven-play drive. Hayes hit Tre Webster in the end zone with a beautifully thrown 32-yard pass.
The Rebels answered with a 4-yard touchdown run by Moore to make it 21-14, but the Hilltoppers got a 3-yard scoring toss from Hayes to O'Ryen Scott.
South cut it to 28-21 on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Moore to Evan Headrick, who out-jumped McGue to catch the ball as they fell to the ground with dual possession.
Will Adams then started to stand out for the Hilltoppers. He scored on a 52-yard run to make it 35-21. On the next possession, Adams caught a screen pass for a 36-yard touchdown to give the Hilltoppers a 42-21 halftime lead.
It was like clockwork precision for Science Hill's offense, which totaled almost 400 yards in the first half. The Hilltoppers finished with 560 yards of offense.
“We just run our offense and focus on our team,” said Hayes. “We're just trying to get better each week.”
The Hilltoppers kept right on trucking in the second half. Adams got it started with a 26-yard scoring run to make it 49-21, and then Hayes hit his sixth touchdown pass on a 15-yard strike to Grant Janeway, another fourth-down connection.
Science Hill had more for the Rebels. McGue picked off a pass and raced 30 yards for a score. That was followed by a 37-yard touchdown run by McGue, his third score in the game.
McGue finished with 51 yards rushing, 20 receiving, 30 on an interception return, and 78 on returns for a total of 179 all-purpose yards. Will Adams finished with 142 yards rushing on just 10 carries.
Sullivan South added a late score when Dylan Wieger found Headrick, who broke a couple of tackles to earn a 67-yard touchdown reception.
Moore finished 13 of 16 passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Headrick had five catches for 146 yards and two scores.