The Science Hill-Daniel Boone football matchup Friday features many ties that won’t bind.
Daniel Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins and Science Hill counterpart Stacy Carter were assistants together for three years on Sullivan South’s staff beginning when Jenkins arrived in 1998. Jenkins’ father, Jerry, an assistant at Boone, played at Science Hill in the late '60s.
Science Hill linebacker-tight end Grant Janeway’s father, Hal, played quarterback at Boone for Ken Green in the early ’80s. Boone lineman Trevor Duncan’s father, Mike, played at Science Hill in the early '80s.
Trevor’s brother Matt, another Boone graduate, is the leading tackler at the University of Charleston this season. Charleston’s second-leading tackler, Jeff Green, is a Science Hill alum — and Matt’s roommate.
Green is a senior, Duncan’s a junior and this week kicked off their annual debate about a Hilltoppers-Trailblazers scrimmage in 2008.
“Matt swears they 'won,' " Green said, “but I can guarantee you we scored more points than they did. Boone has come a long way, but I can assure you they didn’t beat us while I was around.”
Actually, scrimmages were all Green had. The teams didn’t play from 2005-08.
“We still talk trash about who won that scrimmage,” Matt said, “and every week of the Boone-Science Hill game, Jeff or me mention the game and that unsettled scrimmage comes up. Since we live together now we talk trash throughout the week and sometimes before practice.”
Duncan and the ’Blazers did beat the ’Toppers 23-0 during his senior season in 2009, and followed that with a 28-14 victory in 2010.
Science Hill (3-0, 6-0) won 42-26 last year in Gray. It evened Jenkins’ record at 2-2 against Science Hill. The Hilltoppers won 28-9 in 2004, Jenkins’ first year at Boone.
Staying above .500 in the series will be a chore for Jenkins, who mentions Science Hill quarterback Reed Hayes, receiver Malik McGue and running back Will Adams while detailing the Hilltoppers’ athleticism. Hayes, a senior who threw a school-record six touchdown passes last week in a win at Sullivan South, is in his first year starting at quarterback, but Boone saw his arm when he connected with McGue on a flanker-reverse option pass last season.
Jenkins mentions former South quarterbacks Heath Haden and Curt Phillips, now a senior at Wisconsin, when discussing Hayes.
“The Hayes kid is right up there with them,” Jenkins said. “The only thing I see between him and Curt is Curt was bigger. But as far as his arm strength, he really delivers a great ball and it really shoots right out of his hand. And he can beat you with his legs or his arm.”
Carter said the reason the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Hayes isn’t more bulked up is because the three-sport starter, who’s commited to Tennessee in baseball, doesn’t have much time to be in the weight room. He said Hayes could be an excellent college quarterback.
“I mean, there’s just all kinds of ability there,” Carter said. “He’s just scratching the surface on what he can do.”
Boone (2-1, 5-1) has a capable quarterback in Jake Littleton, who also led the Big Eight Conference last season with nine interceptions.
“Jake’s been a great leader for us this year,” Jenkins said. “He’s doing a great job on the other side of the ball too, you know, at his defensive back position, and one of the area’s leaders (again) in interceptions. He’s completed right at a little over 60 percent of his passes and I believe he’s thrown nine touchdowns with three interceptions. …
“And then Friday night, we used him a little bit on the option. He had six carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. He’s in that same boat of he can beat you more than one way, and we’ve just been very fortunate to have him.”
Boone also still has running back Cliff Sanders, whose career has been so prolific that Carter jokes he must be a red-shirt senior. Sanders rushed 28 times for 163 yards and two TDs, ran a fake punt 28 yards and recovered an onside kick against Science Hill last season.
“Cliff started as a freshman,” Jenkins said. “He’s been through a lot of games, and Littleton and the Duncan kid have been through a lot of battles for us. We expect experienced players in games like this to really step forward.”
Boone hasn’t played a game at Kermit Tipton Stadium.
“We know it’s gonna be a great environment,” Jenkins said.
The Trailblazers did play a quarter of the 2011 league jamboree there, and Jenkins has coached there with Carter in FCA All-Star games. There aren’t likely to be many secrets with the coaches.
Carter said Boone dropped eight players into coverage at times in a 37-7 win against pass-happy Tennessee High last week, and the ‘Blazers had five interceptions in the first half. Carter doesn’t expect to see the same scheme.
“He knows me,” Carter said. “I’ll run the ball every darn time if I have to.”
Indeed, Jenkins noted the balance of a Hilltoppers offense that’s gained 1,235 yards passing and 1,535 yards rushing making it difficult to game-plan.
“Yeah, I feel like we know each other pretty well and know what each other likes to do,” Jenkins said. “But it ain’t me and him playing Friday night, it’s them kids.”
Boone’s lone loss was a 56-21 setback against Dobyns-Bennett. Carter doesn’t anticipate the score of that one giving his players a false sense of sercurity.
“It’s a Washington County rivalry, and it’s gonna be a tough game,” Carter said. “I mean, last year, even though we got out early, they still played all the way to the last. Our kids know we’re gonna have to be ready, for sure. …
“They beat us two years ago. They do a heck of a job. They’ve got a good team and Jeremy gets those guys playing so hard.”
They’ll be playing hard in spirt in Charleston.
“We can’t wait to see what happens this Friday,” Green said. “Science Hill has one of the best teams in years, and I’ve been bragging about it non-stop to Matt. Good luck to Boone, but I think my boys have got this one in the bag.”