Daniel Boone has probably had its fill of hearing about Class 6A powers Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett.
The Class 5A Trailblazers can’t do anything about the Indians — they lost 56-21 three weeks ago — but they do get a shot at the high-scoring Hilltoppers tonight at Tipton Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30.
“The big thing about D-B was we had such a bad start,” said Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins. “We have to get off to a good start on both sides of the ball against Science Hill, and go from there.
“We had a week off after the D-B loss, and we went back to the fundamentals and the basic stuff. We were really anxious to get back on the field.”
Boone responded with a 37-7 win over Tennessee High last week, setting up an important game with the Hilltoppers. Boone is 2-1 in the Big Eight Conference and 5-1 overall while Science Hill is 3-0, 6-0. The Hilltoppers will be shooting for their first 7-0 start since 1979.
In other Big Eight Conference contests, David Crockett visits Dobyns-Bennett, Tennessee High plays host to Sullivan Central, and Sullivan South is at Volunteer.
Science Hill head coach Stacy Carter said his team has to take Boone seriously not only because of its record, but because of its overall program.
“Things have changed since Jeremy took over,” said Carter. “The coaching staff has done such a good job. They expect to win now. Over the past five, six, seven years, they’ve continually had more and more success.
“We know they have a good football team, and a good football program.”
Boone’s biggest chore will be containing Science Hill’s ample supply of offensive weapons:
— Quarterback Reed Hayes has 1,557 yards of total offense, 17 passing touchdowns and four rushing scores.
— Running back Will Adams has 647 total yards and 11 total touchdowns.
— Receiver Malik McGue has 371 total yards and six touchdowns.
— Science Hill has eight different receivers with touchdown receptions, and six of them have multiple scoring catches.
— Science Hill has scored 304 points for an average of 50.7 points per game. That’s the third-highest average in the state behind South Pittsburg (54.7) and Dobyns-Bennett (54.0).
“The biggest thing we’ve got to do is not give them the big play,” said Jenkins. “What I mean is no pass over 25 yards and no runs over 15 yards. We’ve got to try to make them earn everything they get.”
Speed is a concern, especially since Boone had trouble containing D-B’s speed. And Hayes adds a dimension because he can get the ball in the hands of those speedy guys, or do something himself.
“He’s a phenomenal talent,” said Jenkins. “It’s hard to believe he’s so good not having played any more varsity than he’s played.”
As for the Hilltoppers’ defense, they will have to contain Boone quarterback Jake Littleton (790 yards passing, 9 TDs) running back Cliff Sanders (585 yards, 4 TDs) and receivers Ryan Gaitor (370 yards, 6 TDs) and Michael Osterman (240 yards, 4 TDs).
“They’ve got a quarterback who is doing a good job throwing the ball, and Gaitor and Osterman are doing a good job of catching it,” said Carter. “And they always do a good job running the ball. That’s something they take pride in, and something they do well all the time.
“They will try to keep the ball. They probably do that better than anybody.”
David Crockett (0-3, 2-4) at Dobyns-Bennett (3-0, 6-0) — The Indians hung 75 points on Sullivan Central last week, so the Pioneers know they have a difficult task ahead.
D-B has scored over three times as many points (324-90) as Crockett this season.
Sullivan Central (0-3, 3-3) at Tennessee High (2-1, 4-2) — It has been a very good season for the Cougars outside of league play, but they haven’t been able to break through in the Big Eight.
Coming off the blowout loss to Daniel Boone, the Vikings will likely be a little angry, which doesn’t help Central’s cause very much.
Sullivan South (0-3, 2-4) at Volunteer (2-1, 3-3) — Offense hasn’t been a problem for the Rebels, but stopping people has been a thorn in the side.
South is allowing 365 yards per game, and the Falcons have really moved the football well on the ground. Casey Price and Sam Barton have combined to rush for 889 yards on the season.