Science Hill could be playing for more than just the Big Eight Conference football championship in Week 10.
If the Hilltoppers win their next two games, they could also be battling for the No. 1 seed in Quadrant 1 for the playoffs. This could be a very significant thing, potentially meaning a “Showdown in K-Town” win over Dobyns-Bennett could give Science Hill a path to the Class 6A state quarterfinals without having to face Maryville or the Indians.
There's still a lot of football to play, but the tiebreaker system could tilt toward the Hilltoppers — and away from Maryville. Here's the logic, which of course requires speculation on how the final three weeks will play out:
The first tiebreaker is overall wins. Maryville, Science Hill and D-B are the only undefeated teams remaining in Quadrant 1. Maryville will likely get to 10-0, so if Science Hill matches that record it will move the tiebreaker to step No. 2, which is “teams on schedule that won 50 percent of more of their games.”
As it stands now, both Maryville and Science Hill have six teams meeting that criteria. However, the Hilltoppers could gain a seventh team if Sullivan South beats Sullivan Central and David Crockett — neither of which would be an upset.
In order for Maryville to get a seventh team, it would need Knox Farragut to upset Lenoir City, or have Knox Catholic upset Knox West and Bearden.
Getting the top seed in the quadrant would be important because of the second round of the playoffs. That's where No. 1 would play No. 4, and No. 2 would face No. 3 — a potential scenario where D-B would face Maryville while Science Hill would meet Sevier County or Oak Ridge.
Yes, there are plenty of “ifs” still to be answered, but the stakes seem to be getting higher for Science Hill every week.
— — —
In Class 3A, area teams would like to see 12-time state champion Alcoa bumped into Quadrant 2. In order for that to happen, some teams have to finish strong — if the traditional notion that it takes five wins to reach the playoffs holds true.
Included in that mix is Unicoi County, which likely needs to beat Sullivan East and Unaka over the next two weeks. Also, West Greene or Pigeon Forge (each standing at 3-5) needs to reach the five-win plateau and both should have a fighter's chance.
Barring highly unexpected changes, Alcoa would bump to Quadrant 2 if any two of Unicoi, West Greene and Pigeon Forge reach the playoffs.
— — —
With its 75-point effort against Sullivan Central two weeks ago, Dobyns-Bennett scored over 70 points in a game for the first time since hitting for 89 against Jellico in 1964.
When the Indians put up 73 against David Crockett on Friday, it was the first time in school history they did it in back-to-back games.
It was also the first time since 1926 the Indians had scored over 70 points twice in the same season. That year they defeated Norton, Va., 193-0 and later crushed Elizabethton 75-0.
They also defeated Jefferson City (63-0), Science Hill (60-0), Greeneville (57-0), and Milligan College's junior varsity (50-0).
Oddly enough, D-B lost 3-0 to Knoxville High and 15-6 to Middlesboro, Ky., later that season.
— — —
Soccer update: Science Hill wraps up its regular season this week with a game at Sullivan South (today) and at home against Hardin Valley Academy on Thursday.
The Lady Hilltoppers are 9-3-2 on the season, and today's game will likely settle the issue for the Big Eight Conference. South is 4-0-1 in the league while Science Hill was 3-0-1 heading into Monday's game at David Crockett.
D-B is 3-0-2 with ties against Science Hill and South.
District tournament action begins next week at home sites Monday. It then shifts to Indian-Highland Park in Kingsport.
— — —
Football games of the week: Dobyns-Bennett at Tennessee High, Johnson County at Elizabethton, Sullivan North at Happy Valley, Cloudland at North Greene, Greeneville at Chuckey-Doak.
Indians vs. Vikings — After two weeks of blowouts, D-B figures to get more resistance this week. However, the Indians are still a heavy favorite.
Longhorns vs. Cyclones — With the Three Rivers Conference title on the line, it should be a hard-fought game. The Longhorns have to be productive with their possessions to have a shot.
Raiders vs. Warriors — North is trying to stay in the hunt, if Elizabethton slips up. Happy Valley could put a much different spin on its season with an upset.
Highlanders vs. Huskies — Both teams have a little something to prove here. Cloudland wants to show its program is back while North Greene wants to show it is still a force in the conference.
Greene Devils vs. Black Knights — Greeneville is a big favorite, and doesn't give up a lot of points in league play. However, Doak has scored a lot of points this season.
— — —
Pick of the Week — Elizabethton 24, Johnson County 14.
Elizabethton is clicking on both sides of the football, which makes the task very tough for the Longhorns.
Picks record: 8-0.
— — —
Player of the week — Jeffrey Rhinehart of Cloudland.
The Highlanders crunched King's Academy 47-16 and Rhinehart had a dominant performance.
The senior quarterback connected on 6 of 8 passes for 50 yards. He also carried 17 times for 221 yards. Rhinehart had scoring runs of 60 and 7 yards, threw a 25-yard touchdown pass, and added a 2-point conversion run.
— — —
The Hogs Award — Elizabethton Cyclones.
In a pad-cracking 42-8 win over Unicoi County, the Clone Hogs produced enough running room for three backs to be right at 100 yards rushing, and a fourth got over halfway there.
Elizabethton totaled 360 yards rushing on 49 attempts, an average of 7.3 yards per carry.
— — —
Defensive unit of the week — Dobyns-Bennett Indians.
Winning the honor for the second straight week, the Indians have allowed just 75 yards of total offense in their last two games combined.
In a 73-0 win over David Crockett, D-B allowed just 64 total yards. The Indians picked off two passes while forcing nine incompletions in 10 attempts. They recovered two fumbles and forced five punts.
— — —
This Week in Prep History — October 7, 1994.
Sullivan Central running back Tracy Massie racked up 372 all-purpose yards in a 50-42 double-overtime loss to Cherokee. Massie rushed for 209 yards, had 27 yards receiving, and added 136 yards on kickoff returns. He scored two touchdowns and added a 2-point conversion reception.
— — —
Sullivan South replaces Volunteer at No. 10 in the only change for this week's Prep Top 10.
Team W-L Prv
1. Dobyns-Bennett 7-0 1
2. Science Hill 7-0 2
3. Daniel Boone 5-2 3
4. Elizabethton 6-2 4
5. Sullivan North 7-1 5
6. Tennessee High 5-2 6
7. Greeneville 4-3 7
8. Hampton 6-1 8
9. Johnson County 4-3 9
10. Sullivan South 3-4 nr