Even though The Streak lives, it could be on life support.
In front of a crowd that brought back memories of high school football’s heyday, Science Hill gave a valiant effort before coming up three precious points short.
Even in the aftermath of a 37-34 loss — Science Hill’s 19th straight against Dobyns-Bennett — it was an effort that will be remembered for a long, long time. And despite the high final score, it was Science Hill’s defense that put the Hilltoppers in position to win.
D-B quarterback Malik Foreman terrorized the Hilltoppers with two long first-quarter touchdown runs as the Indians built a 19-7 lead.
However, as Science Hill scored 27 unanswered points, the Hilltoppers defense was keeping Foreman a little bit caged.
“We made mistakes early, but we just played better technique in the second half,” said Hilltoppers’ defensive coordinator Ralph Nelson. “In the second half we played our hearts out.”
It took a hearts-out effort because Foreman is special.
“He’s as good of an athlete as I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching,” said Nelson. “We just didn’t make plays when we absolutely had to make them.”
Science Hill defense came up with three first-half fumbles, the first giving the Hilltoppers the ball on D-B’s 6-yard line — which was converted into a touchdown to close Science Hill to 19-14.
Another giant turnover was O’Ryen Scott’s interception on D-B’s first second-half possession. Science Hill converted that into a score for a 34-19 lead.
And even though Chad Diminick’s 35-yard game-winning field goal broke a lot of hearts — including the big turnout of former Hilltoppers’ players on the sideline — Science Hill is knocking at the door.
Perhaps the Hilltoppers are beating on the door.
“I believe we closed the gap for years to come,” said Nelson. “I’m as proud as I’ve ever been of a group of kids. Coach (Stacy) Carter did a great job.”
Indeed, Carter is building a monster on The Hill. It is still under construction, but the days of Science Hill crumbling under adversity against the Indians may be a distant memory.
Dobyns-Bennett head coach Graham Clark said he was impressed with Science Hill’s defense.
“They played tough on defense,” said Clark. “They are tough up front. A few times their front people stoned us. Sometimes we got the best of them, but they played hard.”
In the final analysis, Science Hill proved it believed beating D-B was possible. All it took for the Hilltoppers to believe was Reed Hayes’ touchdown pass to Jordan Olsen in the first quarter. After that, it was “game on.”
If Dobyns-Bennett didn’t have one of its best teams in many years, the Indians would likely have fallen short against Carter’s group of talented athletes.
“We will see them again,” he said.
Yes, these teams could meet again at J. Fred Johnson in the playoffs. If things fall into place, a second-round contest will be the result.
If that happens, “Showdown in K-Town II” would take on a different personality from part one. All of the folks who said D-B would beat Science Hill by 21 to 28 points will need to reassess the matchup.
With Hayes running the show for the Hilltoppers, they will be a tough out in the playoffs. Of course, the Indians will be, too.