Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett spent a season in comparison, and the Indians were three points better when the head-to-head battle finally took place.
On Friday, the Indians and Hilltoppers will get a better glimpse of how epic their Week 10 football contest really was. Did it help decide a state championship, or merely settle the issue in Northeast Tennessee?
Dobyns-Bennett is 12-0 as it heads into a Class 6A state quarterfinal showdown with perennial powerhouse Maryville, which is also 12-0.
While the records are the same, the histories are not. Maryville has either won or played for a state title 11 times in the last 12 years.
The Rebels won Class 4A state titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. They won Class 6A titles in 2010 and 2011. They were Class 4A runner-up in 2008 and Class 6A runner-up in 2009.
On the other side, Dobyns-Bennett has never played for a state title since the TSSAA began a playoff system in 1969. However, the Indians are seeking their fifth semifinal appearance after reaching that level in 2002, 2000, 1998 and 1976.
And it’s not just the state titles that make Maryville seem invincible. The Rebels hardly ever lose a game. Since 2001, they have played 176 games and won 170 of them. Yes, that’s six losses in 13 years. Wow.
Two of Maryville’s losses came in a state title game, two against rival Alcoa, and two against Morristown West — when the Trojans were a state power early in the new century. In fact, West’s 17-14 semifinal win over Maryville in 2003 was the only year Maryville hasn’t played for a state title in its incredible run.
In the same time span, D-B has played only 143 games — meaning Maryville has 33 more playoff contests under its belt than the Indians. D-B has an overall record of 120-23 since 2001, which is impressive until it is compared to Maryville.
Indians head coach Graham Clark said he doesn’t expect his players to be in awe of the Rebels.
“I don’t think our guys are going to do that,” said Clark. “Obviously we know Maryville has a good football team, but we haven’t played anything but good football teams over the last three weeks.”
D-B got rid of the sting of second-round upsets with Friday’s 28-21 win over Sevier County. But Clark said it wasn’t necessarily a pressure-relieving win.
“I don’t know our players felt any pressure,” said Clark. “I don’t think they were feeling things like, ‘Gosh, it has been since 2005 when we got past round two.’ They might remember who they went out with last Saturday, and they might not.
“I think they’re excited to be going to the quarterfinals. We’re still playing. That’s the main thing.”
As for whether this is the best opportunity D-B has ever had, Clark said it’s relevant to the time.
“Is it the best opportunity?” said Clark. “We’ve been in the semifinals three times, and thought we had a great shot each time. But each time we were in the Class 5A semifinals, Maryville was playing Class 4A.”
If D-B wins, it’s no soft road to a state title. Undefeated Murfreesboro Siegel potentially waits in the semifinals, and unbeaten Memphis Whitehaven could come out of the west part of the state.
But a D-B win would solidify its game with Science Hill as arguably the best-ever battle in Northeast Tennessee history — if it wasn’t already.
Elizabethton’s win over Gatlinburg-Pittman gave the Cyclones their fifth 10-win season in school history.
They won 11 games in 2009 and 1997. The school record is 12 wins, which the Cyclones earned in 1998 and 1999.
Elizabethton is 10-2 heading into Friday’s state quarterfinal contest with Sullivan North.
District and regional alignments for all sports will be voted on at Thursday’s TSSAA Board of Control meeting.
Proposals for District 1, beginning with the 2013-14 school year, are as follows:
Class AAA — Daniel Boone, David Crockett, Dobyns-Bennett, Science Hill, Sullivan Central, Tennessee High, Volunteer
Class AA — Elizabethton, Happy Valley, Johnson County, Sullivan East, Sullivan North, Sullivan South, Unicoi County
Class A — Cloudland, Hampton, North Greene, South Greene, Unaka, University High.
Dobyns-Bennett’s football team needs just 18 points to post a top-10 all-time finish.
Here are this season’s top 15 teams in scoring across the state (through Week 12):
Team Class Pts
1. Dobyns-Bennett 6A 610
2. Cheatham County 3A 558
3. CAK 3A 555
4. Lexington 4A 543
5. Giles County 4A 535
6. Knoxville Fulton 4A 533
7. Murf. Siegel 6A 514
8. Science Hill 6A 508
9. Covington 4A 507
10. Maryville 6A 503
11. DeKalb County 4A 495
12. East Hamilton 4A 487
13. Greeneville 4A 483
14. Friendship Christian 2A 479
15. Mem. Whitehaven 6A 479
Football playoff odds:
Class 6A — Maryville by 6 over Dobyns-Bennett; Siegel by 7 over Riverdale.
It’s all about defense for the Indians. They should be able to put some points on the board against a Maryville defense that has surrendered totals of 41, 33, 25 and 24 points this season. However, the Indians must find a way to slow a Rebels’ offense, which is powered by running back Shawn Prevo (180 yards rushing in the 39-25 win over Oak Ridge) and quarterback Nick Myers (216 yards passing).
Class 5A — Knox Powell by 7 over Tennessee High; Columbia by 6 over Ooltewah.
Taking advantage of a pair of good matchups, the Vikings have surprised many people by reaching the quarterfinals. This is a much tougher challenge against a team that finished state runner-up last season.
However, Vikings’ quarterback Peyton Henley is playing at a level that should give his team a chance to win.
Class 3A — Elizabethton by 5 over Sullivan North; Alcoa by 7 over Christian Academy of Knoxville.
It was a great matchup the first time between the Cyclones and Raiders. And with the way the teams are playing coming into this game, it should be another battle.
Both teams move the ball on the ground, and both will try to force the other team’s defense to stay on the field. A key will be whether North can convert third-and-short plays — or fourth-and-short plays — for first downs.
Pick of the Week — Elizabethton 24, Sullivan North 20.
The Cyclones’ offensive line and overall defensive play have been tough nuggets to crack for 10 straight weeks.
Picks record: 12-1.
Player of the week — Peyton Henley of Tennessee High.
In a 29-21 come-from-behind win over Morristown West, the Vikings’ junior quarterback put up some big-time numbers. He completed 25 of 38 passes for 331 yards as Tennessee High erased a 15-point halftime deficit.
Henley had touchdown tosses of 11 and 6 yards.
The Hogs Award — Sullivan North Raiders.
Relying on its ground game, the Raider Hogs cleared a path for 398 yards rushing on 55 attempts, an average of 7.2 yards per carry. That helped North record a 35-7 win over West Greene.
Defensive unit of the week — Elizabethton Cyclones.
It was domination in a 38-0 win over Gatlinburg-Pittman.
The Cyclones held Pittman to 25 yards rushing on 25 attempts, and forced eight incompletions in 17 pass attempts. Elizabethton also recovered two fumbles and forced four punts.
Science Hill’s girls basketball team won all three of its games in the Super 24 scrimmage day in Morganton, N.C., on Saturday.
The Lady Hilltoppers defeated Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day (58-33), Florida’s Potter’s House Christian (52-32) and Charlotte Myers Park (62-32).
“The games weren’t as close as I had hoped,” said Science Hill head coach Darrell Barnwell. “But we got what we needed, especially from Potter’s House Christian. They pressed all over the floor, which is what we will see if we make another run in the state tournament.
“Another good thing was our kids got an opportunity in front of a lot of college coaches.”
TSSAA Hall of Champions basketball games are all over the state map this week as teams try to get a jump start for the 2012-13, which officially begins Monday.
Here’s a look at the area teams who are participating in Hall of Champions contests:
Boys and girls — Johnson County at South Greene, Providence Academy at Sullivan East
Girls — Unaka at Sullivan South, Dobyns-Bennett at Knox Webb
Boys and girls — Elizabethton at Cherokee, Sullivan South at Cloudland, Sullivan North at David Crockett, South Greene at Hampton
(Sullivan Central and Happy Valley at Tennessee High)
Girls — Morristown West at Science Hill (junior-varsity at 5:30 p.m., varsity at 7:30), West Greene at Happy Valley, Sullivan Central at Unicoi County
Boys — (Science Hill, Unaka and Daniel Boone at Johnson County)
Boys and girls — Unaka at David Crockett, Volunteer at Unicoi County, Lee, Va. at Volunteer
Boys and girls — Cherokee girls at Science Hill (noon), Cherokee boys at Science Hill (1:30 p.m.), William Blount girls at Science Hill (6 p.m.), William Blount boys at Science Hill (7:30 p.m.)
Jefferson County at Sullivan Central, David Crockett and Cloudland at Sullivan East, Virginia High at Volunteer
Boys — (Daniel Boone and Unaka at Johnson County), Sullivan Central at Sullivan North, Unicoi County at Sullivan South; (South Greene, Sullivan Central, Volunteer and Elizabethton at Tennessee High)
Girls — David Crockett at Happy Valley
Soccer update: Elizabethton standout Christine Hardin finished her career with 127 goals.
Hardin had 41 goals this season, helping the Lady Cyclones reach the Class A-AA state tournament. She also added 16 assists, and led Elizabethton to back-to-back region titles.
Prep signings: Science Hill senior Shy Copney has landed a good college deal despite a knee injury in last year’s state tournament.
The Lady Hilltoppers’ basketball standout will sign Wednesday to play at Middle Tennessee State University. She will make it official at 3 p.m. in the new gym lobby. …
Elizabethton basketball standout Morgan Depew will make her college choice on Friday.
The Lady Cyclones’ point guard will sign with Tusculum College at 3 p.m. at the high school. …
Johnson County’s Ashley Arnold will also be taking it to the next level.
The Lady Longhorns’ softball standout will make it official with Milligan College on Wednesday. She will sign at 10 a.m. at the high school.