A couple of things will be working against Science Hill tonight, but the Hilltoppers still enter as a strong favorite against Morristown West.
First, the ‘Toppers are coming off a 90-point explosion against David Crockett — the most scored in a Big Seven Conference game since Dobyns-Bennett hung 100 on Tennessee High back in 1925. It’s a tough performance to live up to, especially the following week.
Second, Science Hill faces its first road game.
“We’re young and learning how to play, and we’ve had two games at home,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter. “We’ve still got a learning curve we have to get over.”
Kickoff at Burke-Toney Stadium is scheduled for tonight at 7:30.
Science Hill (2-0) boasts an offense that has ripped two opponents for a total of 130 points. Morristown West (1-2) can point to its 77 points in two games, but a shutout loss to Greeneville in-between tempers such talk.
Of course, the Hilltoppers got slapped down by the Greene Devils in a scrimmage a few weeks ago, and Carter said the Trojans’ record makes them dangerous.
“They’re not used to losing,” said Carter. “Coming off two losses in a row, they will be ready to play and we better be ready.”
West’s defense is the first thing in the spotlight. The Trojans’ defenders will face elusive Malik McGue, the Hilltoppers’ quarterback who has totaled 654 yards of offense in 1½ games. He also has seven touchdowns.
As a team, Science Hill has amassed 1,073 yards of offense — even though the ‘Toppers had a lot of short fields in the 90-21 victory over Crockett.
However, there is a silver lining for West. Science Hill’s defense has been tagged for 506 rushing yards and has given up 432 total yards per game.
Also, the Hilltoppers will face an offense that is new — at least for Morristown West.
“They used to run the I-formation, but they’ve been all shotgun this year,” said Carter. “It looks like they are committed to the spread, pistol, and stuff you see in the NFL.”
West no longer has the services of standout running back Malachi Horton, who transferred to Knox Bearden. The Trojans rely on senior quarterback Will Gardner while sophomore running back Deandre Delaney looks like a pretty good threat.
With West being the first of several potentially tough games ahead, Carter said he thinks his team is moving in the right direction.
“I think we are getting better each week,” he said. “I can see improvement.”