Johnson City Press Friday, December 19, 2014

Sports High schools

Hilltoppers will likely be without Sutton for opener

August 20th, 2014 11:02 pm by Trey Williams

The high school football season kicks off today, although Science Hill will be wrapping up the preseason with a home scrimmage against Greeneville.

The Hilltoppers open next Friday at Elizabethton, which starts the season this Friday against Daniel Boone. The extra week apparently won’t buy enough time for Science Hill linebacker-running back Trey Sutton to get back on the field.

Sutton suffered a severe groin injury in a showcase camp at Middle Tennessee State this summer. He said Wednesday that he might not return until the third game of the season.

Sutton, a speedy 6-foot, 190-pound senior, came on strong last season, particularly on defense. He was invaluable in the win at Dobyns-Bennett.

“I doubt we win that one without Trey,” said Science Hill coach Stacy Carter, who has high hopes for Sutton’s senior season. “We feel like he’ll be one of the best, if not the best, defensive players in the league. And he can run the ball also.”

Sutton had 59 tackles last year, nine less than team leader Gad Nagba. Sutton missed the final game and a half with a concussion.

Sutton, whose father Chuck was converted from running back to defensive end during East Tennessee State’s playoff season in 1996, had a team-high 51?2 sacks for the ’Toppers last year.

Sutton also had a team-leading 13.8 yards per carry in 2013. He carried 12 times for 166 yards and a touchdown.

Rival Elizabethton should be a tussle for the Hilltoppers even if Science Hill’s healthy. The Hilltoppers gave up some rushing yardage between the tackles in their 21-14 Big Seven Conference jamboree win against Dobyns-Bennett last week in Bristol, and the Cyclones will likely be running Ethan Thomas at them minus Sutton.

A natural surface and a game under its belt figures to aid Elizabethton’s cause, too.

The Hilltoppers don’t expect to be without linebacker Costa Kalogeros (concussion), who Carter said will play today against Greeneville.

Also back is senior safety-wideout Malik Stephens. He returned last week after sustaining a knee injury walking in the dugout during baseball season.

Carter said Stephens looks good after his recovery, and Stephens said on Thursday that he feels better than ever.

Stephens’ football season was cut short by a shoulder injury last year. He was on pace for an exceptional year. He had nine catches for 194 yards (21.5 ypc) and three touchdowns and carried the ball three times for 24 yards and a TD. He also completed a 31-yard pass on his lone attempt and returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown.

Carter is also high on another senior defensive back — cornerback Brandon Westmoreland.

“Last year, I mean, he was one that was getting picked on and everything like that,” Carter said, “and now he’s probably our best cover man we’ve got.”

Science Hill and Greeneville will scrimmage today beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Kermit Tipton Stadium.

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The SEC Network will debut the Steve Spurrier documentary “The Believer” on Wednesday, the night before Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks open the season by hosting Texas A&M.

Kenny Chesney co-produced the 90-minute film with Shaun Silva.

Spurrier’s brother Graham will be on the debut of Tim Cable’s Science Hill coaches’ show today at 5 p.m. (WXSM-AM 640) to discuss the “The Believer.”

Graham was one of a handful of locals interviewed for the documentary. So were Spurrier’s high school basketball coach, Elvin Little, former football teammates Ken Lyon and Cotty Jones, and Tom Hager, who played on two of John Broyles’ state championship baseball teams with Spurrier at Science Hill.

Footage was shot at the Spurrier’s former home on Wilson Avenue, at the church where their father, John Graham, preached (Calvary), as well as at Henry Johnson, Kiwanis Park and Science Hill.

Football coach Stacy Carter was also interviewed.

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