Science Hill needed some crucial plays to beat Elizabethton, and nearly every time the Hilltoppers’ offensive line did its job.
That allowed quarterback Justin Snyder to be a hero in a 27-13 win over Elizabethton on Friday night at Tipton Stadium.
People will long remember Snyder’s 344 yards of total offense, but it wouldn’t hurt to recall players like Jacob Colvin and Tyler Miles.
Colvin, a senior center, and Miles, a senior guard, created space for Snyder to operate.
“I don’t know if we beat (Elizabethton’s line) up, but I think they were putting about 11 in the box,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter. “And I think they had about 15 a couple of times.”
Science Hill ran the ball over 50 times because the Hilltoppers kept having success. Yes, running back Jahmar Adams and Snyder broke plenty of tackles — something Elizabethton will have to go back to the drawing board on — but in the trenches Science Hill won the battle, especially in the second half.
“After that first score in the second half, we regained the momentum and they were worn down,” said Miles, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound thumper.
Late in the game was where the story was really told. The Hilltoppers rushed for 124 yards in the fourth quarter, and a 49-yard pass completion was a direct result of the Cyclones’ concentration on the slowing down the running game.
“Justin had time to pass,” said Carter. “The pass blocking was great. Coach Andrew Beck is a super offensive line coach. He really is.”
Colvin said the line did its job, but Snyder certainly is a difference-maker.
“He just read the defense and did a great job,” said Colvin.
In that fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers had runs of 15, 8, 5, 7, 6, 7, 20, 29, 8 and 19. Five times they faced third-down situations, and each time they were able to covert and earn a first down.
Another impressive thing about Science Hill’s offensive line was its stamina. The Hilltoppers were pretty much back at the line of scrimmage a few seconds after the previous play ended. But even on a warm, muggy night, the lineman kept pushing Elizabethton’s defense around.
“Absolutely, their defense was worn out,” said Miles. “We ran a fast tempo and just had to keep it up.”
Even as the final seconds ticked down, the line got the blocks it needed to free Snyder for a game-clinching 19-yard run on third and two.
One of the biggest reasons Science Hill is better on the offensive line is weight room work. Colvin said the emphasis is not on body building.
“It’s more explosive stuff, like power cleans and deep squats,” said Colvin. “We’re working the whole body.”
And the results are showing up on Friday nights.
“We are a lot stronger than most people think,” said Miles.
But of course two good showings against smaller schools like Greeneville and Elizabethton won’t put any wins in the column for the Big Eight Conference.
“We just have to come out pumped up and ready to play when the bigger teams get here,” said Miles. “But this is a confidence boost.”
Douglas Fritz is a sports writer for the Johnson City Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.