Science Hill baseball standout Heath Loyd has made his college choice, and it’s a big-time level.
The Hilltoppers’ senior committed over the weekend to play at the University of Tennessee.
One thing that apparently sold the Volunteers on Loyd is his versatility.
“He’s a heck of a hitter and plays every position,” said Science Hill head coach Ryan Edwards. “He has a lot of good tools, and he can throw in the mid-80s on the mound.
“He runs above average, and I think his power is projected to come as he gets bigger and stronger.”
Loyd, who is 6-foot-3 and close to 170 pounds, hit over .400 for the Hilltoppers last season as they reached the Class AAA sectional round. And he certainly didn’t hurt his college stock by his performances in the summer.
“He played a lot of high-level baseball in the summer,” said Edwards. “That helped him get exposure. We’re excited for him.”
The commitment is only a verbal agreement, and nothing can be official until the early signing period opens in November.
Edwards said he sees Loyd playing in the middle infield for the Vols.
“I think he will go in as a middle infield guy, and they will go from there,” said Edwards. “From talking with Coach (Dave) Serrano, they really like the fact he is a multiple-position guy.”
— Elizabethton’s football game at Happy Valley on Friday may be the best matchup this rivalry has ever seen.
Certainly folks across the state think so, as both teams are ranked heading into the contest for the first time ever. Elizabethton is No. 7 in the Associated Press’ most recent Class 3A poll while Happy Valley moves in at No. 9.
Located just a few miles apart, let the talk begin. However, nothing will be decided until they get on the field.
n Maryville won the annual early season battle between arguably the top two football programs in the state, halting Alcoa’s 44-game winning streak with a 26-19 decision on Saturday night.
Combined with Greeneville’s loss to Morristown West on Friday — which snapped a 16-game winning streak for the Greene Devils — Maryville is tied for the state’s longest winning streak with 16 in a row. Signal Mountain, the defending Class 2A champion, has also won 16 straight games. The Eagles jumped up from Class 2A to Class 4A for this season — choosing to bypass teams like Alcoa in the Class 3A playoffs.
— Greeneville was done in by West receiver Jeremiah Gregg in the 14-10 decision. Gregg totaled seven catches for 182 yards, including the 62-yard game-winner in the final three minutes.
West dominated the game statistically, outgaining Greeneville 455-176. However, the Trojans missed four field goal attempts.
— How good is Dobyns-Bennett’s defense?
Knox Farragut managed only seven points in a season-opening loss to the Indians, but cut loose for a 28-21 win over Oak Ridge, which had been ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 6A. D-B allowed 256 yards of total offense against Farragut. But Admirals’ running back Jacob Johnson nearly reached that total all by himself on the ground against Oak Ridge, racking up 205 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
It’s still early, but in two games the Indians have allowed just seven points and 254 yards of total offense after giving up minus-two in a 49-0 win over Clinton.
— Tennessee High is planning on upgrading its aging football stadium as the Stone Castle rejuvenation project began recently.
The stadium was built in 1936 and was added the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Structural repairs were done in 1999, but improvements on the current list include better accessibility for handicapped persons, new restrooms and concession stands, seating upgrades, additional seating in the end zone, new dressing and training room, upgraded lighting, and a new synthetic playing surface.
— Football games of the week — Elizabethton at Happy Valley, Sullivan South at Dobyns Bennett, Unicoi County at Johnson County, Sullivan East at Sullivan North, Morristown West at Cherokee.
Cyclones vs. Warriors — This could be the best matchup this series has seen in quite some time. And there’s more at stake than just city-county bragging rights.
Rebels vs. Indians — D-B’s defense should get a test in this one as the Rebels rang up 44 points in a season-opening loss to Enka, N.C. South hasn’t beaten the Indians since 1993.
Blue Devils vs. Longhorns — It has already been a weird season for Unicoi while Johnson County is trying to get its footing. Whoever wins will share first place in the Three Rivers Conference with two other teams for at least two weeks.
Patriots vs. Raiders — This county rivalry hasn’t produced a close game since 1991, but with both teams entering with 2-0 records that could change.
Trojans vs. Chiefs — Certainly West is for real after what it did to Greeneville, but how good is unbeaten Cherokee?
— Pick of the week — Elizabethton 27, Happy Valley 22.
This should be an entertaining game with some back and forth. Happy Valley has offensive playmakers, but Elizabethton has its share as well.
Picks record: 2-0.
— Player of the week — Justin Snyder of Science Hill.
Not only did the senior quarterback account for 344 yards of total offense and score three of his team’s four touchdowns, he repeatedly made crucial plays in a game that didn’t seem completely secure until the final few minutes.
The Hilltoppers defeated Elizabethton 27-13 as the shifty Snyder rushed for 140 yards and two scores. He also completed 11 of 18 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown.
— The Hogs Award — Hampton Bulldogs.
Facing a big Johnson County defensive line, the “BullHogs” blocked their way to 261 yards rushing on 27 attempts, an average of 9.7 yards per carry.
They also provided pass protection good enough for 60 percent completions (3 of 5).
— Defensive unit of the week — Dobyns-Bennett Indians.
In a 49-0 destruction of Clinton, the Indians allowed minus-three yards of rushing, one yard passing, and one first down. Enough said.
— This Week in Prep History — August 26, 1995.
Matt Wilhjelm and Brad Fields burst onto the high school football scene in the Hilltoppers’ season-opening 29-28 win over Elizabethton.
Wilhjelm, a quarterback, completed 20 of 28 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Fields, a receiver, caught 10 passes for 127 yards and also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to David Cassell.
— Dobyns-Bennett takes advantage of Greeneville’s loss to move into the top spot in this week’s Prep Top 10.
Team W-L Prv
1. Dobyns-Bennett 2-0 2
2. Greeneville 1-1 1
3. Science Hill 1-1 3
4. Elizabethton 1-1 4
5. Happy Valley 2-0 6
6. Tennessee High 1-1 5
7. Hampton 1-0 8
8. Sullivan South 0-1 7
9. Sullivan North 1-0 10
10. Sullivan East 2-0 nr