Science Hill took steps forward in the confidence department last week, but Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter said his team has no reason for being satisfied.
“I’d be lying if I said we are where we need to be,” said Carter, whose football team improved to 1-1 by defeating Elizabethton last week.
The Hilltoppers will play host to Sullivan Central tonight, with kickoff set for 7:30 at Tipton Stadium. It is the Big Eight Conference opener for both teams.
In other Big Eight games, Daniel Boone travels to play Volunteer, David Crockett visits Tennessee High and Sullivan South is at Dobyns-Bennett.
In one way, the Hilltoppers will be in a regrouping mode as Luke Hampton will miss the rest of the season because of tears to his ACL and meniscus. That not only takes away a starting linebacker and a running back, but also the backup quarterback.
“It was devastating for a lot of reasons,” said Carter. “He’s a great football player, but also a great kid. It’s our first taste of adversity, losing a real good player.
“If affects your team, no doubt. But we’ve got a lot of players who can play. There are guys who have been wanting to play, and we will see what they can do (tonight).”
Replacing Hampton on defense will be Todd Page-Gilmore. Freshman Malik McGue moves into the backup quarterback slot.
As for the matchup with Central, the Cougars struggled in their opener — losing 39-13 to Happy Valley — and were off last week. However, Carter said his team doesn’t need to look at Central’s problems.
“I think we as a team have to worry about ourselves, whether we’re playing Central or D-B,” said Carter. “Right now we don’t think we’re playing the way we should play. Every week is critical to us, getting better fundamentally as a team. We’re not concerned about who we play, we’re concerned about ourselves.”
Science Hill moved the ball very effectively in the 27-13 win over Elizabethton, with quarterback Justin Snyder rolling up 344 yards of total offense. He passed for 204 yards, with 129 going to deep threat Aaron Greene.
Central will likely have to concentrate on the running game, meaning Greene could catch a few more deep balls.
Daniel Boone (0-2) at Volunteer (0-2) — The Trailblazers’ season may hang in the balance.
Without a win over the Falcons, the Trailblazers would be 0-3 and facing four tough opponents in a row. Boone has managed just 10 points in two games, so getting the offense on track is of critical importance. The Falcons have an effective offense, so Boone will likely have to get in the end zone at least a couple times to have a shot at the win.
David Crockett (0-1) at Tennessee High (1-1) — The Pioneers have had two weeks to digest their season-opening beating at the hands of Sullivan East, but opponent No. 2 is likely a tougher beast to tame.
Crockett’s defense will be challenged by the Vikings’ wide-open offense, which passed 38 times last week and rushed only 17.
Sullivan South (0-1) at Dobyns-Bennett (2-0) — The Rebels haven’t solved the Indians since 1993, a 15-game streak.
In their most recent games, D-B has won by scores of 21-7, 42-28, 44-0, 7-6, 42-14 and 49-21.
This year, D-B’s defense has allowed a total of just seven points and 254 yards. South’s defense was torched for 47 points in a season-opening loss to Enka, N.C.