Volunteer visited Science Hill on Friday, and the sparse attendance for the fall break matchup suggested Hilltoppers fans thought the outcome was a foregone conclusion.
Essentially it was.
Will Adams’ catch out of the backfield went 48 yards for a touchdown to give the Hilltoppers a 21-0 lead with 1:42 left in the first quarter and they cruised to a 49-3 victory at Kermit Tipton Stadium.
Adams finished with eight carries for 108 yards, including a 4-yard TD, while helping Science Hill (5-0, 6-2) pile up 335 of their 518 yards of offense on the ground.
Quarterback Justin Snyder rushed six times for 64 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown — all in the first half — and passed for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
“Justin’s playing super,” Science Hill coach Stacy Carter said. “He played great in practice this week. He just keeps getting better. He’s making good decisions.”
Jahmar Adams’ second touchdown run of the first half and Perry Murdaugh’s PAT kick gave the Hilltoppers a 28-3 lead with 1:29 left in the second quarter. Unlike last week, when the Hilltoppers saw Daniel Boone make the scoreboard somewhat respectable in the second half of Science Hill’s 42-26 victory, Science Hill shut out Volunteer in the second half.
And linebacker Grant Janeway returned a fumble 14 yards for a TD that concluded the game’s scoring with 11:03 left in the game.
“It was right there in front of me … scoop and score,” said Janeway, who also forced a fumble that Science Hill recovered at the Volunteer 35-yard line to help set up Jahmar Adams’ 5-yard score with 3:55 left in the first quarter. “We finished it right. The whole defense did our job. …
“Everybody’s pulling together and playing hard, playing tough. Tate Isbell’s doing a great job of getting off blocks and making tackles. Our defensive linemen are getting in the gaps and making plays.”
Will Adams said finishing strong was a point of emphasis after the second half last week.
“He (Carter) was telling us we can’t let up no matter who we play,” Adams said, “and it couldn’t be like the second half when we played at Boone.”
Snyder got Science Hill on the board with a 14-yard run with 6:33 left in the first quarter. Snyder’s 13-yard pass to Aaron Greene on 4th-and-8 gave the Hilltoppers 1st-and-goal at the 5 to set up Jahmar Adams’ 5-yard TD 2 1/2 minutes later.
Snyder’s second TD pass was a 2-yard play-action bootleg to Tab Britton that helped give Science Hill a 42-3 lead with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Hilltoppers coaching staff was pleased with the performance of the offensive line — Tyler Miles, Jacob Colvin, Ty Jones, Nick Lindsay, Jeffrey Oakes — while helping pave the way for 335 rushing yards and allowing no sacks. First-year offensive line coach Andrew Beck, formerly on Greg Stubbs’ staff at Tennessee High, has aided the cause.
“Coach Beck has done a good job coaching that offensive line — just a super job,” Carter said. “That offensive line is close. They really hang together all the time and do things. A lot of it is communication up there — who to block and what to do. And they’re really getting off the ball and doing a good job. I’m really proud of those guys.”
Jamal Stephens had six carries for 62 yards for Science Hill. Jahmar Adams (7-41) and Malik Tarter (3-41) also buoyed the rushing statistics.
Freshman Malik McGue had four catches for 41 yards. Ten different Hilltoppers caught passes, including O’Ryen Scott’s 10-yard reception from Todd Page-Gilmore, which converted fake punt on 4th-and-8.
Hunter Lawson made a 29-yard field goal for Volunteer with 9:29 left in the second quarter. Quarterback Houston Harris helped set that up with a 34-yard pass to Sam Barton to the Science Hill 25. Will Adams had tight coverage on the play, but it was trumped by an accurate deep throw and a difficult catch by Barton.
Hilltoppers defensive back Izzi McKenzie broke up several passes on what was his 18th birthday. Perry Murdaugh was 7-for-7 on PATs.
Science Hill visits Tennessee High on Friday.