Believe it or not, probably the best thing for Science Hill’s mindset this week is the fact the Hilltoppers have lost four of the last five games against Tennessee High.
That’s because it will be hard to peek ahead to Week 10 and Dobyns-Bennett when the prior task has a history of being difficult.
The ’Toppers will travel to play the Vikings at the Stone Castle in a key Big Eight Conference contest tonight. Kickoff is set for 7:30.
In other Big Eight games, Daniel Boone tries to keep its playoff hopes alive when it travels to play Sullivan South, David Crockett plays host to Sullivan Central, and Dobyns-Bennett hits the road to play Volunteer.
With a victory, Science Hill (5-0, 6-2) will line itself up for a conference-title showdown against the Indians — a game that has been moved to Thursday because of next weekend’s Shriner’s Circus at Freedom Hall.
“That’s the goal, but we’ve got to take care of business (tonight),” said Science Hill head coach Stacy Carter. “We haven’t been successful against Tennessee High, so the kids know what we are up against.”
Another thing that helps the ‘Toppers against the Vikings (3-2, 4-4) is the rivalry aspect.
“It’s city school versus city school,” said Carter. “It’s not different from D-B or Elizabethton in that regard. The kids know (the Vikings) have athletes who can play and can hurt you.”
Tennessee High has a strong passing game, led by quarterback Austin Delph. He has thrown for 1,313 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Receiver Adrian Lavergne is another weapon (35 catches for 514 yards and five TDs).
“He’s a talented receiver,” said Carter. “He’s a good football player, and a very good receiver.”
The Vikings use Lavergne and others out of a spread offense.
“They spread the field and throw a lot of vertical routes,” said Carter. “They also throw hitches and bubble screens, and run the quarterback a lot. We’re run spread, too, but we run the ball more.”
Overall, Carter said he likes where his team stands at this point.
“I feel like we’re getting better, and I feel like we are peaking at the right time,” he said.
Daniel Boone (2-3, 3-5) at Sullivan South (3-2, 5-3) — The Trailblazers broke a 12-game losing streak to the Rebels with a 7-0 playoff victory last season, and that should help Boone’s mental approach to this game.
Also, the Trailblazers have outgained their opponents six times this season despite losing three of those games. So there is reason to believe Boone has a shot in this game.
Ball control will play a key role in the Trailblazers’ bid for an upset as South’s offense will be very difficult for Boone to contain.
Sullivan Central (0-5, 0-8) at David Crockett (0-5, 0-8) — One of these teams is getting off the deck and earning its first win of the season.
Defense has been the Pioneers’ problem all season, but now they get an opponent that has had difficulty scoring. If Crockett plays well offensively and doesn’t turn the football over, it has a good chance to break into the win column.
Dobyns-Bennett (5-0, 8-0) at Volunteer (2-3, 2-6) — Whether or not the Falcons can put any points on the board against the Indians remains to be seen. But even if they do, it’s hard to imagine them being able to slow down the Indians’ offense very much.
Dobyns-Bennett is averaging 45 points per game.