What’s the best way to shake off the loss to Dobyns-Bennett?
Winning a playoff game certainly seems like the answer.
Science Hill seeks its first postseason victory in a decade as it plays host to Knox Karns tonight in the first round of the TSSAA Class 6A playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tipton Stadium.
“The best thing we can do is start playing,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter. “Friday can be the best therapy. Our kids have got to snap out of it. Any time you have a devastating loss like last week, it affects the kids and everybody.”
Science Hill enters with a record of 7-3 while Karns is 6-4. In another Class 6A contest, Dobyns-Bennett plays host to Jefferson County.
Carter said he believes his players haven’t lost their confidence.
“Up until the D-B game we played with a lot of confidence and we were playing well,” said Carter, whose team lost 47-14 to the Indians. “That was the low point, but I think we will jump out and get one. I think if we play well, we will win.
“It has been a long time since Science Hill has gotten a playoff win. The coaching staff and the kids have set really high goals. We haven’t achieved all of them. Moving to the next round is the next goal for us.”
Science Hill’s last playoff victory was a 14-13 decision over Soddy Daisy in 2001.
Karns will throw a spread look at the Hilltoppers with quarterback Tyler Stewart running the show.
“They run spread, 4-5 wide, pistol, shotgun, all that good stuff,” said Carter. “It’s definitely wide open.
“The quarterback is a runner. He’s a very talented athlete. He scrambles around a lot and is able to make plays on scrambles. He’s not a precision passer, but he can make plays with his feet.”
Defensively, Karns will attack the ’Toppers with an aggressive style.
“They come after you a lot,” said Carter. “They blitz quite a bit, and are very aggressive. It’s kind of like a 50-spy defense. It’s not something you see every day.”
Senior linebacker Amariyuan Carter is a defensive standout for the Beavers.
Playing at home should benefit the ’Toppers, Carter said.
“I think it’s huge for us,” he said. “We thought we might have to go to Farragut, so I think it’s a blessing to play at home. It is a big deal.”
Science Hill will be without 6-3, 295-pound lineman Tyler Miles, who suffered a concussion in last week’s game. However, free safety Bradley Fulbright returns.
“Bradley will help a lot,” said Carter. “We lost one good player, and we’re getting a good player back.”
Science Hill is led by Northeast Tennessee passing champion Justin Snyder, who has thrown for 1,573 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 520 yards, putting him over 2,000 total for the season.
Will Adams and Jahmar Adams have combined to rush for 1,179 yards and 18 total touchdowns.
Weather conditions are expected to be much better than they were for Science Hill’s last game.
“That would be good,” said Carter. “We would like to not be soaking wet. Nobody likes to play in that.”
Jefferson County (5-5) at Dobyns-Bennett (10-0) — There is no sugar-coating the Indians’ postseason woes. They lost in the first or second round six consecutive years, with four of those losses being major upsets.
However, they have beaten Jefferson County 18 straight times overall, including last year’s 28-3 win in the first round.