Science Hill had its up moments and its down times during the 2011 high school football season, but at the end of each game Justin Snyder’s numbers were consistent.
That’s actually a three-year story, and he exited as the most prolific quarterback in the history of Hilltoppers’ football.
Reaping the rewards of consistency, the 5-8, 165-pound senior earned the Johnson City Press Elite 11 player of the year honor Wednesday. Snyder helped the Hilltoppers to an 8-4 season and their first playoff victory since 2001.
Joining Snyder on the team were West Greene running back Dalton Boles, Hampton running back Phillip Waters, Dobyns-Bennett offensive guard Ty Hayworth, Greeneville’s duo of defensive end Jamel Hall and defensive tackle Terrell Rollins, Chuckey-Doak running back Julius Montgomery, Elizabethton running back Terrence Turner, Sullivan South linebacker J.C. Garvin, and Sullivan North’s duo of quarterback Cory Rowe and running back Kairi Thompson.
This year’s coaching honors went to Sullivan North’s Robbie Norris. Picked to finish second in the Three Rivers Conference, the Raiders put together the best season in school history by going 12-0 before a heartbreaking 19-13 loss to Austin-East in the quarterfinals of the TSSAA Class 3A playoffs.
Leading the way for this year’s Elite team, Snyder thrived in head coach Stacy Carter’s offensive scheme. By season’s end he had accounted for over 2,500 yards of offense.
Snyder passed for 1,910 yards and 21 touchdowns, and had a big game in Science Hill’s 41-32 playoff win over Knox Karns. This season Snyder also became more of a running threat, totaling over 600 yards on the ground and reaching the end zone nine times.
A three-year starter, Snyder completed 382 of 673 passes for 56.8 percent. He totaled 4,932 yards passing with 47 touchdown tosses and 28 interceptions.
Also, Snyder rushed for well over 1,000 yards in his career, pushing his total yardage over 6,000 yards. Snyder finished with 60 total touchdowns, rushing for 13 scores in his junior and senior seasons.
As for Boles, he had his eyes on a state rushing record but had to settle for the Northeast Tennessee mark when the Buffaloes were bounced from the playoffs in the first round. The 5-8, 185-pound senior finished the year with 2,604 yards rushing, which is the 10th-best documented total in TSSAA history.
The career yardage total for Boles was 5,530, good enough for 14th place on the all-time list. Boles also scored 30 touchdowns this season while leading West Greene to its fourth straight playoff appearance. Boles also had five 2-point conversions, giving him 190 total points.
Hampton was rolling right along until Waters rolled his ankle, and the Bulldogs’ season ended in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. Still, the 6-1, 180-pound senior broke the 1,000-yard mark twice. He finished with 2,007 yards on 205 carries and scored 23 touchdowns for the Bulldogs, who finished at 9-2.
Hayworth entered the season with a commitment to Wake Forest in hand, and the 6-4, 306-pound senior lived up to his billing. Hayworth led the Indians to 11 straight wins before a second-round loss to Sevier County in the Class 6A playoffs.
Grading out at 92 percent, Hayworth had 26 blocks that led to touchdowns and produced 41 pancake blocks.
Greeneville is still alive in the Class 4A playoffs, and will take on Giles County in Friday’s semifinals. Two reasons the Greene Devils have a chance to defend their state title are Jamel Hall and Terrell Rollins.
Both players were finalists for the TSSAA’s Class AA Mr. Football lineman award, which will be announced Monday.
Hall, a 6-0, 250-pound senior, has totaled 64 tackles with 20 of them being for loss. He also has 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
As for Rollins, he has 80 tackles with 20 of them for loss. The 6-0, 275-pound senior has also collected seven sacks.
Chuckey-Doak had a banner season, rolling into the playoffs and winning a postseason game for the first time since 1992 before losing a shootout heartbreaker to Sullivan North in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs. The biggest reason the Black Knights went so far was Montgomery, a bruising 6-2, 255-pound senior who rushed for 1,955 yards and scored 26 touchdowns.
Montgomery was also a force on the defensive line from his end position, getting double digits in sacks and tackles for loss.
Like Waters, Turner was motoring right along until he was slowed by an injury. Despite being being limited for the last four games of the season because of a turf toe, the 5-10, 160-pound junior still managed to post totals of 1,310 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.
When Sullivan South’s opponents were working on their offensive game plan, Garvin’s name was likely mentioned early and often. The 6-4, 317-pound senior was a tackle beast. In the regular season, he led Northeast Tennessee with 129 stops. He also had two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
Garvin also caught 16 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns from his tight end position.
North’s memorable run to the quarterfinals was highlighted by two 1,000-yard rushers. Rowe, a 5-11, 170-pound junior, was the trigger man. He finished with 1,309 yards rushing — averaging 9.4 yards per carry — and scored 17 touchdowns. And in the run-heavy offense, he also passed for 656 yards and 10 scores.
As for Thompson, the 5-10, 175-pound junior, rushed for 1,271 yards and racked up a total of 20 touchdowns. Thompson also had two touchdown receptions.