The Hilltoppers, who lost the Class AAA championship in 2016 in a playoff with Knox Halls, are back in the final eight at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester for this year’s Large Class state tournament. Action gets under way Tuesday at 10 a.m. (EDT) and continues through Wednesday’s second round.
Knox Halls returns to defend its title and is the favorite.
“We’re definitely excited to be back and have a chance to play against the best in the state,” said Science Hill assistant coach Kelly Lane. “But golf is one of those sports where you can only control what you can control. If we’re constantly watching them, and push a little bit out of our normal thing, it doesn’t tend to lead to successful golf. We will just focus on what we can do (Tuesday).”
Also in the field are Walker Valley, Coffee County, Hendersonville, Lexington, Franklin and Germantown Houston.
Science Hill will go with three sophomores (Jackson Skeen, Tarun Hoskere and Carter Counts) in its lineup along with three juniors (Sean Anderson, Gavin Nickels and Hendrix Price).
Lane said the door may be open for low scores.
“The greens are a little softer this year, and most of the time that leads to better scores,” he said. “But in the state tournament with the added nerves, this course always plays tough. If we manage our game, put the ball in the right spots, we will be able to play well.”
Sullivan East doesn’t have enough players to field a soccer team, but that hasn’t kept the Lady Patriots off the field.
On Thursday, East will play a home soccer game for the first time in the 50-year history of the school. The game is against Cherokee and begins at 6 p.m.
Six East athletes are part of a TSSAA-approved co-op program with Sullivan Central.
“We are proud of the efforts our student-athletes demonstrate as they compete on the pitch with Sullivan Central,” said East principal Andy Hare. “They have done this for over five years since we do not have enough participants to field our own team.”
Representing Sullivan East for the Cougars this season are seniors Annie Ensley, Savannah Johnson, Kassidy Nelson, and Lauren Suder. Also playing are freshmen Adeline Ensley and Rylie Patrick.
Sullivan Central is 10-4 on the season, including a 4-1 record in league play.
The value of high school sports
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has designated the month of October as National High School Activities Month.
The goal is to help schools throughout the nation promote the values inherent in high school athletics. The purpose is to remind students, parents, coaches, officials and others in communities across the country about the values and benefits of interscholastic activity programs.
High school activities help address society’s current issues in many ways, including the encouragement of students to stay in school, perform better academically, and become better citizens.
District tournament action got under way Monday, and Elizabethton carried some momentum into the postseason.
The Lady Cyclones were seeded third after a regular season nip-and-tuck battle with No. 2 Chuckey-Doak and No. 4 Sullivan East. Sullivan South went undefeated in league play and is the top seed and host for District 1-AA event.
Leading the way for Elizabethton in the regular season were Mary Beth Biggs (894 digs, 48 aces), Sydney Goodsell (349 kills, 541 digs) and Morgan Smith (523 assists, 230 kills, 84 aces).
“We emphasize strong defense,” said Lady Cyclones’ head coach Leslee Bradley. “Mary Beth and Sydney lead the way for us. When we turn to offense, Sydney and Morgan are two players we depend on. When these three players are on their game, we are a strong team.”
The championship is Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
In District 1-AAA, Science Hill, Daniel Boone and David Crockett finished at the back end of league play with top-seed Dobyns-Bennett leading the way.
The championship round of the tournament, being played at D-B, is set for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with the if-necessary game scheduled for Friday.
Division I football state scoring leaders
1. Anderson County — 52.0
2. Coalfield — 51.0
3. Cordova — 50.1
4. Greeneville — 47.3
5. Blackman — 46.3
Others: No. 8 Cloudland (44.2), No. 10 Science Hill (42.6), No. 12 Elizabethton (42.0).
Greeneville put 69 points on the board in Friday’s win over Sullivan Central, moving the Greene Devils into the top five.
Division I state defensive leaders
1. Mt. Juliet — 2.4
2. Whitwell — 2.5
3. Whitehaven — 6.6
4. White House — 7.2
5. Coalfield — 7.9
Others: No. 7 Happy Valley (9.0), No. 12 Johnson County (10.2).
Two of the state’s best defensive teams will meet Friday on Warrior Hill as Happy Valley plays host to Johnson County. The Warriors have surrendered 54 points this season while the Longhorns have allowed 61. …
Mt. Juliet’s shutout streak ended when it allowed 17 points in a victory over Clarksville Rossview.
Football games of the week
Hardin Valley at Science Hill
David Crockett at Cherokee
Knox Farragut at Dobyns-Bennett
Sullivan South at Greeneville
Johnson County at Happy Valley
Hawks vs. Hilltoppers — It’s regroup time for Science Hill, but this isn’t the type of opponent that will cooperate. Suddenly the Hilltoppers are trying to hang on to a shot at a home playoff game.
After getting ripped for Farragut’s season-high of 272 yards rushing, the Hilltoppers’ defense faces a team that has rushed for at least that many yards three times in the last four games.
Pioneers vs. Chiefs — It has been an up-and-down season for Cherokee, but the Chiefs have produced enough offensive firepower to make themselves a viable threat to the Pioneers.
Admirals vs. Indians — After a brutal first six games on the schedule, things don’t get any easier for D-B. But the Indians have been competitive every week, leading in every game and holding a fourth-quarter advantage in all but one game (Science Hill).
Rebels vs. Greene Devils — It’s “truth time” for Sullivan South. The Rebels have a nice record at 5-1, but their last five opponents have a combined mark of 6-26. And Greeneville is the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A, a spot the Greene Devils have earned.
Longhorns vs. Warriors — This has always been a good rivalry, but this encounter may be near the top of the all-time matchups. Both teams are state ranked, and the combined 11-1 mark is likely the best ever.
Pick of the Week
Science Hill 34, Hardin Valley 32
One week after basically playing for the Region 1-6A title, the Hilltoppers’ backs are against the wall. Look for a hungry and determined response.
Picks record: 4-3.
Player of the Week
Ethan Ward, Sullivan South
The Rebels’ play-making senior quarterback did his thing throughout a 32-7 win over Union County.
Ward carried 12 times for 217 yards and three touchdowns. He also passed for 80 yards with two scores. And he did all of that damage in three quarters of work.
The Hogs Award
Daniel Boone Trailblazers
The Boone Hogs were at their beastly best in a 49-21 crush-down of Morristown East. Boone’s big guys cleared the way for a dominant 288 yards on 48 attempts, an average of six per carry. They also provided pass protection for a 63-percent completion percentage.
Defensive unit of the Week
Johnson County Longhorns
It was lock-down Friday in Mountain City, and the ‘Horns were not in a giving mood in a 34-0 win over Claiborne.
Leading the shutout effort were Hayden Osborne and Jordan Edes-King, who combined for 23 tackles, two for loss, and a sack.
Ranked No. 3 in the state in Class AAA, Science Hill (11-1-2) has a major challenge set for Thursday.
First, the Hilltoppers will wrap up Big Seven Conference play at home Tuesday against Tennessee. Then on Thursday, the Lady Hilltoppers will travel to meet Greeneville, the two-time defending Class AA state champion.
This is the final week of the regular season. District action begins the week of Oct. 9.
David Crockett, Daniel Boone and Johnson County took advantage of Happy Valley’s slip, each moving up a spot in this week’s rankings.
Here is the eighth installment of the Northeast Tennessee Football Top 10:
Team (W-L) — Prv
1. Greeneville (6-0) — 1
2. Science Hill (5-2) — 2
3. Elizabethton (6-1) — 3
4. Dobyns-Bennett (3-3) — 4
5. David Crockett (4-2) — 6
6. Daniel Boone (4-2) — 7
7. Johnson County (6-0) — 8
8. Happy Valley (5-1) — 5
9. Sullivan South (5-1) — 9
10. Sullivan North (5-2) — 10
(tie) Unicoi County (4-3) — NR