A case can be made for the 2012 game as the best-ever atmosphere, all things considered. Both teams were undefeated at 9-0, and the Indians escaped with a 37-34 win in the regular season finale on a late field goal by Chad Diminick in front of an estimated crowd of over 12,000 in Kingsport.
The 2018 version won’t carry the same hype, certainly won’t reach the lofty attendance figure, and won’t be followed statewide as a game with major playoff significance. But this year’s game at Tipton Stadium on Friday night will have plenty at stake — although it may not be for the reasons these teams would have hoped. In fact, it may be more accurate to say there’s plenty to avoid.
In short, it’s a situation where the loser’s season could be in shambles.
Currently, Science Hill has firm footing. The Hilltoppers are 1-1, and could have been 2-0 by erasing just one of several mistakes in the 36-34 loss to Elizabethton. From a momentum and mental standpoint, Science Hill is fine.
But a loss to the Indians would leave the Hilltoppers at 1-2, and they would be staring at an 0-1 record in Region 1-6A — with a setback against a struggling team that could haunt the ’Toppers the rest of the season.
D-B is not standing on solid ground. The Indians were blown out by Greeneville and followed up with a humbling loss at Oak Ridge. One thing the Indians can hang their hat on is neither of those games were in the region. But a loss to Science Hill would leave them at 0-3 and a potential underdog role in their next four games.
D-B vs. Science Hill
The Last 15 Years
It would have been easy to write Hampton off after the season opening setback against Trinity Academy.
After all, the Bulldogs crushed Trinity last year before losing six straight games. And with rival Johnson County on the schedule in Week 2, Hampton looked like it was in trouble.
However, Lane Potter and his teammates refused to let their season take a downward spiral. The senior running back carried a workman-like 30 times for a hard-fought 118 yards to help his team secure a 20-19 win over the Longhorns.
The bad news for Hampton is the schedule isn’t easier than it was last year with Happy Valley, Gatlinburg-Pittman, David Crockett, Sullivan North and Cloudland lining up to take their shot at the Bulldogs. But at least the ’Dogs will enter the fray with momentum.
Football games of the week
Dobyns-Bennett at Science Hill
Daniel Boone at Tennessee High
Volunteer at David Crockett
Happy Valley at Hampton
Indians vs. Hilltoppers — D-B should enter the game somewhere near desperation mode. If the Indians’ defense can’t get off the field against the Hilltoppers impressive ground game, it could be a long night.
Trailblazers vs. Vikings — Tennessee High’s resume looks pretty sweet with its win over Knox Central, one week before the Bobcats lost by only nine points to No. 1-ranked Knox Fulton. The advantage for Boone is having two weeks to prepare for this important Region 1-5A contest.
Falcons vs. Pioneers — This matchup has grown sharp teeth it didn’t have in the past. Volunteer has scored 79 points in two games this season while Crockett has surrendered a total of only 14. It should be quite a battle.
Warriors vs. Bulldogs — Momentum may be fickle, but it is all over Hampton right now after a narrow win against rival Johnson County. Happy Valley hasn’t played since a season-opening blowout loss to Volunteer, so the Warriors are looking for an edge.
Pick of the Week
Science Hill 35, Dobyns-Bennett 17
Things don’t get any easier for the Indians, and the Hilltoppers keep coming for four quarters.
Picks record: 1-0.
Player of the Week
Jackson Harrison, Sullivan Central
The Cougars’ senior quarterback broke the mold, becoming the first-ever player to earn this honor despite his team’s loss.
Suffering through a 31-game losing streak, the Cougars nearly put it to rest, thanks in a big way to Harrison. He rushed for 173 yards, passed for 183, and accounted for all four touchdowns with two rushing and two passing. Despite his efforts, Central lost 28-26 to Chuckey-Doak.
The Hogs Award
Science Hill Hilltoppers
Despite the injury absences of offensive guard Kendrick Fain and lineman-like running back Drew Morrison, the Hilltoppers plugged in sophomore Shannon Peterson at guard and kept pounding the rock. By game’s end they totaled 281 yards rushing in a 35-34 win over Ooltewah.
Defensive unit of the Week
Sullivan North Golden Raiders
How impressive was the Raiders’ defense in the 14-7 win over Northview Academy? Consider these things: the Cougars scored 42 points in Week 1, totaled 42 points against North last year, and were held to a single-digit total only one time last season. And that was against Alcoa. Nice job, North.
Dobyns-Bennett is turning heads in the early going.
The Lady Indians won the Early Bird tournament in Knoxville over the weekend, taking down defending Class AA champion Portland in the championship match.
“Portland was a tough team,” said head coach Megan Devine. “Both teams had a long weekend, but we found a way to win by running our middles. We had a great weekend and worked extremely hard. Everyone contributed. It was an overall team effort.”
On the season D-B is off to a 13-0 start, including league wins over Daniel Boone and Science Hill. Leading the way have been Hannah Watson and Courtney Whitson.
“They are our horses, and are very dominant players from attacking to blocking,” said Devine. “They have done an extremely good job moving themselves around to make themselves available to swing.”
Other standouts include team captains Staley Humphries (outside) and Chloe Harless (libero) along with setter Rylee Waye. Also, Zoie Larkins, Carly Shell, Sithney Wolfe, Meg Maynor, and Caroline Cable have made key contributions.
Daniel Boone and David Crockett are locked in the heat of a Ryder Cup-style battle at Graysburg Hills Golf Course. The two-day Musket Cup began Monday.
The first day was an alternate shot, match-play contest. On Tuesday, the competition will be individual match play. Whoever wins the event will earn the Musket Cup. There is also a girls’ Musket Cup.
The event started many years ago when John Verble was the head golf coach at David Crockett.
“John suggested after the season we play a friendly, more relaxed, match between our teams,” said Boone head coach Scott Martin. “In fact, that first year, he and I both played. He teamed up with his young son, and I teamed up with one of my girl golfers. We had a great time. Within a year or two, the Musket Cup was born. While it is still a friendly competition, it is much more intense than relaxed. It is the highlight of our seasons before the district tournament. It is as intense and meaningful to the golf teams as the Musket Cup is to football.”
It is rivalry time for the Lady Hilltoppers as they play host to Dobyns-Bennett on Tuesday. The match at Tipton Stadium is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Science Hill is off to a superb start to the 2018 season, winning its first four games by a combined margin of 21-1.
This weekend the Lady Hilltoppers will play in the Knox Bearden tournament, taking on Clarksville, Knox Catholic and Collierville.
Things normalized a bit as teams played their second games of the season. Elizabethton stayed on top of this week’s High School Top 10 — only teams in the Johnson City Press/Times News coverage area are ranked — while Sullivan South replaced Johnson County.
Team (W-L) — Last Week
1. Elizabethton (2-0) — 1
2. Science Hill (1-1) — 2
3. David Crockett (2-0) — 4
4. Tennessee High (2-0) — 5
5. Daniel Boone (1-0) — 3
6. Dobyns-Bennett (0-2) — 6
7. Sullivan North (2-0) — 8
8. Sullivan South (1-1) — NR
9. Unicoi County (2-0) — 10
10. Volunteer (1-1) — 9