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Hilltoppers face showdown against Farragut

Douglas Fritz • Oct 4, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Despite the ups and downs of Science Hill’s football season, the Hilltoppers are sitting right where they want to be.

And a very important game is at hand.

Science Hill travels to Knoxville on Friday to take on Farragut with first place in Region 1-6A on the line. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

“The kids know this is our biggest game of the season so far,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter. “Our kids are fired up about it.”

Science Hill is 2-0 in league play while the Admirals are 1-0. Dobyns-Bennett, which travels to play Jefferson County, is also at the top of the region with a 2-0 mark.

Both the Hilltoppers (2-4) and Farragut (2-3) have a losing record overall.

The Hilltoppers trailed 20-0 in the first half of last year’s game, but rallied to take a 21-20 lead before losing 23-21 on a short field goal with 1:29 left in fourth quarter.

TOUGH SCHEDULE

The combined record of the four teams that defeated Science Hill is 17-3.

“We’ve probably had as tough of a schedule as anybody in the state,” said Carter. “We haven’t gotten a whole lot of breaks, but the kids are still positive. It helps that we have youth. You wish you could have gotten wins in those non-conference games. We didn’t, but we hope we got experience that will help us.”

WHAT FARRAGUT BRINGS

Senior quarterback Gavin Wilkinson has been impressive, especially in last week’s 35-24 loss to Maryville. He completed 22 of 28 against the Rebels for 279 yards and a touchdown.

On the season, he has thrown for 1,114 yards with four scores and three interceptions.

“He gets it out of his hands,” said Carter. “He threw it very well against Maryville, but other games didn’t look as good. But they have been plagued by injuries, and I know that hurts them.”

Running back Matt White turned in over 300 yards rushing in the first two games of the season, but hasn’t played the last two weeks.

Alec Keathley (22 catches for 326 yards) and Hunter Shopovick (21 for 342) are the top receiving threats.

“We have to get in the passing lanes,” said Carter. “The quarterback runs well and they throw quick. We have to take away what they do well.”

THOMAS RETURNS

Carter said running back Chris Thomas will return to the lineup after missing the last two games.

Unfortunately the Hilltoppers will still be without standout defensive back and receiver Joshua Santiago, who could miss a couple more games. Also, senior lineman Ian McKinney, who leads the team with six tackles for loss, will miss the game.

Getting Thomas back should help the Hilltoppers be more varied in their offensive attack.

“Our throwing game has gotten a lot better and we’re not too one-dimensional,” said Carter. “There have been glimpses of things that are really good.”

Thomas leads the Hilltoppers with 544 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in just 3 1/2 games.

DOBYNS-BENNETT (5-0, 2-0) at JEFFERSON COUNTY (3-3, 1-1)

The Indians come into the game with a seven-game winning streak dating back to last season.

Led by junior quarterback Zane Whitson and a rock-solid defense, they've outscored opponents 193-33 over five games. They face some challenging matchups against the Patriots who feature senior quarterback Tanner Atkins and a beefy offensive line which averages 285 pounds per player.

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