In the aftermath of a 35-25 loss to Knox Farragut that definitely could have, and possibly should have, been a Science Hill win, the Hilltoppers fell out of first place in Region 1-6A on Friday night at the Admirals’ field.
Science Hill is 2-1 in league play and 2-5 overall while the Admirals improved to 2-0 and 3-3.
“The mistakes, the turnovers, the blocked punt, I think you will see there’s four things right there, that’s the difference in the game,” said Science Hill head coach Stacy Carter. “We just made too many mistakes to win that football game.”
WHAT WENT WRONG
Here’s a recap of some things that kept Science Hill from finding a path to victory:
— First possession, interception, followed by quick Farragut score
— Leading 14-7, the Hilltoppers got a stop, but turned the ball over in their own territory
— Following that pick, the Hilltoppers produced an 8-yard loss with their defense, only to surrender a 42-yard touchdown on a screen pass with a sea of missed opportunities to make the tackle
— With about a minute left before halftime, a missed 28-yard field goal (that was the ruling by the officials)
— After two more defensive stops, the Hilltoppers scored but it was only three points on a 43-yard field goal
— With Science Hill trailing 21-17, Farragut’s Eli Purcell blocked a punt and Dylan Cosey scooped it up for a 12-yard touchdown return
— Trailing 28-17, the Hilltoppers suffered their third interception of the game. One play later, Farragut scored to make it 35-17.
“As a team and a coach, we just have to work on eliminating these mistakes,” said Carter. “If we keep making these mistakes, it’s going to be a long year.
“We have to change some things and get better. If we get better with those things, we’ve got great effort. But we have to play a little smarter.”
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Part of it was Science Hill’s refusal to quit. The Hilltoppers responded to the 18-point fourth-quarter deficit with a magnificent drive, getting a 10-yard scoring pass from Connor Batchelder to Braden Anderson and a 2-point conversion run to make it 35-25.
Science Hill got another stop, and took over at its own 6-yard line. The Hilltoppers drove to the Farragut 4-yard line for a first down with about two minutes left in the game. Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, they couldn’t punch it in.
Also, Nicholas Copenhaver had a game-changing play. He picked off a Farragut pass at the 25-yard line and raced into the end zone for a pick-six. Copenhaver’s play put the Hilltoppers ahead 14-7 in the second quarter.
CHRIS THOMAS SHINES
Returning to the field for the first time since the Greeneville game, Chris Thomas was terrific.
He carried 24 times for 112 yards and also caught five passes for 128 yards, including a 62-yard score where he blasted through a tackle near midfield before outrunning the Farragut defense to the end zone.
Batchelder was 17 of 27 for 235 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Cole Torbett had six catches for 62 yards.
Wilkinson was 17 of 29 for 176 and two touchdowns. He hit on his last eight pass attempts after a 9 for 21 start.
Keathley had eight catches for 82 yards along with two scores.