A 28-point second-quarter explosion left Morristown West reeling, and the Hilltoppers earned a 42-15 win behind four touchdown tosses from Connor Batchelder on Friday night at Tipton Stadium.
“Offensively we were able to throw the ball, and I thought Connor played really well,” said Science Hill head coach Stacy Carter. “The running backs ran the ball, and I thought we blocked pretty well. We were able to move the ball on offense all night, and we made plays. We did a pretty good job all around.”
Improving to 3-1 in Region 1-6A, the Hilltoppers (3-5) moved a half game ahead of Knox Farragut for second place in the league. Whether they can finish in a three-way tie for the top will be partly decided after Science Hill’s bye week as the Hilltoppers travel to take on first-place Dobyns-Bennett on Oct. 25.
Batchelder cashed in, but the Hilltoppers were actually balanced yardage-wise. They had 26 carries for 201 yards and 12 completions for 216 yards.
Batchelder finished 12 for 15 with no interceptions in a near-flawless performance. Cole Torbett was on the receiving end of half of those connections, finishing with 97 yards and two touchdowns. The second of those scores required a nice leaping catch in the corner of the end zone.
“I was up in the air and I looked down, and I barely had any room left, and I just stretched my foot out,” he said. “I barely got in. I’m just glad we got a win, and I’m glad our defense did good.”
Marquis Griffin produced three catches for 68 yards, including a short reception before he sliced through the defense for a 36-yard score. Solomon Dunn had two catches for 39 yards, including a finger-tip save on a dead run in the middle of the end zone.
The ground game was powered by the tandem of Malik Bowman (7 carries for 87 yards) and Chris Thomas (10 carries for 69 yards). Bowman had a touchdown run, and Braden Anderson scored on fourth down from the 1-yard line to put Science Hill up 7-0.
The pass protection was supreme for the Hilltoppers.
“They’ve been doing better all the time,” said Carter. “They are so young. Connor had time and he made some good throws. I was pleased with the whole offense tonight.”
Science Hill’s defense allowed West to move the ball somewhat effectively, but came up with plenty of stops. Included in the mix was an interception by Nicholas Copenhaver, his Northeast Tennessee-leading fourth of the season, and the Hilltoppers also had a pair of fumble recoveries.
Senior Kain Rogers said it was a good night’s work.
“It was 10 times better,” said Rogers. “We came out as a team and played as a solid whole, and came out with the victory.”
Connor Patrick was a hoss in the receiving department. He hauled in nine balls for 101 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Delaney was the workhorse out of the backfield, carrying 33 times for 115 yards.
Quarterback Dylan Cribley was 15 of 23 for 137 yards and two scores.