MARYVILLE — Science Hill might have felt like it spent Friday night binge watching reruns, but this time there was a silver lining.
The Hilltoppers traveled to Maryville and the final score told the same story as seven times before. The Rebels jumped out to an early lead and rolled to a 41-17 decision.
But this time, Science Hill consistently moved the football against the Rebels. Before the final possession of the game, the yardage count was almost dead even at 354-351 in favor of Maryville.
“We stalled out and didn’t finish the drives, which is hard to do against a good Maryville defense,” Science Hill coach Stacy Carter said. “But we had some good things. We’re not happy with this, but there are some positives we can build on for sure.
“We’re not where we need to be, but we got better and I think we’re closing the gap. We’ve been down here with really good teams and been out of it in the first quarter, and that wasn’t the case tonight.”
Hilltoppers’ quarterback Jaxon Diamond hit on 22 of 34 passes for 246 and two scores. He got pummeled a time or two, but he also channeled his inner Kyler Murray — darting, dashing, making plays and connecting with eight different receivers.
“I was pleased,” Carter said. “It was hard. I was proud of his effort. He’s getting back to where he needs to be.”
Ranked No. 2 in the state, Maryville improved to 6-0 on the season while the Hilltoppers fell to 3-3.
THE DEFINING EDGE?
Carter didn’t hesitant to answer that question.
“No. 2 (Noah Vaughn),” he said. “He’s the guy.”
The Rebels’ running back carried 13 times for 136 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns. He caught a pass for 12 yards and returned a kick for 33 yards.
THE TURNING POINT
Trailing 7-0, Science Hill was driving with the ball near midfield in the first quarter.
Diamond was sacked from the blind side, and Maryville’s Keyshawn Harper scooped up the loose ball at the 45-yard line and rambled to the 11-yard line. On the next play, Vaughn rushed 11 yards up the middle for a touchdown and a 13-0 lead.
The Hilltoppers regrouped and drove the ball for a first down at the Rebels’ 10-yard line. They couldn’t punch it in and settled for Wes Leichssering’s 23-yard field goal.
The Rebels turned on the juice and added two more scores. First, Carson Jones scrambled up the middle from six yards out to make it 20-3. On the next possession, Jones hit Julius Toto for a 23-yard score. Maryville carried a 27-3 lead into the locker room.
Science Hill struck first, getting a touchdown on a third-and-25 play from the Maryville 30-yard line. Diamond bought time, rolled to his left and hit Cole Torbett in the corner of the end zone for the score.
Maryville responded, quickly ending any thoughts of a Science Hill comeback with Vaughn’s 32-yard scoring run.
Greg LaDue’s 27-yard touchdown run made it 41-10.
The Hilltoppers closed the scoring with Diamond’s 10-yard pass to Cole Torbett.
Torbett finished with five catches for 60 yards. Jack Torbett had five catches for 87 yards. Baylor Brock carried 21 times for 78 hard-fought yards.
For Maryville, Jones was 12 of 16 passing for 172 yards.