From a pure top-end talent perspective, Powell is one of the better teams to ever swagger onto the turf at Tipton Stadium.
The Panthers scored the first 35 points of the game — in less than two quarters — in Friday’s 42-14 win over Science Hill.
They had multiple players — including defensive tackle Walter Nolen, receivers Ayden Greene and Adarius Redmond, and quarterback Jordyn Potts — who could make an argument for being the best player at their position if they were on any team in Northeast Tennessee.
And that includes Greeneville, although the key distinction is position because Powell didn’t have a running back like Mason Gudger. Powell versus Greeneville would be an interesting game, but the teams don’t play this year and haven’t met since the Panthers ended Greeneville’s 30-game winning streak in the 2019 season opener.
Powell needs to be better on defense to win a Class 5A state title, but the talent is in the house.
Here’s a Northeast corner perspective on the state’s best teams regardless of classification:
1. Oakland (6A)
2. Maryville (6A)
3. Riverdale (6A)
4. Summit (6A)
5. Greeneville (4A)
6. Powell (5A)
7. Mt. Juliet (5A)
8. Bradley Central (6A)
9. Knoxville West (5A)
10. Pearl-Cohn (4A)
The bad news for Science Hill is there was no sugar-coating what happened Friday night.
The good news is it doesn’t matter one bit in terms of the Hilltoppers’ regular season goal of winning Region 1-6A.
However, it will matter if the Hilltoppers don’t respond correctly. That should not be a problem with the type of kids coach Stacy Carter said he has in his program this year.
“We’ve got great kids and we’re going to get better,” Carter said.
Jumping back into a favorite role helps as the Hilltoppers will play host to William Blount this week.
One thing Friday’s outcome seemed to do was tilt the playing field more closely to level with Dobyns-Bennett. In fact, based on four weeks worth of results, an argument could be made that the Indians are now favored to the win the region title. Schedule strength to this point gives credence to leaving the Hilltoppers in their preseason role for now, but D-B gets a competition boost over the next two weeks — which should paint a more well-defined picture.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Drew Rice wasn’t born the last time Unicoi County started the season at 4-0. Before Friday’s win, it hadn’t happened since 1984.
The 32-year-old Rice is 32-23 in his sixth season as the Blue Devils’ head coach.
• In an 11-season stretch from 2001-11, Unicoi County won four games in an entire season only one time.
• David Crockett is 16-3 in region games since Hayden Chandley took over the program in 2018. And the three losses were by a combined total of 16 points.
• Science Hill scored a total of 95 points in its two most recent meetings with William Blount (50 in 2016, and 45 in 2015).
• Greeneville has averaged 54.3 points over its first four games. That’s more than the school’s state championship teams in 2018 (51.0) and 2010 (49.9) put on the board for the season. The totals rank No. 3 and No. 5 on the state’s all-time list.
AROUND THE STATE
Seven Region 1 teams received a vote from the Johnson City Press/Times News in this week’s state rankings:
6. Unicoi County
9. South Greene
GAMES OF THE WEEK
West Ridge at Dobyns-Bennett: History speaks for itself in terms of the Indians’ dominance against Sullivan Central (29-3 with the Cougars winning in 1975, 1981 and 1985), Sullivan South (26-5 with the Rebels earning victories in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1991 and 1993) and Sullivan North (14-1 with the Raiders winning the first-ever meeting in overtime in 1980).
That adds up to a record of 69-9 and D-B finished it off with a 48-game winning streak against the Sullivan County schools.
But that was then, and this is now a 2,000-student school that has the numbers and resources to compete with the Indians in what should be a fierce rivalry.
Tennessee High at David Crockett: After its tight win over Morristown West a couple of weeks ago, the Pioneers have a chance to take control of the Region 1-5A championship chase.
But it’s an equal opportunity for the Vikings, who responded to a three-week layoff with last week’s tough 33-31 win over Karns.