With two-time defending state champion Greeneville in the same league, any team can view a Region 1-4A championship as a potential step toward significant postseason success. Of course, the kicker is Greeneville. The Greene Devils have a new coach and lost their first game, but they haven’t surrendered anything — with the exception of the 30-game winning streak.
Looking at the remaining schedule, Elizabethton currently stands as a favorite every week with the possible exception of Oct. 18. That’s the showdown against Greeneville, and the Cyclones have it on their home field this year.
Coming off a 4-6 playoff-less season, Dobyns-Bennett needed a win in its season opener.
The Indians got the victory, but perhaps more importantly earned it in emphatic fashion with a 33-13 pounding of Tennessee High.
It was the kind of confidence boost that helps when a team faces a difficult stretch of games ahead. First up is Oak Ridge at home, followed by two Region 1-6A challenges: at Bearden and home for Hardin Valley.
The latter two are more important, but beating Oak Ridge would be a helpful step in preparation for league play.
SCIENCE HILL AND RIVALS
The Hilltoppers find themselves in a precarious position. They have lost four straight games against rivals and have another one on the schedule Friday night.
Science Hill lost to Elizabethton, Boone and Dobyns-Bennett last season before opening 2019 with another setback to the Cyclones. A loss to the Pioneers would not only extend the skid to five, it would make Science Hill 0-2 to start the season with a very important Region 1-6A opener set for Sept. 6 at Hardin Valley.
Therefore, sense of urgency should increase as the Hilltoppers head to Jonesborough to face a Class 5A program that shocked the state last year, and this year stood up strong against Class 6A Ooltewah in a game that was unfinished because of lightning.
NET TOP 10
Elizabethton’s convincing win over Science Hill lifted the Cyclones into the top spot in the first edition of the Northeast Tennessee Top 10.
|2. Daniel Boone
|4. David Crockett
|5. Science Hill
|6. Sullivan South
|8. Johnson County
|9. Tennessee High
|10. Sullivan North
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Science Hill at David Crockett
Oak Ridge at Dobyns-Bennett
Greeneville at Daniel Boone
Cherokee at Sullivan South
Sullivan North at Johnson County
Hilltoppers vs. Pioneers — Science Hill was susceptible to the run against Elizabethton. How will the defense do against a passing attack led by standout Cade Larkins?
Wildcats vs. Indians — This is an interesting test for the Tribe because Oak Ridge opened the season with a 13-6 loss to D-B’s league foe, Hardin Valley.
Greene Devils vs. Trailblazers — Greeneville’s season-opening loss to Powell raised some eyebrows. Will Boone be able to double down on the question marks?
Chiefs vs. Rebels — South needs a good bounce back after getting thumped by Boone, but Cherokee is coming off a win.
Raiders vs. Longhorns — These teams haven’t met since they were league mates back in 2014, and both are coming off the momentum of impressive second-half comeback wins in Week 1.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Science Hill 34, David Crockett 28
The Hilltoppers will likely be in an ornery mood and coach Stacy Carter is back on the sideline. Crockett should put up quite a fight, however.
Picks record: 0-1.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Cade Maupin, RB, Elizabethton
The Cyclones got a dandy performance from the 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior.
Splitting time between running back and quarterback, the Dobyns-Bennett transfer carried 31 times for 153 yards and scored a touchdown. He also had a game-changing interception at the 6-yard line to keep Science Hill from taking the lead in the third quarter.
Austin Hartsock, Sullivan North, QB
Trailing 28-8 at halftime, Hartsock and his teammates went to work. He totaled 138 yards rushing and 4 TDs in the 36-28 win over Sullivan Central.
Bryson Rollins, Elizabethton, QB
Passing and running with equal effectiveness, Rollins finished with 201 total yards. He rushed for two scores and passed for another.
Zane Whitson, Dobyns-Bennett, QB
In his first varsity start, Whitson racked up 183 total yards and threw for a TD in a 33-13 win over Tennessee High.
Charlie Cole, Daniel Boone, RB
In a surprisingly easy 30-6 romp over Sullivan South, Cole barreled his way to 131 yards rushing with two scores.
THE HOGS AWARD
Daniel Boone Trailblazers
Facing a rival in the opener, Boone’s offensive line dug in deep and powered a rushing attack that led to the win over South.
DEFENSIVE UNIT OF THE WEEK
Happy Valley Warriors
Maintaining a shutout until the fourth quarter, the Warriors’ defense proved its worth in a season-opening 19-6 victory over county rival Cloudland.
Rivals Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett get their first look at each other when they meet Tuesday at Indian-Highland Park at 6 p.m.
The Lady Indians are 1-0, having pocketed a 6-0 win over Morristown East. Science Hill has already played six times, posting a mark of 4-1-1. The Lady Hilltoppers are 1-0 in District 1-AAA play.