GREENEVILLE OVERPOWERS SCIENCE HILL TO KNOCK OFF 3RD REGION 1-6A OPPONENT THIS SEASON
BY COLLIN BROOKS
Confidence could be misconstrued after watching the Greeneville Greene Devils celebrate their 42-26 victory at Science Hill on Friday night.
But after racking up their third double-digit win on a Region 1-6A opponent’s home turf during the 2017 season - Dobyns Bennett 35-21 and Morristown West 38-14 - there is plenty of reason to celebrate.
The Greene Devils were vocal before the season began about their state title or bust ambitions, but taking their football day-by-day is the motto for Greeneville now that there in the middle of battle.
“We just have to stay humble and hungry,” said sophomore running back Ty Youngblood, who finished with 140 yards on 23 rushes with three touchdowns.. “Every week, we start on Monday and we start the new week 0-0. We’re 0-0 on Monday, we start over and it’s Greene Devil football.”
Youngblood pulled double-time on offense and linebacker with close to 115 snaps on the night, but vocally, he shared all the love with his team after the contest and was in awe of his backfield mate junior quarterback Cade Ballard.
“He is right there all the time. Number two, he is our number one,” Youngblood said. “We work as a team and we get things done and that is what we did tonight.”
Ballard rushed 26 times for 162 yards and a touchdown, while also adding two more TDs through the air along with 119 yards on 10-for-14 throwing with two interceptions.
“We’re just going to have to take this one on the chin, because they wore us out and they played great,” Science Hill coach Stacey Carter said. “I don’t ever know if losing is good medicine for anything, but sometimes if you want to get people’s attention, that is the only way that you can shake things up.
“So hopefully this gets our attention and we are able to move forward from this. We definitely found out that if we don’t come ready to play what is going to happen.”
The Greene Devils jumped on top of Science Hill 28-6 at halftime, but that didn’t mean that Greeneville had their feet kicked up in the locker room at the half.
“They’re scary,” Greenville coach Caine Ballard said about Science Hill after the game. “I was scared to death at halftime with a 28-6 lead…I know they’re tough kids and Coach (Stacey) Carter does a heck of a job and we knew it was going to be a 4-quarter game.”
Ahmik Watterson helped the Hilltoppers punch the ball in the end zone for his second touchdown to give the Toppers their first touchdown of the second half. But it was a 76-yard run from Jaylan Adams that brought the game to it’s closest at 28-20 with 4:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Adams finished his night with 217 yards on the ground on 22 carries. He also connected on 3 of 6 passes for 44 yards. Watterson rushed 19 times for 121 yards.
The Toppers would get a chance to tie the contest after Shane Austin secured his second interception on the night, returning the ball to the Greenville 45. But Greeneville’s defense would stand-up and stop Adams’ attempt to QB sneak for the Toppers on a 4th and 1.
Carter sort of smiled when asked about the spot, but he said that the contest shouldn’t have come down to one play, especially if the Toppers would of performed better in the first half.
“We didn’t come to play the first half and that is my fault,” Carter said. “But we didn’t and you can’t play a team like that and not be ready to play. So we learned a hard lesson, got down to a team and were able to respond and fight. But it was just too little, too late.”
The Greene Devils enter the season knowing that feeling all too well and the chip on their shoulder was formed after a last minute loss to Knox Central in the second-round of the TSSAA playoff’s last season. But three victories over top opponents have Greeneville players and coaches nodding their heads at the mention of this team being different.
“It’s our toughness and our willing to work hard every single play and willingness to come out there and put it all on the line,” Youngblood said.
Coach Ballard smiled when he heard Youngblood’s response to the question, but he said those sentiments were coming from a solid source.
“He is a warrior and he is special,” said Ballard about Youngblood. “He is a valedictorian-type kid and he is a heck of a football player…
“…We’ve got a good football team with tough kids that are incredibly invested. We work the heck out of them and they’re a close-knit group, you we have a special group, but we have a long ways to go.”
Ballard said that he and the coaches constantly remind the team that they need to stay focused.
“Just like I told them, we just have to preach it and the coaches have to live it and the kids need to follow our lead,” Ballard said. “I don’t think they’re going to do that, they’ve got big goals and they’ve worked really hard. But that is your fear going forward. But it’s my job to not let it happen.”
Greeneville hosts Pisgah (NC) next week, while Science Hill host Bearden for homecoming.