Hilltoppers Graze By Patriots 28-26

It was senior night on Leroy Shannon Field for the Jefferson County Patriots, and even after a strong comeback, the Patriots just couldn’t push past the Hilltoppers.

Jefferson County Football Seniors 2018.  Staff Photo by Angie Stanley

Jefferson County Football Seniors 2018. Staff Photo by Angie Stanley

The Patriots kicked off the evening by honoring the Senior Class of the Football, Dance, Cheer, Girls Soccer, and Cross Country teams, as well as the band.  Each group, along with parents and coaches, were called to the center of the field to be recognized.

Jefferson County Band Seniors 2018.  Staff Photo by Angie Stanley

Jefferson County Band Seniors 2018. Staff Photo by Angie Stanley

The game started with Science Hill kicking off to the Patriots, and after four straight downs, the Patriots would kick off to the Hilltoppers.  This was the song and dance for both teams throughout the first quarter.

It actually took until over three minutes into the second quarter for one of the teams to hit paydirt.  Science Hill was the first to find themselves in the endzone, with just under nine minutes left in the half.  The Hilltoppers, with a successful four play drive to start off the second half, had a quick five yard handoff to acquire the first score of the night.  With a good extra point, the Patriots themselves down 7-0.  The Patriot offense struggled against the Hilltopper defense, and had problems making progress.  With 3:43 left in the half, from just beyond the 50 yard line, a pass from Science Hill’s Stewart to Maxwell connected and was good for another Hilltopper touchdown.  The Extra point was good, and suddenly the Patriots found themselves down by 14. The Hilltoppers kicked off to the Patriots, and Brody Moore was deep to recieve.  Just the shot in the arm that the Patriots needed, Moore returned the ball 99 yards to finally put Jefferson County on the board for the evening.    For the first time in several games, the extra point attempt by Alvarez was blocked, and Jefferson County closed the gap to 14-6.  On their next possession, though, the Hilltoppers had an answer for the Patriots, in the form of  another quick handoff to sneak into the endzone with just 29 seconds to go in the half.  Despite their best efforts, in the form of Miller getting as close as the one yard line in his attempt to score before halftime, time ran out on the half.  Going in to the halftime break, the Jefferson County Patriots were behind the Science Hill Hilltoppers, 21-6.

The third quarter mirrored the first, as both teams struggled to make progress.  The frustration was becoming obvious as both teams began to scuffle to try to drive the ball.  The back and forth continued for the duration of the third quarter, until, with just 54 seconds left in the quarter.  Tanner Adkins connected a pass with Brody Moore from 35 yards away, as Moore put the Patriots on the board for the second time that evening.  In an attempt to close in on the Hilltoppers, Jefferson County attempted a two-point conversion.  The Attempt was no good, and the third quarter ended with the Patriots creeping closer to Science Hill, 21-12.

Staff Photo by Angie Stanley

Staff Photo by Angie Stanley

Science Hill had an answer for the Patriot Touchdown not too long in to the fourth quarter.  Just three minutes in to the quarter, the Hilltoppers would score their last for the evening.  The good extra point pulled Science Hill’s lead 28-12.  The Patriots were not done fighting yet.  It was senior night, after all.  As the clock ticked on, the battle became more intense.  Just over a minute after the Hilltoppers touchdown, Moore, who was waiting for a pass from Atkins about 45 yards away, introduced himself to the scoreboard for the third time of the evening.  This time, the two-point-conversion was successful, and the Patriots chiseled away at Science Hill’s lead 28-20.  The Patriot defense forced a turnover on downs and the Patriots would get the ball back into their hands.  With just under four minutes left in the game, Atkins connected a 14 yarder to Darius Allen, and the Patriots narrowed the margin to just two points. The two-point-conversion was unsuccessful this time, and the score remained 28-26.  The attempts to stop Science Hill by Jefferson County’s defense were successful, until a fourth and long.  The Hilltoppers successfully nailed a first down, with just a few seconds to go.  A couple taking of the knees later, and the ballgame was over.  The Hilltoppers went back to Kingsport with the win.

The frustrating thing for the Patriots, is that despite loosing their last three games, the margin for all three games has been a total of only six points.  The Patriots do not get a spot in the playoffs, but have one more battle to face for the season.  They will be traveling to Kingsport to face off against Dobyns-Bennett High School for the final game of the 2018 season.

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Source: Angie Stanley, Jefferson County Post Sports

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