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Nature of Tribe’s win could change course of season

Douglas Fritz • Sep 2, 2018 at 1:00 PM

JOHNSON CITY — It is not hyperbole to say Dobyns-Bennett saved its football season Friday night.

Coming off a pair of blowout losses to start the season, the Indians trailed three times against a team that had beaten them six straight games. They could have hung their heads and accepted defeat.

Instead, D-B produced a pair of dramatic touchdowns: one with seconds remaining in the first half and the other with 66 seconds left in the game. That’s the stuff of winners, certainly in line with the proud tradition at Dobyns-Bennett.

The Indians walked out of Tipton Stadium with a 24-21 win.

Forget about ending the losing streak against the Hilltoppers, although that was important. This victory has the potential to change the course of the 2018 season. Not only are the defending Region 1-6A champions back in first place, the talk of a losing season can be replaced by the hope of having a chance to win the league again.

It wasn’t just the win that should make a difference for the Indians; it was the way they got it done. D-B flat out whipped the Hilltoppers at the point of attack when the Tribe had the ball.

“That’s our team identity and that’s how I believe you should play high school football,” D-B coach Joey Christian said. “We wanted to come out and establish the line of scrimmage. (Running back) Ian (Hicks) did such a great job. I’m so happy for him.”

Hicks carried 29 times for 182 yards and scored all three of his team’s touchdowns. He said beating Science Hill was amazing.

“I hadn’t beaten them other than when I was on the freshman team,” he said. “I didn’t get to play against them my sophomore year because I had a broken leg. We couldn’t beat them last year because we couldn’t finish the game. But this year, it’s ours. I’m so proud of everybody.”

The Indians also got enough done on the defensive side of the football to give their offense a chance to win at the end. Assistant coach B.I. Salyers said the victory was earned with effort.

“Our kids come to practice every day and work hard,” Salyers said. “Science Hill has one of the best offensive lines I’ve seen in a long time. I knew it was going to be tough up front, but you have to believe in the kids. You see where they put in the work and how they play hard every day. I was so proud of our defensive and offensive lines, how they got it done, and that’s how you win games.”

One thing D-B can’t do at this point is relax. Next week’s nonconference game against Sevier County is critical in terms of adding to the bridge the Indians built over troubled water against Science Hill.

So although, as Christian said, “This win was very sweet,” the coach also added: “You just have to build on the momentum of it.”

Sports Writer Jeff Birchfield contributed to this story. Contact Sports Writer Douglas Fritz at [email protected]

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