Coach: Scott Smith
2006 record: 6-5, 3-3
Offensive starters back: 3
Defensive starters back: 3
JOHNSON CITY — “Friday Night Live” has come to Johnson City.
There is more excitement in the air since new coach Scott Smith’s arrival than the day when the first wheel rolled into town.
Smith’s enthusiasm is contagious. He’s a talking machine, and Science Hill’s new playbook resembles a road map.
The no-huddling Hilltoppers have 15 different formations. The offense will vary from spread to wishbone, with a few gadgets thrown in.
“We’ll be doing unorthodox things,” Smith said. “We’ve put in a few trick plays to make it fun for the kids because these practices otherwise can get boring. We’ll throw the ball around some. But at some point in time, we’ve got to run the ball.”
Smith, an English major, is a proven coach. He guided Ezell-Harding to a state championship in 2001. He has written 12 books on football.
“I’m not a big hollerer or screamer,” he said. “I just try to take what I’ve inherited and do something with it.”
Tailback Soloman Duannah, a sprint champion, is the talk of the town. “He is big, strong and fast,” Smith said. “I’ve never coached another kid as athletic as he is.”
The Hilltoppers have another scooter in Issac Kinley.
“We are very athletic without being incredibly fast,” Smith said. “We’re 10 or 12 players deep in wide receivers. We have a dangerous type of team — one that could beat anybody on a given night or lose to anybody if we don’t play well. We’ll be playing to the kids’ strengths and trying to hide their weaknesses.”
Smith still picks Dobyns-Bennett to win the Big East Conference title. “To be the man,” he said, “you’ve got to beat the man.”
Daniel Sharp, a transfer from Daniel Boone, is the quarterback. He throws well from the pocket.
“Our offense is designed for the quarterback to get rid of the ball quickly,” Smith said. “He is supposed to throw within three steps or less.”
Smith has been well received. “These kids have been a breath of fresh air,” he said. “I’ve never had a more enjoyable group.”
He pointed out that the starting lineup is subject to change.
The wideouts will be Larry Smith and Javin Joslin, with Zach Jordan and Ashlon Adams at slotback.
When the wide-open offense switches to power, linebackers Aaron Trent and Caleb Mancusco may be asked to swing over and help out at fullback.
Duannah (5-foot-9, 205 pounds) and Trent (6-4, 240) are being widely recruited by colleges. Trent also punts.
“He can boom it,” Smith said of the versatile Hilltopper.
The offensive line will consist of tackles Stuart Seiferth and Jeff Fields, with Nick Robinette and Ben Verzi at guards and Evan Lilly at center.
Smith would like a 50-50 run-pass ratio.
Defensively, the team will be in a base 3-5. The front three consists of ends Will Rentel and Bruce Crumley and nose guard Corey Hamilton. The linebacker positions will be manned by Mancusco and Joslin on the outside, Trent in the middle and Jordan and Jeff Green on the inside. Kinley and Corey McPhearson will play cornerback and Tomas Hill safety.
Former Science Hill coach John Bowles has been hired at Abingdon.