Teams can make improvements after seeing how athletes respond to the pressure of the lights or maybe an expanded role on the team.
Looking at Week 2, here are three teams that lost their openers but are most likely to experience a noticeable change:
DOBYNS-BENNETT — Yes, the Indians got wiped out, 43-3, but it was at the hands of a frightfully good Greeneville team. D-B has nowhere to go but up. And even though Oak Ridge is another tough challenge, look for the Indians to be more competitive.
SCIENCE HILL — First, the Hilltoppers played well on both sides of the ball in the 36-34 loss to Elizabethton. Take away four big mistakes, and the Hilltoppers might have walked away with a 35-10 win. A new week can put mistakes in the past. If the Hilltoppers polish things up, they should be fine.
SULLIVAN SOUTH — The Rebels moved the ball very well against Daniel Boone but had only 14 points to show for it. With Volunteer flying on Cloud 9 and the Rebels a little edgy after their 28-14 loss to Boone, the chance is there for a turnaround.
When wins have been hard to come by, a season-opening victory can be like a breath of fresh air.
That was the case for both Volunteer and Unaka on Friday.
The Falcons exploded past a Happy Valley team that routed them last season, earning a 33-7 triumph. Coming off an 0-10 season, in which Volunteer’s closest game was as 24-point season-opening loss to the Warriors, a 26-point win is quite the step forward.
The Rangers took down North Greene for the first time in five years with a hold-on-at-the-finish 20-12 decision. O’Brien Bennett took on quite a challenge when he stepped in as coach at Unaka last year, but his team consistently scored points despite a 1-9 record. Friday’s win shows Bennett is making progress with the program.
Science Hill’s Erick Waage and Jon Renner were inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Tennessee Chapter, over the weekend in Knoxville.
Waage, the 2002 state champion at 171 pounds for the Hilltoppers, was honored with the Out-standing American Award after returning from five deployments in Afghanistan and earned a bronze star. Renner, Science Hill’s girls wrestling coach, was honored for lifetime service.
The inductees will be enshrined at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla.
Week 1 offense
Bartlett, 63 points; Dyersburg, 63; Milan, 62; Kirby, 58; Arlington, 56
Week 1 defense
Thirty-three teams posted shutouts in their openers.
FOOTBALL GAMES OF THE WEEK
Dobyns-Bennett at Oak Ridge — Getting off the deck after a 40-point loss is never easy. Doing it on the road against Oak Ridge makes it even tougher.
Ooltewah at Science Hill — It’s bounce-back week for Science Hill, which has played twice as much as Ooltewah this season after the Owls’ opening win over Tyner was stopped at halftime because of rain and lightning.
David Crockett at Campbell County — Not only is it a long road trip, but the Pioneers also have to face a high-octane offense that hung 49 points on Cherokee.
Unicoi County at Sullivan East — The Blue Devils were 0-2 last season before winning five of their next six against a mostly favorable schedule. This year, the they have a shot at a 2-0 mark heading into that same stretch.
Sullivan South at Volunteer — While the Rebels are trying to recover from a loss to rival, the Falcons are looking for their first 2-0 start since 2014.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Unicoi County 26, Sullivan East 20
The Blue Devils will likely have to scrap and claw on the road against a Patriots team that wants to quickly erase the memory of last week’s shutout loss against Johnson County.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kody Lewis, Unicoi County
In a 42-32 shootout win over South Greene, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior running back carried 19 times for 161 yards and scored three touchdowns. He also caught a 48-yard scoring pass and added seven tackles from his defensive back position.
THE HOGS AWARD
Daniel Boone Trailblazers
The Trail Hogs got it done at the point of attack, helping the team produce over 300 yards on the ground.
DEFENSIVE UNIT OF THE WEEK
In a surprising 33-7 win over Happy Valley, the Falcons defense got a little surly. The Falcons shut down the Warriors’ ground game and recorded a touchdown on Bryson Miller’s 80-yard fumble return.
Among the games to watch this week is Science Hill hitting the road to face Tennessee High today at 6 p.m.
The Lady Vikings also have an important league game on Thursday when they visit Dobyns-Bennett at 6.
NET FOOTBALL RANKINGS
A wild first week shuffled the deck for the Northeast Tennessee Football Top 10 for our coverage area.
Team (W-L) .............. Last Week
1. Elizabethton (1-0) ...............3
2. Science Hill (0-1) ................1
3. Daniel Boone (1-0) ............4
4. David Crockett (1-0) ..........5
5. Tennessee High (1-0) ........6
6. Dobyns-Bennett (0-1) .......2
7. Johnson County (1-0) .......8
8. Sullivan North (1-0) ...........9
9. Volunteer (1-0) .................NR
10. Unicoi County (1-0).........NR
(tie) Cherokee (0-1) ................7