KINGSPORT - Gifts on senior night are not usually this significant.
For the first time in four years, Dobyns-Bennett dealt rival Science Hill a District 1-AAA boys soccer defeat, producing a superlative 5-2 result Tuesday night at Indian Highland Park.
"Things went good for us, and bad for them," D-B coach Bill McCloskey said.
For D-B's eldest class, it might have been their finest hour.
The Tribe slashed four past Hilltoppers goalkeeper Michael Cutshull during a first-half display in which it seemed as if D-B (11-1-1, 6-0-0) could do no wrong.
Science Hill (9-3-2, 5-1-0) pulled a pair back in the midst of a five-minute span during the second half, but this result was never in doubt.
Freshman David Geno gave the Indians a dream start, notching the opening goal just two minutes into the match. The Indians' leading scorer (11 goals, seven assists) latched onto an errant pass near midfield before beating a defender and side-footing a shot to the short side.
And things were just getting started for the Indians.
After dominating for large spells during the opening 15 minutes, they added a second in the 20th. Geno was again released into space and, after successfully holding off Thomas Lockhart, was deemed to have been fouled by the Science Hill defender.
Ryan Herlong took the subsequent penalty kick, sending the keeper the wrong way to make it 2-0.
"It's nice to score early," McCloskey said. "The second goal gave us a little more breathing room."
More aggressive play, coupled with the 'Toppers' inability to successfully employ the offside trap, led to Thomas Odom hammering a 12-yard strike off post during an impressive buildup in the 26th.
Odom persisted and was rewarded in stoppage time. Geno played supplier, picking out his senior strike partner at the far post for an unstoppable header.
"That was all Geno," Odom said. "He did the hard part."
Less than a minute passed before Odom had a second. Raymond Menya unleashed a soaring 30-yard through ball into the path of Odom, who was onside despite appeals from the Science Hill bench.
Odom then calmly waited for Cutshull to commit before slotting his sixth of the season just inside the near post.
"I've had a couple this season where I've lost my composure and rushed the shot," Odom said. "On that one, I took my time and found the right corner."
Shocked, Science Hill opened the second half much brighter. D-B reverted to a 3-5-2 formation - from a 3-4-3 in the first half - and was caught napping on a pair of occasions.
In the 63rd, forward Eddie Yah pulled one back for the Hilltoppers off a nice crossing pass from Zack Stein. The two teamed up again three minutes later, this time Yah meeting Stein's cross with a driving header.
"We just got stupid," McCloskey said. "We started to think it was a wrestling match. We just lost focus and lost the clean sheet."
At 4-2, things looked interesting. More so when Tribe goalkeeper Mikey Alley, who lost his bid to record an 11th consecutive shutout, was forced to make a brilliant stop at the near post on a strike from Jon Campbell in the 68th minute.
Menya, though, quelled all doubts seven minutes from time. Off the counter attack, the Kenya product held off two defenders as he raced onto a long clearance. Once free, the junior went high to the far side to cap the scoring. It was his third goal of the season.
"This one is just a prelude to next week," said McCloskey, referring to the district tournament, which begins Monday. "It's nice to win, but it really doesn't matter."
Science Hill coach Brian Okumu declined to comment afterward.