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Hilltoppers extinguish Pioneer momentum

As the last seconds ticked off the scoreboard Friday night at Pioneer field showing a 63-27 final in favor of the visiting Hilltoppers, there was still plenty of optimism for Crockett fans, players and coaches.
Such optimism even in defeat shows just how far Pioneer football has come.
The contest couldn’t have started any worse for the Pioneers against the Big 7’s preseason favorite.
By the eight minute mark of the first quarter, Crockett found itself in a 21-0 hole and unable to stop the high-powered Topper offense.
The early lead wasn’t just prompted by the Science Hill offense; Crockett fumbled inside the 20-yard line — a fumble that was returned by Mikey White for a touchdown.
One of several talented Hilltoppers, White scored three first-quarter touchdowns to set the pace of the contest early.
But unlike years past, Crockett players wouldn’t bow out this time, and they responded to the three-touchdown deficit with their own offensive run.
T.K. Hill led the effort, getting the Pioneers on the scoreboard with a 15-yard touchdown reception with four minutes still remaining on the clock.
Hill was once again outstanding, rushing for 235 yards for the game, the second time in three games that the talented sophomore has eclipsed the 200-yard rushing mark.
The Pioneers caught their first break of the game on the ensuing kickoff after a Science Hill fumble set Crockett up inside Hilltopper territory.
A few plays later, Crockett was inside the 5-yard line after Ryan Burger found Eric Day on a 28-yard pass.
Burger capped off the drive with a short scamper into the end zone to pull the Pioneers within a score of a tie at 21-13.
But White came right back, adding his third touchdown of the first quarter on a short run from the 5-yard line to push the lead back to two scores.
Scoring slowed through the first half of the second quarter until Burger found Day again, this time on a 35-yard completion to set the Pioneers up to cut into the deficit.
But inside the 10-yard line the Pioneer drive stalled and Burger was sacked to effectively end Crockett’s threat.
On the next play Science Hill turned their two possession advantage into three when Malik McGue caught an 80-yard touchdown pass.
Hill would help the Pioneers cut the deficit back to two possession on Crockett’s next series when he found pay dirt on a 35-yard run.
McGue would however come back with another score just before the half to stretch the Topper lead and takeaway the Pioneer momentum.
The second half would see the Toppers add three more touchdowns before finally coasting to a victory that was much more difficult to earn than what was expected.
Crockett would add just a single second half touchdown after Science Hill made halftime adjustments to counter the formidable Pioneer offense.
Aside from Hill’s massive night, the Pioneers also received significant contributions from James Midkiff who carried for 54 yards on the ground; Burger, who ran for touchdowns under center; and Day, who hauled in three catches for 58 yards.
It won’t get much easier for the Pioneers next week as they travel to Elizabethton. Crockett maintains a 2-1 record on the young season.