No one will accuse Greg Wyant of dodging anyone this season.
The fourth-year Siegel football coach and the eighth-ranked Stars host sixth-ranked Science Hill at 7 p.m. Friday at Ken Nolan Stadium.
It marks the fourth ranked team in five weeks that Siegel has played this season. And the only other Siegel opponent not ranked — Ooltewah — received votes in the Associated Press’ Class 5A poll.
“It’s a great challenge,” Wyant said. “We haven’t shied away from anybody. We’ve stepped in toe-to-toe. I hope it will pay off.”
Siegel also has matchups with Beech (third in 5A) and Smyrna (10th in 6A) remaining on its schedule.
“I was talking to my dad about our schedule,” Wyant said. “He told me that whoever came up with our schedule should be removed from that position. But we had no idea it would be this tough.”
Siegel (2-2) faces a high-scoring attack with the Hilltoppers (3-0). Science Hill averages 57.3 points a game, including a 90-point performance in a Week 2 rout of David Crockett.
Junior quarterback Malik McGue has rushed for more than 450 yards this season with nine touchdowns. He’s also thrown for more than 350 yards with five touchdowns.
McGue is a key weapon to the Hilltoppers’ zone read offense, which is no huddle.
“He’s had a good year for us,” fourth-year Science Hill coach Stacy Carter said. “He started as a freshman for us at receiver. He’s very athletic. He’s throwing the ball better.
“He’s just had a super year.”
Receiver Malik Stephens has more than 130 yards receiving with four touchdowns. Running back Chance Pierce has more than 260 yards rushing.
Siegel is coming off a thrilling 34-31 win over state-ranked McCallie. Kicker Harrison Reed hit a 45-yard field goal as time expired to win the game. Siegel and McCallie combined for 92 plays in the first half, and Wyant said the Stars ran 93 offensive plays against the Blue Tornados.
But Wyant expects that pace to slow down a little this week.
“They are not as fast paced as McCallie or us,” Wyant said. “Their quarterback is good. We’ll have to play well on defense.”
Defense has been a weakness for the Stars thus far this season. The Stars are giving up 38.8 points and 418.8 yards a game this season.
“It’s been embarrassing,” Wyant said of the defense. “We have faced good competition, but we haven’t jelled together.
“We’ve been exposed pretty good.”
Running back Denzell Harding leads the Stars with 337 rushing yards on 55 carries. Wyant said Harding will also play free safety this week due to injuries. He had been playing corner on defense.
Quarterback Dakota Crane has rushed for 227 yards and thrown for 748 yards on 64 of 98 passing.
The game could be a measuring stick for both teams if they are fortunate to reach the 6A playoffs.
“The conference (Siegel) plays in is tough,” Carter said. “I think it shows that we’re playing good football in East Tennessee. We need to beat one of these good football teams down there.”