Stars roll past 'Toppers behind quick scores

Stars roll past 'Toppers behind quick scores

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Stars roll past 'Toppers behind quick scores

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MURFREESBORO

Siegel worked well in wide-open spaces Friday night. And the Stars had plenty of them in a 64-38 win over visiting Science Hill.

The eight-ranked Stars posted a 38-14 second-half run, which included 29 unanswered points, and came back when trailing four times in the win over the sixth-ranked Hilltoppers of Johnson City at Ken Nolan Stadium.

It was the second straight week Siegel went on a long scoring run. The Stars (3-2) posted the final 24 points last week to hand McCallie its first loss, and scoring 38 of the final 52 Friday gave Science Hill (3-1) its first loss.

Siegel quarterback Dakota Crane threw for 376 yards and five scores, and needed to complete just 10-of-14 attempts to do so.

“I have athletes. With Dominique Gooch, Wes Hayes and Denzel (Harding), my job as the quarterback is to get the athletes the ball and let them do what they do,” Crane said.

Crane connected on touchdown passes of 85 yards (Gooch), 68 yards (Hayes), 80 and 32 yards (Harding) in the first half alone. The 265 yards on the four touchdown passes came thanks to 170 yards after the catch.

“We thought it would be a real tough, tough game down to the wire,” Harding said. “We noticed on film … we could spread it out and get it to our athletes in space. And when we get athletes in space there’s nobody that can really catch us with our speed.”

The 32-yarder to Harding with a minute left in the first half proved to be the game-winner.

“I couldn’t believe he was that wide open,” Crane said of the winning pass. “Denzel made a move right there in that area and that changed everything for us.”

“Dakota had a heck of a night throwing the football,” Stars coach Greg Wyant said. “We got it to (the receiver) in space and we knew we’d probably be able to throw it on them a bit. (Dakota’s) a tough nut and he did exactly what the defense gave him.”

Harding also tacked on a 22-yard touchdown run up the middle and the longest play of the night — a 105-yard interception return late in the third quarter to push the lead to 50-31.

“When I caught it somebody beside me yelled, ‘take a knee,'” Harding said of the interception that sent his momentum five yards back into the end zone. “I looked up and there was nobody in front of me. I had a trail of my own teammates in front of me blocking. That’s what made me the proudest.”

Crane opened the second half with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Hayes to kick-start the 38-14 run.

After Siegel’s turnover on the opening play of the game led to Science Hill’s first points, it was the Stars causing five turnovers that proved to be the difference.

Steven Major grabbed two second-half interceptions for Siegel. His first one was instantly given back to the Toppers on a Crane interception — made up for eight plays later on Harding’s 105-yard return — but his second one led to an Andre Knox 3-yard score.

Science Hill began the game converting two of its first three third-down attempts, but only moved the chains on four of the next 14 on its final 14 drives. Siegel, after starting 1-of-4, was 4-of-9 on third down, including Andrew Knox’s 22-yard run with 1:49 left to cap the scoring.

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