Cyclones delight crowd by winning first game inside Citizens Bank Stadium
Published 11:05 pm Friday, September 4, 2015
BY IVAN SANDERS
It was a night of first as the Elizabethton Cyclones opened up play inside Citizens Bank Stadium by sending the standing-room only crowd home to celebrate the Cyclones first win in the new stadium with a 38-13 defeat of Johnson County.
With all those that helped to make the dream a reality being recognized before the game, there was a lot of emotion which translated into sloppy play in the early going as the first three plays of the contest were all penalties.
“We wanted tonight to be so perfect and tried to make a big play every play,” said Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten. “We tried awfully hard to make it a special night for everybody. We have still a lot of work ahead of us.”
After shaking off the early mistakes, the Cyclones wasted little time in putting the first points scored inside the stadium on the board as Jacob Turner rumbled in from eight yards out with 6:27 showing on the first quarter clock.
Dylan Nordby converted the point-after attempt to give Elizabethton a 7-0 lead.
Holding Johnson Co. to a four and out, the Cyclones went on a long nine-play drive culminating in a Jeremiah Turner two-yard scoring run to push the lead to 14-0 after Nordby’s PAT.
The Longhorns were hoping to cut into the lead going on a 10-play march that ended on three straight incompletions at the ‘Betsy two-yard line.
It would take only one play to get the Cyclone faithful on their feet as senior quarterback Hunter Tyree found wide receiver Jalen Smith on an out pattern and Smith did the rest breaking free from three would-be tacklers to race 98 yards for the score.
“I definitely didn’t make a great throw, but Jalen caught the ball and made a great play on the corner and made a bunch of people miss,” said Tyree on recapping his connection with Smith. “We were a bit sloppy at times tonight.”
With Nordby’s kick, the Cyclones were cruising at 21-0.
The Longhorns made a game of it after Alex Tressler intercepted a Tyree pass at the Johnson County 45-yard line.
On fourth and six, quarterback Nathan Arnold hit his receiver, Samuel Icenhour, for a 51-yard touchdown reception.
Hayden Osborne booted the point-after and the lead was cut to 21-7 which would be score at the intermission.
Elizabethton took its turn at snaring an interception against the Longhorns’ Arnold as Bailey Gwinn picked the pass off at the Johnson County 30 and carried the ball to the 20.
Four plays later Tyree connected with Drew Bowers for a 27-yard score and with the PAT the Cyclones led 28-7.
The Longhorns couldn’t do anything and was forced to punt on the ensuing drive, but the snap sailed high over the punter’s head and was downed at the Johnson Co. 22-yard line where ‘Betsy went back to work.
Just two plays into the fourth quarter, Jacob Turner recorded his second score of the night to give the Cyclones complete command of the game leading 35-7.
After the Longhorns went four and out once again, the Cyclones would put three points on the board when Nordby connected from 27 yards out with 6:32 to play making the score 38-7 ‘Betsy.
Johnson County showed some fight using only one play after the kick scoring on a 23-yard pass as Arnold found Tressler open across the middle for the Longhorn score.
Osborne’s kick was no good and the scoreboard read 38-13 Cyclones.
Coach Witten flooded the field with reserves to close out the contest as the Cyclones celebrated their first win of the season.
“It was special for us to win our first game in the new stadium,” said Jeremiah Turner. “Hampton beat them last week 50-14, and I think we got our heads built up some. We had to come out and do what had to be done to win.”
The Cyclones will be back at Citizens Bank Stadium next week as they host the Daniel Boone Blazers.