Rollins-led charge propels Jr. Cyclones past Redskins in second half

Published 10:55 pm Thursday, August 11, 2016

Star Photo/Ivan Sanders Jr. Cyclone defenders Parker Hughes (9) and Caleb Batchelder (77) apply pressure to Ross Robinson quarterback Isaac Ratliff in T.A. Dugger's win Thursday night.

Star Photo/Ivan Sanders
Jr. Cyclone defenders Parker Hughes (9) and Caleb Batchelder (77) apply pressure to Ross Robinson quarterback Isaac Ratliff in T.A. Dugger’s win Thursday night.

If Thursday night was any indication, this year will be an action-packed season for Coach Johnny Burleson’s T.A. Dugger Jr. High Cyclones as the boys from Holly Lane used a halftime regrouping session and came out with guns blazing in downing the visiting Ross Robinson Redskins 21-12 in the season-opener for both teams inside Citizens Bank Stadium.

The Jr. Cyclones responded with 21 points in the second half after trailing 6-0 at the intermission.

“We talked to them at halftime and our defense did an unbelievable job the first half,” said Burleson after the contest. “We played the whole first quarter on defense, and we made some adjustments at halftime on offense.

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“We felt like we could get the ball down field a little bit on them and the guys just responded so well. Rollins made a couple of good throws down field.”

It was the Redskins who owned the first half as Ross Robinson had the ball the entire first quarter.

The Jr. Cyclones finally got to touch the ball offensively, but the series didn’t end up so well for Burleson’s team as a Braiden Holly pass was picked out of the air by Redskin defender Nate Whitley at the Jr. Cyclone 32-yard line and returned for a score.

The conversion was no good and the Redskins led 6-0 with 5:49 left before half.

Neither team would push it across the goal line the rest of the way in the first half as the Jr. Cyclones had a good drive killed by an offensive pass interference call just before the break.

T.A. Dugger finally cracked the egg on their side of the Citizens Bank scoreboard after taking the opening second-half kickoff and marching from their own 35-yard line to pay dirt.

The big play came when Bryson Rollins dropped back on a fourth and seven from the Redskin 30-yard line and hit Jordan Killion for the touchdown which seemed to light a charge under the Jr. Cyclones.

Kade Hensley blasted the point-after to give the Jr. Cyclones their first lead, 7-6.

The third period ended with the same score as the crowd anticipated a dogfight over the final six minutes of action.

With the opportunity to put some space between themselves and the Redskins, Burleson and his coaching staff started to stick the ball in the belly of bruising running back Deuce Morton.

Morton accounted for 38-yards on the Jr. Cyclones opening drive of the fourth quarter including a 27-yard jaunt and then covered the final two yards into the end zone for a 14-6 lead after Hensley’s kick with 6:57 left in the contest.

The Redskins weren’t ready to lay down just yet as they took the ensuing kickoff at their own 20-yard line and quickly rumbled down to score on a two-yard run by Tyler Tesnear making the score 14-12.

However, the Redskins couldn’t capitalize on the two-point conversion as Ratliff was stuffed behind the line by Matthew Tester on the conversion attempt to preserve the two-point lead.

The Jr. Cyclones shot the final arrow into the Redskins on the following drive as once again Rollins dropped back and placed a perfect spiral into the waiting arms of Jake Roberts for a 74-yard scoring bomb to give the Jr. Cyclones a 21-12 lead after the Hensley PAT and their first victory on the new season.

“It’s a huge win when you can beat Robinson or any of those Kingsport-city teams and to start the season off that well is huge and gives us huge momentum.

“We have Johnson Co. next week so we just have to keep working. We have a lot to clean up. We will go back to work tomorrowbecause we don’t take a day off around here and watch some film and get ready to go.”

In the seventh grade game, things didn’t turn out as well for the Jr. Cyclone JV as the Redskins soundly defeated the home team 30-0.

Jaden Davidson did most of the damage for the visitors scoring three of the five Robinson touchdowns.