Storm Warning brewing … : Cyclones break through with huge win over CAK, 45-13

Published 11:53 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

Star Photo/Ivan Sanders Elizabethton's Jacob Turner steps on the helmet of CAK defender Stewart Howell (#16) on his way to a big pickup.

Star Photo/Ivan Sanders
Elizabethton’s Jacob Turner steps on the helmet of CAK defender Stewart Howell (#16) on his way to a big pickup.

Eight fruitless tries at trying to break the Christian Academy of Knoxville’s strangle hold for the last 10 years had done one thing for the Elizabethton Cyclones—it taught them valuable lessons that led to a sweet bite into the playoff apple as the Cyclones finally stormed the gates leading to a third round showdown with the Alcoa Tornado next week in Knoxville.

Behind Corey Russell’s huge effort from all sides of the football accounting for over 400 all-purpose yards, the Cyclones shook off a slow start and rolled to a 45-13 win that keeps the Cyclones season rolling along.

“This is the best feeling in the world,” said Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten. “The credit goes to these kids—they worked tremendously hard. 365 days we have thought about this as it has been in the back of our minds, but probably one of the biggest wins in school history—at least in the decade that I have been here.

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“Getting the monkey off our back and knocking the door down while persevering through. We have a special group and a special team,” continued Witten. “Our coaches did a great job getting us ready all week.

“Our guys believed in ourselves and came out and put it all together.”

Both teams exchanged a couple of punts apiece as the game started off rather slow for the offenses, but that soon changed as the Cyclones got the first score on a Corey Russell two-yard plunge.

Jaxton Holly’s point-after attempt staked the Cyclones to a 7-0 lead.

The Cyclones got a gift late in the first quarter when Alijah Egolf pounced on a CAK fumble at the Warrior 23-yard line.

The quarter ended with the same 7-0 score with the Cyclones marching.

Elizabethton’s drive stalled at the nine-yard line as Witten called on Holly for a 26-yard field goal attempt and the freshman placekicker delivered to extend the lead to 10-0 with 10:25 remaining before the half.

The Warriors put together a solid 15-play drive that forced a 24-yard field goal attempt by Isaac Gallegos who converted to cut into the Cyclone lead at 10-3.

Needing to respond, the Cyclones did just that on the ensuing possession as senior running back Jacob Turner burst through for a six-yard touchdown to extend the lead back to 17-3 after Holly’s PAT.

After the Cyclone defense forced a three and out, Elizabethton kept the train chugging along as Russell squirmed to the outside and was off to the races for a 58-yard scoring run that pushed the Cyclones to a 24-3 advantage with 2:40 remaining in the half.

Russell then put his team back into a prime opportunity as he picked off a Drew Claborn pass at the Cyclone three-yard line and turned back toward the CAK side of the field coming up just two yards shy of a Cyclone score on the 95-yard return.

It took only two plays for Russell to find pay dirt taking it in from one-yard out to give the Cyclones a 31-3 halftime lead after Holly’s boot was true.

The Cyclone defense held the Warriors to only 136 yards of offense in the first half.

CAK took the second-half opening kickoff and marched downfield 66 yards on nine plays as West Shuler returned to the game as quarterback for CAK after being knocked out in the opening half of play and found Stewart Howell on a 10-yard scoring toss.

Gallegos converted the PAT and the scoreboard read 31-10 Cyclones.

The Warrior defense held the Cyclones to get the football back and the Warriors added another score, howbeit by a 39-yard field goal by Gallegos to make the score 31-13.

Elizabethton kept the pressure on as Russell would find senior wide receiver Conner Johnson in the front edge of the end zone as Johnson did the rest for an electric 20-yard scoring pass.

Holly continued his good effort with the PAT and the Cyclones were feeling pretty good about their chances with a 38-13 lead with 11:58 remaining to play.

Russell put the dagger in the Warriors’ hearts on the ensuing possession as he stepped in front of Shuler’s pass for another pick giving the Cyclone control at the EHS 16-yard line.

Elizabethton got behind their big offensive line and took over seven minutes off the game clock going on a 13-play drive culminating when Turner recorded his second scoring jaunt of the night from six yards with 3:12 left to play.

Holly remained perfect and the Cyclone faithful were feeling it as their Cyclones led 45-13.

The Warriors saw the writing on the wall as their season came to an end on the Cyclone 17-yard line as the horn sounded to end the game.

Turner said that it was a great feeling to finally break the walls down against the Warriors.

“We have faced them the last four years, and we haven’t got it down,” said Turner after the contest. “We wanted to come out and be the first to do it. We knew it was going to go through CAK, and we took care of that and now we move on to face Alcoa.

“We wanted to do whatever coach said to do. I just wanted to do what coach wanted me to do whether at receiver or running back. We scrimmaged Alcoa in the spring so we know what we are going to go up against.”

Kickoff next week for the Cyclones (11-1) will be at 7 pm at Alcoa High School.