Cyclones take it on chin in season opener, 50-25

Published 11:44 pm Friday, August 18, 2017

The Elizabethton Cyclones were looking for a taste of redemption on Friday night when they made the trip to Kermit Tipton Stadium to take on non-conference foe Science Hill.

Unfortunately, the sour taste will have to linger for another year as the Hilltoppers were unhospitable to their visitors as Science Hill’s size on the offensive line along with the fleet-footed group of backs in their arsenal was just too much as the ‘Toppers dispatched Elizabethton 50-25 in season-opener action for both teams.

After a close opening quarter where Science Hill jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a 30-yard scoring scamper by Jaylan Adams and a point-after from Grant Wilson, the wheels came off for Elizabethton the rest of the way as the ‘Toppers built their lead and never looked back.

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Science Hill added two scores in the second quarter as Adams added scoring runs of eight and 10 yards with Wilson booting both PAT’s.

The Cyclones managed to dent the scoring column with 2:50 remaining in the half on a 23-yard field goal from freshman placekicker Kade Hensley as the half ended in the ‘Toppers favor, 21-3.

Elizabethton took advantage of a fumbled kick to open the second half on Science Hill’s 28-yard line as quarterback Carter Everett drove the pigskin over the goal-line from three yards out to make it 21-10 on Hensley’s PAT.

Science Hill answered with two scores in the quarter to increase the lead to 34-10 heading into the final 12 minutes of play on a 77-yard scoring pass from Adams to Aundre Butler and a one-yard bull rush from fullback Drew Morrison.

Corey Russell scored for the Cyclones in the fourth quarter as the junior back followed the blocking of his lineman in a heavy package. Russell added the two-point conversion in the same set.

The Cyclones managed one more score in the contest when Everett found wide receiver Ryan Wetzel on an ESPN Sports Center highlight reel catch from 26-yards out with Wetzel being interfered with on the play.

Jaxton Holly booted the point after but it was too little too late for the Cyclones as Science Hill added two more scores in the final quarter to gain the win.

Even in defeat, Cyclone skipper Shawn Witten was proud of his team’s effort as the defense spent a lot of time on the field dealing with an offensive unit that returned 10 starters from last season.

“We just got off to an uncharacteristic bad start and made mistakes that we normally don’t make,” said Witten. “We had too many three and outs on offense, but we spent six weeks preparing for this game and it is obviously disappointing.”

The Cyclones return home to face South Greene next Friday.

For a more in-depth look at Friday’s game, pick up Tuesday’s edition of the Gridiron Weekly, a weekly football section produced by the Elizabethton Star.