Cyclones regroup, pull away from Rebels, 45-6

Published 1:21 pm Saturday, August 25, 2018

For the first 24 minutes of play in Friday night’s contest between Elizabethton and the visiting South Greene Rebels at Citizens Bank Stadium, the Rebels showed they had come to play and weren’t going to be intimidated by the Cyclones.

However, after taking time at the half to correct several mistakes that were not like a Shawn Witten-coached Cyclone team, Elizabethton came out of the locker room and turned on the juice to win going away 45-6.

“I will take responsibility for it,” said Witten after the contest. “We really wanted the same intensity and come out here and execute on offense.

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“Putting the ball on the ground is what I don’t like. That interception hurt and offensively we went for it a couple of times on fourth down and didn’t convert, so I take responsibility for not doing a good enough job of getting our guys ready.”

While the Cyclones weren’t clicking on all cylinders early, Elizabethton was fortunate to take a 21-6 lead at the intermission.

After two penalties moved the Cyclones back from the 41 to the 15-yard line on the opening possession, quarterback Carter Everett found a streaking Parker Hughes wide open for an 85-yard touchdown toss with 11:12 in the opening quarter to stake ‘Betsy to a 7-0 lead after Jaxton Holly’s point-after.

A Rebel fumble by quarterback Levi Myers at the South Greene 40-yard line was recovered by defensive lineman Jared Grindstaff to give the Cyclones possession on the ensuing possession.

Everett would connect with Corey Russell on a finger-tip reception covering 15 yards to make it a 14-0 contest after Holly split the uprights on the PAT with 4:41 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Rebels weren’t ready to wave the white flag just yet as Coach Scott Verran’s team played solid defense and were rewarded with a fumble recovery by Caleb Parkins that set South Greene up in business at the Cyclone 26-yard line.

Myers went to the airway and found Parkins for a 15-yard scoring pass with 9:23 left in the half. Lennart Schultz kick was blocked and the scoreboard read 14-6.

Russell would blast in a late score just before the half from 1-yard out to extend the Cyclone advantage to 21-6 at the half.

Elizabethton got dialed in at the half and tacked on 24 second-half points.

Everett found Evan Perkins on a bullet 21-yard pass with 7:57 left in the third period as Holly tacked on the PAT to make the score 28-6.

The senior Cyclone quarterback then added a 10-yard strike to Russell with 10:16 left to play with Russell adding a seven-yard scramble just three minutes later to push the advantage to 42-6 on Holly’s successful boots on the PAT’s.

Holly added his second field goal in as many games from 35-yards out to round out the scoring.

Everett finished the night with 181 yards passing on an 11-of-18 performance with four touchdowns. He was picked one time by the Rebel defense.

Russell was 4-of-4 passing for 53 yards and added seven rushes for 48 yards and two scores while catching five passes for 34 yards and two more scores.

Hughes had 125 yards receiving on only three catches with the one score.

“Parker (Hughes) is a great vertical threat and Evan (Perkins) is a Wes Welker type of guy who is always open,” said Everett about his receiving corp. “Parker is my jump ball guy.

“I’ve had great receivers since I have been playing here.”

Jordan Hayes led the way defensively for the Cyclones with six tackles while Joseph Kechter added five stops including two sacks on the Rebel quarterback.

The Cyclones will be home again next week when they welcome the Sullivan East Patriots to close out the three-game homestand.