Getting it done again

Published 8:25 am Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Cyclone JV roars back to topple Rebels in closing minute, 26-20

KINGSPORT—The Sullivan South Rebel junior varsity may have counted their chickens too soon as the host Rebels led the Elizabethton Cyclones 20-18 with less than 60 ticks on the scoreboard clock.

However, little did the Rebels know that the Cyclones have thrived in the underdog role this season and showed why as ‘Betsy came storming back to take a 26-20 lead with 35 seconds left and then thwarted any attempt the Rebels had of getting the lead back taking the season-ending victory.

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“It was the first real cold game we had,” said Cyclone JV head coach Brian Jenkins. “We responded well after getting down early and were able to battle back.

“We didn’t play well offensively like we have most of the season and defensively we made big stops when we had to. South had only lost one game and that was to Greeneville, and we beat them last week and South tonight.”

After falling behind 7-0 early in the game, the Cyclones cut into the lead as freshman quarterback Bryson Rollins found Nicholas ‘Waterbug’ Vanover on a 25-yard scoring pass to make it 7-6 after the extra point failed.

The Rebels would score before the halftime horn sounded to take a 14-6 lead into the locker room.

Elizabethton took advantage of a Jake Roberts fumble recovery as Rollins rumbled into the end zone to make it a 14-12 contest after the two-point conversion failed.

Rollins second rushing touchdown pushed the Cyclones in front 18-14 for their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter.

South rallied to take the lead back with just under three minutes to play in the game and led 20-18 after the point-after attempt failed.

With the game hanging in the balance and the clock ticking away toward the final horn, the Cyclones seized the lead and never would let go as Rollins connected with Roberts from 15 yards out to make it a 26-20 game as Rollins converted the 2-point conversion with 35 seconds left in the contest.

South managed to run three plays before the Cyclone defense put the exclamation mark on the victory by shutting the Rebels down.

“There were a lot of kids that did great things for us including Chris Taylor, Trenton Taylor, Blake Stewart, Bryson, Jake, and Braden Holly,” said Jenkins. “We did what we needed to do and it wasn’t all perfect, but we found a way to win.

“This is the first year I’ve coached a JV team where we played ninth and tenth graders and only played one junior, Jaxton Holly, who did some kicking for us,” continued Jenkins. “These kids played at a big level and made some plays that we weren’t sure they were capable of.”

The Cyclone JV finished at 7-2 overall including a pair of wins over Science Hill, Mitchell Co., NC, Union, VA, Greeneville, and South.

Their only two losses came at the hands of Dobyns-Bennett.