Cyclones mix it up with Indians in preseason scrimmage

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, August 6, 2019



KINGSPORT – As the 2019 high school football season draws near, fans across the area are beginning to catch a glimpse of their teams in the form of scrimmages.

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One local team, the Elizabethton Cyclones, got their first taste of the action Friday night as they traveled to Kingsport for a preseason scrimmage against the Indians of Dobyns-Bennett.

In a scrimmage between two teams who some people would say have bad blood between each other, this year the intensity was turned up to a whole new level.

Dobyns-Bennett came out of the gate determined to make a statement as former Indian Cade Maupin was now starting at quarterback for the Cyclones.

The tension throughout this contest led to a huge skirmish on the Indian sideline after a late hit on Maupin caused both sidelines to clear.

The Cyclones were given the ball first where on only the second play, junior Parker Hughes showcased his leaping ability for a gain of fifteen yards.

The Cyclones were able to show off their running ability as Maupin took the ball himself for ten yards onto the Indian forty-five-yard line which was followed by a Bryson Rollins ten-yard run.

Moments later, Hughes was called on again as he made an outstanding grab to put Elizabethton on the board first.

On the ensuing Indian possession, Elizabethton showed that they were equally as strong on defense as the offensive side of the ball.

The first pass thrown by D-B’s quarterback was batted down by senior defensive linemen Joseph Kechter.

However, the Indians’ Tyler Tesnear was able to break free for a score from forty-five yards out.

Dobyns-Bennett’s good fortune didn’t stop there as a fumble from an Indian receiver fell right into the arms of Isaac Ratliff who took the ball thirty-nine yards into Elizabethton territory.

However, this was the point where the Cyclones were able to lock it down defensively after senior Carson Stresemann sniffed out a screen pass holding it to only a two-yard gain.

Sophomore Blake Stewart stepped in front of a Zane Whitson pass to give Elizabethton the ball in what would be excellent field position if it were an official game.

With Rollins now at quarterback, the Cyclones couldn’t get anything going in terms of the running game in the second drive.

The air attack, however, was all that Elizabethton needed as Rollins hit Hughes once for thirty yards and then Senior receiver Zach Hartley was able to make an impressive grab for ten more yards.

The drive was capped off with a twenty-five-yard reception by a double-covered Hughes who was able to climb the ladder yet again for the score.

A few plays later while Elizabethton was still on offense, things began to get out of hand.

After a late hit on Maupin, the Cyclone transfer from D-B, both sidelines cleared in a moment that will be remembered by both teams for a long time.

This altercation that lasted for a total of around three minutes would set the intensity level for the rest of this meeting between these schools.

The Cyclones came back out on defense with a chip on their shoulder filling the possession with big hits left and right starting with freshman Cade Russell laying the boom on an Indian ballcarrier.

Those big hits continued a play later with Stresemann driving Whitson into the ground for his second sack of the matchup.

After an eventual touchdown by the Indians, Elizabethton got the ball back in what would be one of their last drives with the starting eleven.

This drive would prove to be a short one though with Hartley making a couple more impressive grabs followed by an eighteen-yard rushing touchdown by Rollins.

The drive was capped off with junior Ladarian Avery breaking away from a group of Indian defenders for a sixty-nine-yard touchdown.

When asked about how a scrimmage against a school that is as large as Dobyns-Bennett helps prepare his team for the season, Elizabethton head coach Shawn Witten explained, “The biggest thing, we want our guys to compete. “We didn’t back down one time.

“This is a 6A school with good size. We have a lot of new guys out here and I thought we competed very well.”

Speaking on the altercation that put the game to a momentary halt, Witten said, “Our guys are not gonna back down from anyone, anybody that puts on that uniform is gonna compete.

“We know in a game we can’t do that but you will see us have some fire this year.”

After this contest between two great teams in Northeast Tennessee, the Cyclones are looking very solid only a few weeks before the season begins.

As is the case for every team at the moment, there are still things that can be worked on but this Elizabethton team looks more than ready to bring the same intensity to their rivalry matchup against Science Hill on August 23rd.