A Patriot smackdown… Cyclones crush Union County in convincing fashion, 51-19

Published 1:37 am Saturday, October 12, 2019

MAYNARDSVILLE – For the first 12 minutes of Friday night’s football game at Union High School, the Elizabethton Cyclones were reminiscent of a cat playing with a cornered mouse giving false hope that a surprising escape could take place before finally sinking its claws in to deliver the final blow.
After Union took a 7-0 lead on the strength of a Zach Pierce one-yard run and the point-after with 2:59 left in the first quarter, the Cyclones finally pulled it together in the second quarter to score 21 straight points before the half and complete the beating down the stretch to win 51-19 to remain unbeaten at 7-0 and 3-0 in Region 1-4A on the season.
Troy Parker Hughes got the Cyclones on the board first on a 24-yard scoring pass from Bryson Rollins with 9:39 showing on the second-quarter clock. Less than a minute later, quarterback Rollins bulled over the goal line on a one-yard run.
Hughes wrapped up the first-half scoring when he hauled in a 30-yard scoring pass from Rollins with 5:25 showing before the half. Jaxton Holly continued to do an exceptional job on point-after attempts booting all three extra-point attempts in the half.
Elizabethton received the second half kick and wasting little time in pushing the lead to a three-touchdown advantage as Zach C. Hartley took a short pass and did the rest on his own diving across the goal line on a 36-yard touchdown reception with just 53 seconds off the third-quarter clock to make it 28-7.
Union Co. responded with a score of their own as Pierce hauled the mail on a six-yard touchdown run. The PAT was blocked and the scoreboard showed 28-13 in favor of the Cyclones.
Rollins picked up his second scoring run of the contest with 6:23 in the third quarter on a 36-yard run. Holly picked up both of the PAT’s on the two opening scores and the score at that point was 35-13.
After having trouble with snaps being high over the course of the game, it finally bit the Patriots on a punt attempt just into the fourth quarter when the ball sailed over the head of the Union Co. punter for a Cyclone safety to make it 37-13.
On the ensuing possession after the safety, freshman Nate Stephens gave Cyclone fans a glimpse of the future as the speed demon scored from five yards out to extend the lead to 44-13 on Sean Smithdeal’s point after.
Union Co. stayed in the fight as Pierce would add his third scoring run of the contest, this time from five yards, to make it a 44-19 game with 8:11 left to play.
Stephens put the finishing touches on the game as he carried for his second scoring run of the night, a 14-yard run, and Smithdeal booted his second PAT of the game to give the game it’s final score of 51-19.
The Cyclones racked up 421 yards of total offense in the contest as Rollins was 10-of-11 passing for 208 yards and the three scores with Dalton Mitchell completing one pass for 12 yards while EHS rushed the ball 34 times for 201 yards of offense.
Coach Shawn Witten would gladly take the win but the three fumbles with two lost and the one pass interception with the Cyclones driving will obviously be a point of contention heading into the largest game of the year in Northeast Tennessee next Friday night when Greeneville comes calling with first place on the line with the state’s No. 1 and No.2 team in Class 4-A squaring off.
The Cyclones were also penalized six times for 55 yards in the contest.
Statistically, Stephens had a huge game as he toted the pigskin 13 times for 134 yards and two scores. Hughes caught five passes for 103 yards and two scores.

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