How ’bout them Cyclones… Elizabethton rallies from 14 down to defeat Greeneville 24-21 to take driver’s seat in Region 1 Class 4-A

Published 1:52 am Saturday, October 19, 2019

Things were looking a little bleak early in the third quarter as the state’s No. 1 ranked Greeneville Greene Devils had the state’s No. 2 ranked Elizabethton Cyclones on the ropes looking at what could have been the finishing blow.
But like any true champion, the Cyclones picked themselves up off the floor and responded with two touchdowns before placekicker Jaxton Holly finally delivered the death keel to the visiting Greene Devils with a 34-yard field goal with about 15 ticks left on the game clock and the Cyclone defense did the rest to secure the huge victory.
With an overflow crowd of close to 5,000 on hand and many more watching on television at home, the game was all one could have hoped for between the two powerhouses as the Cyclones not only had to overcome the Greene Devils but some questionable calls on the field.
One thing that head coach Shawn Witten has always preached to his team, however, is for them to control what they can and execute on every down as that was exactly what they did to set themselves up for the game-winning Holly field goal.
Elizabethton jumped on top to open the game as quarterback Bryson Rollins found Parker Hughes on a 37-yard pass with 6:22 left on the first-quarter clock. Hughes battled on the 50-50 ball and secured the reception to fall over the goal line for the score.
Holly’s PAT made it a 7-0 game.
The Greene Devils got back even in the second quarter when scatback Mason Gudger put on some smooth dance moves to work his way into the end zone on a 21-yard run. Jones kick made the game deadlocked at 7-7.
Greeneville took their first lead of the game with 5:24 left before the half when Gudger again put on some exceptional moves to find the end zone after the Cyclones had issues with a couple of snaps that put the Greene Devils in prime field position.
Jones kick made it 14-7 Greene Devils.
Elizabethton probably made the play of the game just before the half with the defensive line stopped the Greene Devils on fourth and goal at the one-yard line to keep the score at 14-7 with Greeneville set to receive the second-half kickoff.
The Greene Devils pushed their lead to 21-7 with 2:03 left to play in the third quarter on a Drew Gregg 13-yard run and a Jones PAT. 
But showing true Cyclone grit, Elizabethton buckled down and answered 33 seconds later when Zach C. Hartley was found wide open by Rollins for a 59-yard scoring pass. Hartley fought through a Greeneville defender to help pull his team to within seven at 21-14 after Holly’s PAT was true.
Greeneville had to be feeling pretty good about themselves at this point with the lead, but once again the Cyclones behind the support of their orange-clad fans with to work with new energy as the defense made a big stop to get the ball back for the Cyclone offense.
Behind strong running from Rollins and Cade Maupin, the Cyclones marched downfield and when Rollins bolted over on fourth and goal from the one-yard line with 5:07 to play in regulation, the Cyclones could smell a victory looming.
Playing inspired football, the defense took over once again to get the football back for one final drive with less than three minutes left to play.
Moving the ball into position as they have practiced so many times before, Coach Shawn Witten called a time out and sent in Holly for the potential game-winner.
It might have been an omen after Holly and his father spent last Sunday on the turf kicking from distances of 50 yards plus knowing the foot of Holly could prove huge.
Indeed it did as the ball was hit well and just passed within the uprights for the field goal that set off pandemonium on the Cyclone side of the field.
The Greene Devils managed to run off a couple of plays, but the defense made sure the game was going to be put in the bag keeping the Greene Devils at bay for the win.
With the win, if the Cyclones take care of business through the next two games against South and Central, they will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs meaning no trip to Anderson County who has ended their season the last two years.
These two teams may have to meet again down the road but for right now the Cyclones will relish being the frontrunners and surely the new No. 1 team in the state for the first time in school history after the new AP Poll is released after the win.

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