The march begins… Cyclones host East Ridge in Round 1 opener

Published 1:00 am Friday, November 8, 2019

It’s one thing to go 10-0 in the regular season and that was a historic accomplishment for the 2019 Elizabethton Cyclones however that wasn’t the ultimate goal.
That goal lies in the possibilities that await over the next five games because if the Cyclones can continue their season of perfection they will find themselves in Cookeville playing for a state championship.
The road to Cookeville begins tonight when the East Ridge Pioneers (6-4) come calling on the Cyclones at Citizens Bank Stadium with a 7 pm kickoff in the first round of the 2019 TSSAA Football Championships.
One of the challenges in an opening-round game is making sure that one doesn’t put a lot of value into an opponent’s overall record because each region is uniquely different and records sometimes don’t always paint an accurate picture of the team you are getting ready to play.
“What we have accomplished to this point makes this whole playoff situation really tough,” said Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten. “We come into the game as the number one seed with a 10-0 record in a game where we are supposed to win by 14 to 17 points but that is not always the case.
“It’s really hard to evaluate a 6-4 team who had to win last week just to get into the playoffs. Those Chattanooga-area teams are tough to evaluate due to their size and speed and really just not knowing them.”
The Cyclone coach knows that his team will have to be physically and mentally prepared and needs the energy of the Elizabethton community to come out in full force in their orange to play the role of 12th man once again.
There are a lot of concerns especially playing a team like East Ridge in the fact they run a different style of Wing-T on offense and the Cyclone defense cannot take one play off or they may find themselves behind on the scoreboard.
“It’s not the same type of Wing-T offense,” Witten stated. “They have a lot of speed and athleticism and if you miss one tackle defensively you will be out of alignment.
“We have to do the simple things – blocking, tackling, flying to the ball. Defensively, we have to be really disciplined and on offense, we can’t turn the ball over or get in long-down situations.
“We will also need to keep our penalties down because the playoffs are different in the fact the officials come from different regions and you don’t really know them.”
There are some things that fans need to be aware of before coming to the game tonight per Forrest Holt-the Athletic Director at EHS.
– All fans must purchase a ticket either at the school today from 8 am to 3 pm, at the gate, or online at GoFan. The cost of tickets is $8 for everyone including school personnel and season ticket holders. If ordering online, there is a processing fee as well.
– Season ticket holders will be able to have their seats they had during the regular season but must bring those passes with you to the game. Also, if anyone had reserved parking, that too will be honored for the playoffs.
– Gates will open at 5:30 pm for entry into the stadium.
– The Cyclone football team requests all fans to deck out in orange for the contest against East Ridge.
– Game time is 7 pm which is 30 minutes earlier than regular-season contests.
– All bags will be checked upon entering as an added security measure with the attendance expected at the game.

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