TSSAA Class 4-A Football Championship – Round One Cyclones flatten East Ridge to advance to second round with 44-8 win

Published 1:04 am Saturday, November 9, 2019

Elizabethton came out of the gates like wild stallions that had been pinned up and were ready to run as the Cyclones jumped out to a 13-0 advantage at the end of the first 12 minutes and didn’t look back winning 44-8 over East Ridge to advance to take on familiar foe Sullivan South next week in the second round of the playoffs.
The Rebels defeated East Hamilton 28-24 for a rematch with the Cyclones.
Cade Maupin came into the contest like a man on a mission as the senior running back touched the ball all three times on the first drive of the game and scored the Cyclones first touchdown with 10:55 showing on the first-quarter clock.
Jaxton Holly had a rare missed point-after attempt as ‘Betsy took the early 6-0 lead.
After a strong defensive effort on the Pioneer’s first possession, the Cyclones went back to work and found pay dirt once again, this time on a one-yard dash into the end zone by sophomore quarterback Bryson Rollins.
Rollins was just this week named as one of the finalists for Class 4-A Mr. Football in Tennessee.
Holly’s effort was true and the Cyclones led 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Rollins put Elizabethton up 20-0 with 1:51 remaining in the second quarter on a short three-yard jaunt into the endzone and Holly booted the PAT.
The Cyclones pulled a little trickery as on the ensuing kickoff, Holly made one of the prettiest onside kicks a coach could ask for and even recovered the football to put Elizabethton back in business with very little time left in the quarter.
East Ridge rose to the occasion defensively and Holly came on and booted a 27-yard field goal to push the Cyclone advantage to 23-0 and EHS headed to the locker room in full control of the game.
Coming out of the break, Elizabethton extended the lead to 30-0 as Rollins picked up his third rushing touchdown of the contest – another three-yard run with 7:51 showing in the third quarter.
Holly’s kick was good on the score.
The Pioneers finally were rewarded with their first score of the contest with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter as Keanu Johnson broke free of Cyclone defenders and rumbled 49 yards for the score. Johnson’s two-point conversion put eight points on the board for the visitors from the Chattanooga area.
Elizabethton responded like a gazelle on their next series as Maupin collected his second score of the night on a 29-yard race to the end zone. When Holly’s point sailed through the uprights, the Cyclones led 37-8.
The Cyclones got their final score of the contest just seconds into the fourth quarter when freshman Nate Stephens toted the mail over from three yards out to push the game to its final margin on Holly’s PAT.
‘We just continue to build confidence and that’s the biggest thing,” said Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten. “I thought we came out excited to play and take care of business.
“They were a pretty good football team that really made us work for it. It made it really challenging with their speed and they made us play all the way to the last second so a goal-line stand at the last second just continues to build our confidence.”
The Cyclone defense played exceptional well all night led by their seniors Joseph Kechter, Zach A. Hartley, and Carson Streseman.
“We just knew obviously with a zero on their side of the scoreboard they can’t win so playing the Wing-T Power-I offense like that we have played against it before and were used to it,” stated Streseman.
“We knew we had to be big and stop them on the front line and let the linebackers do their job and that’s what we did.”
Elizabethton had 350 yards of offense on the night with 37 carries covering 212 yards on the ground while Rollins connected on 11-of-14 passing attempts for 138 yards.
The Cyclones were penalized only two times for 20 yards but had two fumbles losing one.
Maupin accounted for 12 rushes for 115 yards while Rollins added nine for 80 yards. Zach C. Hartley had four receptions for 76 yards in the contest.
Elizabethton and South will kick off at 7 pm next Friday at Citizens Bank Stadium.

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