The Road to the BlueCross Bowl A CHANGING OF THE GUARD… Cyclones bow necks to rally and down Greeneville for second time, 24-13

Published 12:12 am Saturday, November 23, 2019

To beat a very good football team in one season is an outstanding feat but to beat the same team for a second time shows guts, grit, and resilience.
Check all three off for the Elizabethton Cyclones as on Friday night the Cyclones fell behind early 13-0 before rallying with 24 unanswered points to defeat the defending state champions and earn a berth in one of next week’s semifinal contest against Nolensville with a state berth the victors reward.
The Cyclones (13-0) continued to build on their historic run winning for the 13th time which is a school record for a single season.
The win also marked a changing of the guard in Northeast Tennessee as the road to Cookeville had ran through the Greene Devils for the last several years.
And it came with a statement as well to those who voted for the Mr. Tennessee Football finalist for Class 4A as Cyclone field general Bryson Rollins name was left out of the finals while Greeneville’s Ty Youngblood was one of those selected.
How’s this for a message – Rollins was 7-of-10 for 94 yards passing, rushed 23 times for 92 yards, had two passing touchdowns, and ran for one.
On the other side of the field was Youngblood with seven carries for 27 yards, one rush touchdown- point made.
But the win was more than just Rollins whose attention to detail allowed the Cyclones to settle down and rebound from the early hole.
Greeneville came out playing inspired with a little payback in mind as the Greene Devils rushed onto the field through a sign that said BUSINESS.
Drew Gregg connected with A.J. Stewart for a 22-yard scoring pass with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter. Once again however the Cyclones got a hand on the point-after attempt and the scoreboard read 6-0 Greeneville.
Youngblood added the second score on a seven-yard burst and CeJ Jones booted the PAT cleanly through for a 13-0 Greene Devil advantage with 1:19 left in the opening quarter.
And that was it for the Greene Devils offensively as the Cyclone defense came alive from that point on as did the offense.
Answering the second Greeneville score of the game, Rollins rolled out and found Parker Hughes in the end zone with Hughes fighting for the scoring reception.
Jaxton Holly, the hero from the first meeting between the two schools, was perfect on his point-after attempt and the Cyclones shaved the Greene Devil lead to 13-7 with 9:48 remaining before half time.
Elizabethton took their first lead of the contest with 5:22 left in the half as Rollins threw the perfect ball and Zach C. Hartley made the perfect catch for a 14-13 lead after Holly’s point-after.
The Cyclones had an opportunity to do more damage before the half but failed to convert to take the 14-13 lead to the locker room.
When the coin was tossed the Cyclones elected to take the second-half kickoff and fell flat going three and out to open the second half.
However, the Cyclone defense rose to the occasion and got the ball back allowing the Cyclones an opportunity to put more points on the board and did so on Holly’s 24-yard field goal with 4:44 showing on the third-quarter clock to give Elizabethton the 17-13 lead.
Elizabethton put the game away just two seconds into the fourth quarter when Rollins plowed through on a five-yard run and Holly’s kick made it 24-13.
From there, the Elizabethton defense continued to play solidly not giving Greeneville any further scoring threats shutting down a drive on fourth down in Cyclone territory.
‘We talked about finishing tonight and I am speechless,” said Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten. “It takes everything that you got to beat a team like that. They make you prepare and make you work for every yard.
“When you beat them, you have done something great because those guys don’t go down easy. Our guys wanted it and we knew it was going to be a big-time fight.
“We did a good job of stuffing the run. We talked about this team was going to make some plays and we just had to hold on.”
Maupin who finished the game with his second straight game of over 100 yards against a very strong defensive unit said it all started upfront.
“Give all the credit to the line- they blocked their tails off tonight,” Maupin said. “None of those holes wouldn’t have been there without them.
“They had some big guys and they were moving them like they were nothing so all the credit to the linemen there.”
Maupin finished with 28 carries for 121 yards on the night.
As a team, the Cyclones racked up 327 yards of total offense to 228 for the Greene Devils. Greeneville, who lived on the ground last week against Anderson County surprisingly went to the air and had 154 yards passing on 10-of-15 attempts.
The Cyclone defense was outstanding recording two interceptions by Hughes and Jake Roberts. The defensive front was credited with four sacks on Greene Devil quarterback Gregg with Jordan Sproles recording two, Zach A. Hartley one, and Deuce Morton one.
Next up on The Road to the BlueCross Bowl will be Nolensville (11-2) a 42-6 winner over DeKalb County next Friday at 7 pm at Citizens Bank Stadium.
Saying there will be a big crowd is an overstatement so plans should be made now in preparation for the game with Thanksgiving in the mix this week as well.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox