There will be at least one game played in prep football…
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
One of the biggest rivalry games of the year, for the time being, appears to be on course while others are wondering if they will ever see the field.
On Monday evening the Johnson City Board of Education voted to allow contact sports for the fall to continue meaning that Science Hill and the Elizabethton Cyclones appear to be set to square off for the first game of the 2020 prep football season next Friday, August 21st at Citizens Bank Stadium.
The kickoff is slated for 7:30 pm.
Science Hill received the clearance despite Board Chairman Tim Belise who is the General Counsel for Ballad Health felt it inconsistent to play contact sports while the first three weeks of school are virtual and highlighted that the college football season is clinging by its teeth to play this fall as well.
Never the less, the two teams now are locked and loaded as they begin preparing for their annual showdown as the Cyclones look to defeat the Hilltoppers for the third straight year.
Elizabethton head coach Shawn Witten said during media day that he can’t ever remember a time when the Cyclones were able to pull that feat off noting that Science Hill played last season without head coach Stacy Carter who was serving a suspension due to being ejected during a 2018 playoff game that his ‘Toppers lost.
Anyone that knows anything about a Carter-Witten head to head knows how tough that Carter has been against Witten whether at Sullivan South or Science Hill.
The Cyclones will enter the game with a lot of momentum even minus the current pandemic having ran the gauntlet in 2019 going 15-0 and claiming the 2019 Class 4A State Championship in Cookeville.
With several key players returning for Elizabethton, expectations are running rampant in Elizabethton that this could be another special season for the Cyclones.
Back in the mix on the offensive side of the football include junior quarterback Bryson Rollins who set a pass completion record in the championship game against Springfield and according to Witten brings a demeanor of patience even when the head coach may want to press the issue.
Also, another player to watch will be wide receiver Parker Hughes who has several colleges looking at the chiseled playmaker.
Rollins has one of the most experienced lines around in front of him who are strong and physical as well.
On defense, leading tackler senior linebacker Deuce Morton returns to lead a strong defensive unit.
More will be upcoming about the Cyclones but it is easy to see why there is a different air surrounding football in Elizabethton now especially when looking at a roster that includes over 50 freshman and sophomores and beyond that at T.A. Dugger where a larger number of athletes are filling jerseys as well in the junior high program.
During the ring ceremony, a parent came by and asked for more positivity in an otherwise difficult year and hopefully this is the beginning of just that.
Here’s to keeping our fingers crossed that other local schools will be able to shake off the effects of the pandemic and things can open back up fully this season.
I am going to chose to be positive in my words this week and pray for the best.
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