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The five horsemen… Elizabethton front five offensive linemen return to plow the row

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
In 2019, Coach Shawn Witten sent two sophomores and three juniors into battle to provide passing protection for sophomore quarterback Bryson Rollins and open running lanes for senior Cade Maupin who accumulated over 1,000 yards rushing in his lone season with the Cyclones.
Those five – Conner Johnson, Owen Slagle, Colby Garland, Wesley Erwin, and Cole Morganstern not only accomplished the tasks presented to them by their coach but excelled and thrived as they were the anchor point of leading the Cyclones to the 2019 Class 4A Championship.
And even better for Witten, the five return again this season after plowing the row in leading the Cyclones to a perfect 15-0 season in 2019 and looking to do the same in 2020.
The five horsemen are the best in the state until someone proves them wrong and they are ready to help lead the Cyclones to another shot at a state championship in 2020.
Even better for the Cyclone Nation is the fact that the offensive linemen doesn’t stop with these five proven linemen as each has at least one if not two backups should they need a break.
For seniors Erwin, Morganstern, and Garland, there wouldn’t be anything any sweeter than adding a second state championship trophy to the football display case in the high school and a second state championship ring around their finger.
“We have to play every game like we are going to have to outscore them,” said senior lineman Morganstern. “Our defense is going to do the job but we have to go in with the mentality that we are going to put 100 up on them every single game.
“A couple of times last year we kind of slipped up a bit – we would take the football down the field but we couldn’t capitalize all the time. So that is kind of my big thing this year is that I want to punch the football in every time that the football gets in the red zone that we have to put it in the end zone.”
Even though the Cyclones broke through for their first state championship since the TSSAA formulated the current playoff system, there is still a deep hunger among the players, coaches, and community to bring home the second one in back-to-back seasons.
Morganstern said he knew what it was to be the hunter chasing down the hunted with the target in their backs in the Greeneville Green Devils but now the Cyclones will be the hunted and will be wearing the bulls-eye every time they take the field.
“I think that’s the big thing going back-to-back. It’s hard to win a championship the first time but to do it twice is a whole different ball game.
You have to do what you did last year two times that to win another championship,” said Morganstern.
“We have got to protect the championship and to protect the house. I know how it feels to be chasing somebody – we chased Greeneville for two years there I always wanted to be at their level. I wanted to take what they had and now we have what they had.”
The senior also realizes that winning one gold ball is tough but winning two will be another challenge.
“It’s going to be an even harder job to keep our position and we are going to have to play even harder to keep that,” he said.
The Cyclones will be looking to keep that momentum rolling when they host the Science Hill Hilltoppers on August 21, 2020, with a 7:30 pm kickoff. Elizabethton will be gunning for their third straight win over the ‘Toppers.