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Picking right back up where they left off… Cyclones run win streak to 16 straight with third straight win over Science Hill, 30-8

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
If there was a positive that Science Hill could take out of Friday night’s contest against the defending Class 4A State Champion Elizabethton Cyclones it was the fact that the score could have been a lot worse than what it was.
 
Elizabethton’s tandem of junior quarterback Bryson Rollins and senior wide receiver renewed their success from last season as Rollins completed 11-of-16 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns while Hughes reeled in eight catches for 184 yards and all three of Rollins passes for scores.
 
Meanwhile, the Cyclone defense was strong against the Hilltopper offense giving up a total of 269 yards to the visitors from Johnson City. 182 of those yards came through the air and Science Hill had 25 carries for 87 yards on the ground.
 
Elizabethton rolled to 366 total yards in the contest adding 37 rushes for 135 yards on the ground to Rollins total through the air.
 
Rollins utilized his legs extremely well racking up 82 yards on 17 touches while sophomore Nate Stephens had a solid first game carrying the pigskin 14 times for 49 yards and a score.
 
On defense, Cade Russell was a thorn all night in the side of the ‘Topper offense as the sophomore picked off two Jaxon Diamond passes and recovered a fumble. Hughes added an interception giving the Cyclones four turnovers in the contest.
 
The only blemish for the Cyclones was an interception given up by Rollins while being pressured on a rollout by Jeremiah Hise of Science Hill.
Sean Smithdeal who took over the placekicking duties this season after the graduation of Jaxton Holly started off his career by going a perfect 4-of-4 on extra-point attempts after the scores.
The Cyclones picked up a safety when Science Hill’s long snapper sent the ball flying over the head of punter Cade Hensley to give the Cyclones two points.
Science Hill scored their only touchdown when Amare Redd hauled in an 88-yard pass from Jaxon Diamond. Redd took advantage of a slip by a Cyclone defender to race into the end zone.
Cole Torbett converted the two-point play when he caught a pass from Diamond.
“They got some momentum there and it was really sloppy early as we couldn’t get any type of rhythm,” said Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten. “Our defense really hung in there from the get-go.
“We just couldn’t get any mixture of what we wanted to do offensively. It was a lot of guessing out there and a big-time chess match. I don’t know if I have been in a game like this before where it was so much of a chess match between the coaches. You just couldn’t figure out what people were doing but we knew we had a strong team and could survive and prevail.
“We got pressure on Jaxon Diamond all night long to put the ball up,” continued Witten. “Our defense came out and showed that with all the people that we graduated we still have a chance of being pretty good.”
The win marked the 16th straight win dating back to the 2019 season and the third time in a row over Science Hill. That feat hadn’t been accomplished since the 1991-92-93 seasons by the Cyclones.
Next up for Elizabethton will be the Sullivan East Patriots next Friday night at Citizens Bank Stadium. Kick-off is slated for 7:30 pm.