Winners find a way to win… Cyclones win a fierce battle with Daniel Boone decided in last seconds
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
GRAY – The mark of a true champion is when one faces the most adverse situation, the heart within elevates that champion to stand strong and overcome whatever obstacle that might stand between them.
For the Elizabethton Cyclones, that heart that had carried them to 17 straight wins rose once again in almost a repeat of a game against Sullivan South in 2019 as senior Parker Hughes of the Cyclones burst through the massive line of the Daniel Boone field goal kicking team and got enough hand on an attempted field goal to save the slight two-point lead the Cyclones had.
Elizabethton then managed to run out the remaining 47 seconds left on the clock to record win number three on the season and the 18th straight triumph dating back to 2019.
Carson Stresemann saved the day in 2019 when he blocked a South attempt at a win in the waning seconds as the Cyclones marched to the Class 4A State Championship on the heels of that play.
Coach Jeremy Jenkins of Boone had his troops ready to do battle and as comedian Jerry Clower would say the game was a bigger fight than throwing a bowl of okra amongst a pack of dogs.
The Cyclones got on the board first in the contest when Parker Hughes took a pass from Bryson Rollins in from 10 yards out for a 7-0 lead after Sean Smithdeal booted the point-after attempt.
Brennan Blair of Boone answered the Cyclone score with one of his own two minutes later and the game was tied at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter when Ben Shrewsbury split the uprights on the PAT.
It was Hughes once again just four minutes into the fourth quarter when he caught an 11-yard scoring pass from Rollins to extend the Cyclone lead back to 14-7 after Smithdeal’s kick.
Boone came prepared to battle and battle they did as Blair was back at it rumbling in from 14 yards out to make it a 14-13 contest with 1:12 left to play before the half.
Jenkins rolled the dice with an onside kick that was executed to perfection to put the Blazers back in business with time still left in the half.
It took only one play as Phillip Page caught a pass across the middle and outran the Cyclone secondary to the endzone for a 48-yard scoring toss. The two-point conversion was good and Boone had retaken the lead 21-14.
The explosive Cyclone offense moved the ball after taking the kickoff into a position where Smithdeal could shave three points off the scoreboard on a 24-yard field goal as time expired in the half and Boone leading 21-17.
Coming out of the locker room, the second half was a defensive slobber knocker as the Cyclone squeaked ahead on a 37-yard scoring pass from Rollins to wideout Jake Roberts with 8:15 left in the third.
From that point, it was a tug of war as neither team could capitalize on scoring opportunities until Shrewsbury set up for a potential go-ahead field goal.
Hughes made the play and the Cyclone offense ran out the clock for the big road win to go 3-0 on the season after a bye week.
Rollins finished the game 13-20 with one batted interception for 156 yards and three touchdowns and added 26 carries for 116 yards. Nate Stephens added eight carries for 30 yards in the contest.
Hughes caught five balls for 73 yards and the two scores while Roberts added three more receptions for 48 yards and the score.
Defensively, Cade Russell came up with a big interception with the Blazers driving.
Elizabethton had 313 yards of total offense while Daniel Boone finished with 260 yards of total offense.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said EHS head coach Shawn Witten. “This team has played a really good schedule and they are tough – 21 seniors. Sometimes you have to find a way to win.”
The Cyclone defense had to be the stars of the show in the second half as after a tough first half, the Cyclone defense held Boone scoreless in the second 24 minutes of play.
“They returned every single lineman and we knew it was going to be a challenge,” said defensive lineman Trenton Taylor. “They upset Greeneville at Greeneville and then they traveled to Tennessee High and lost so you knew they were going to try to bounce back.
“We knew it was going to be a physical game coming out and it showed.”
The Cyclones will be on the road next week when they travel to Grainger County in a region showdown.
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