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A thriller to the end… Cyclone JV pull out 21-20 win in final ten minutes against Indians

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
KINGSPORT – If you love football, especially high school football, and haven’t made it out to watch an Elizabethton junior varsity game it’s like trying homemade ice cream – you don’t know what you are missing if you don’t make an effort to try to.

On Monday evening at J. Fred Johnson Stadium in Kingsport, the Elizabethton Cyclone JV was looking to make it two wins on the season against the Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett Indians.

And just like in the first meeting between the two, the Cyclones found themselves trailing late in the game before making their move to the front to pull out a thrilling nail-biting 21-20 win over the home-standing Indians.

After a defensive battle in the first quarter that saw the scoreboard read 0-0 at the first stop, the Indians jumped out front with 7:06 before the half on a Joey Carter two-yard touchdown run.

The point-after was blocked by the Cyclones and the Indians held a 6-0 lead.

Elizabethton was on task answering back on their ensuing drive thanks in part to a 40-yard pass from quarterback Dalton Mitchell to wide receiver Luke Whaley that set the Cyclones up on the one-yard line.

From there, Mitchell called his own number to pull the game even at 6-6 until Sean Smithdeal booted the point-after to give Elizabethton the 7-6 lead with 4:23 left to play before the intermission.

The Indians weren’t done in the half as 6’6″ sophomore quarterback Jake Carson found Hayden Russell on a 28-yard scoring toss to help D-B retake the lead 12-7 after the two-point conversion failed.

That would be the score as both teams headed to the locker room to have a pow-wow about the final 20 minutes of action.

After the Indians looked primed to extend their lead maintaining the ball for the first six minutes of the third quarter, the Cyclones got a huge lift when defensive end Bryson Davis took advantage of a huge pass rush by his teammates and picked off Carson’s pass and rumbled 75 yards to pay dirt to give the Cyclones a 14-12 lead after the PAT was no good.

Dobyns-Bennett responded quickly less than two minutes later when Carson hit wide receiver Matthew Gilliam on a 29-yard scoring toss with 2:32 left in the third quarter.

The two-point conversion by Carter was good and the Indians led 20-14.

With the score holding until the horn to end the third quarter, the Cyclones had their back against the wall and needed a score desperately.

They were able to find that score with 3:51 remaining in the contest when Mitchell found Whaley on a three-yard scoring pass. After a five-yard delay of game against the Cyclones, Smithdeal split the uprights to make it 21-20 in favor of the Cyclones.

The Cyclones were able to salt the game away when Teddy Orton picked off a Carson pass on a last-ditch effort to seal the deal for the Cyclones in their 21-20 road win.

“It’s always a tough, tough environment to play in,” said Cyclone head coach Brian Jenkins. “They have a lot of kids and we play each other several times.

“We got out on a good strong start this game. We didn’t start late like we have been. It’s great to see these kids improving week to week.”

The Cyclones were scheduled to play Cherokee but after the Chiefs canceled, the Indians were next up and agreed to play.