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Coming alive in Death Valley… EHS junior varsity take OT victory with a last-seconds rally in regulation, 13-7

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
KINGSPORT – Maybe it’s just the fact that over the years of covering any level of Cyclone football that too many games have been thought to be over with only to see the Cyclones to come roaring back and rip victory out of the teeth of defeat.

Add another one of those to the list as the Sullivan South saw a nightmarish finish much worse than Jason from Friday the 13th or Freddie Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street as Elizabethton made an outstanding defensive stand on South to get the ball back with a few ticks over two minutes and found the end zone with 16.9 seconds remaining in the game to force overtime where they took care of business to win 13-7.

The game was a defensive brawl from both teams as the Cyclones made no less than five drives into the red zone only to fumble away two opportunities to score early and the Rebel defense rose up to thwart the Cyclones from getting first downs on fourth down attempts.

Meanwhile, after the Cyclones allowed the Rebels to score on a two-yard plunge by Kaleb McClain with 6:48 remaining in the first half and the point-after attempt by Kayden Puck was good to give South a 7-0 advantage that the Rebels held onto for most of the contest.

But just like in times past, Elizabethton was down but not out as after being ineffective for about 38 minutes of the game, the Cyclones arose from the dead over the last two minutes into overtime to earn the win.

The Cyclones tied the game with under 17 seconds when quarterback Dalton Mitchell threw a five-yard scoring toss to Teddy Orton who made a diving catch and worked his hands underneath the ball as it was going toward the turf to register the score.

With the all-important extra point needed to give the Cyclones a chance to force overtime, Sean Smithdeal booted the ball straight and true to even the game at 7-7.

South had a couple of plays remaining but the Cyclones seized the opportunity to force the overtime period.

Elizabethton won the toss and took defense first in overtime where the Rebels drove to the two-yard line but a holding penalty moved the football back and the Cyclones bowed their necks to shut down the Rebels attack and force a field goal attempt by Puck was way short to give the ball to the Cyclones.

The Cyclones took advantage of their opportunity as Mitchell rolled out to pass but saw an open lane toward the end zone and took full advantage of it to score the winning score and give his team the victory.

“We had two drives of around five minutes and got no points out of it,” said head coach Brian Jenkins of Elizabethton. “We kept shooting ourselves in the foot as we took two or three steps forward and then take 10 steps back – it was nobody’s fault but our own just making uncharacteristic plays that we just don’t make.

“It was a great job of executing the two-minute drill because we didn’t have any timeouts left. We went 60 yards in two minutes and scored. I am proud of the way Dalton led the offense. He took command of the offense and led us down the field.

“We bent but we really didn’t break on defense. I am proud of them because they come to play every week.”