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Cyclones ‘ready to go’ after 2020 washout season

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN

STAR CORRESPONDENT

The Elizabethton Cyclones boys soccer season in 2020 was a complete washout, and that has had an effect on the team this season. They are fired up and ready to take on 2021.

“The seniors we have we are fortunate to have,” Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “They will be my primary defenders as two center backs and my goalkeeper. I have nine juniors, eight sophomores, and nine freshmen so we are pretty spread out across the board.”

The juniors who are likely to start are Clay Copeland, Isaac Hurley, Jacob Williams, Ashton Vest, and Skylar Jenkins, though the situation is in flux and the coaches are still figuring out where each player will maximize his talent.

“I have two sophomores that I am looking at as backups,” McClay said. “It is not etched in stone, if anyone steps up to the challenge I am all about it.

“It isn’t a real pressing thing right now as we are still figuring out things like how our shape will look and where players will figure in, in terms of getting the most out of their talent level.”

Three sophomores that can challenge for a starting position are Hunter Horan, Dawson May, and Sean Smithdeal. Other sophomores include Hayden Culbert, Reece Culler, Gabe Sexton, Nathan Tshuma, and Mason Williams.

Juniors include Colby Barb, Andrew Ferguson, Isaac Norris, and Dawson O’Quinn. The four seniors on the squad are Braden Holly who will start as the left-center back, Holston Howard will be the main striker, Kerry Williams who will also start on the backline and goalkeeper Noah Lambert.

“I am very excited about this season,” Braden Holly said. “I think we are coming together pretty well.

“We are all ready to play considering we lost last season, but I think we are further along than I would have thought. We really push each other in practice and our first four or five games are non-conference so those games will tell the coaches where we are and where we need to be.”

The Cyclones have a class of nine freshmen who will be providing depth and will get playing time as coach McClay likes to get his underclassmen “seasoned” and get used to the speed of the game.

The freshman class includes Jonathan Espinosa, Ian Fong, Nathan Hurley, Tylar Jenkins, Jonathan Odom, Roman Shelby, Riley Vernon, Xavier Smalls, and Luke Whaley.

The Cyclones open March 16 with a home match against Morristown East in a game that should provide a tough early test. Sullivan Central has opted out of this season and the March 28 game against the Cougars in the Eastman Tournament will be filled with an opponent to be determined.

EHS will travel to Cherokee on March 18 with a March 22 non-conference match that will feature Unicoi County with University High coming to Citizens Bank Stadium.

For seniors like Noah Lambert, losing last season makes this one all the more exciting and Lambert is raring to go saying, “I’m excited. It has been a long wait to get going.

“It has been right about a year since we played a match. I think our defense is stacked and I look forward to some clean sheets this season. A couple of shutouts would be nice and I am ready to go.”

EHS Boys Soccer roster 2021

# Player Name Yr.

16 Colby Barb 11

22 Jonathan Odom 9

27 Hayden Culbert 10

6 Dawson O’Quinn 11

26 Reece Culler 10

25 Gabe Sexton 10

28 Jonathan Espinosa 9

29 Xavier Smalls 9

17 Andrew Ferguson 11

7 Sean Smithdeal 10

12 Ian Fong 9

30 Nathan Tshuma 10

8 Braden Holly 12

15 Riley Vernon 9

3 Clay Copeland 11

10 Ashton Vest 11

24 Hunter Horan 10

4 Luke Whaley 9

5 Holston Howard 12

11 Jacob Williams 11

18 Isaac Hurley 11

1 Kerry Williams 12

14 Nathan Hurley 9

23 Mason Williams 10

13 Skylar Jenkins 11

2 Tylar Jenkins 9

9 Noah Lambert 12
21 Dawson May 10

19 Isaac Norris 11

Head Coach – Bill McClay

Assistant Coach – Danny Birkner

EHS 2021 schedule

March

16 – Morristown East 6:30 pm

18 – @Cherokee 6 pm

22 – Unicoi County 6 pm

23 – University High 7 pm JV to follow

26 – (Tournament) Sullivan South, Eastman E 6 pm

27 – (Tournament) Crockett, Eastman E 1 pm

28 – TBD

April

6 – Sullivan South* 6 pm

8 – Cherokee 6 pm

16 – @ University High 7 pm JV to follow

20 – Volunteer 6 pm

22 – @Tennessee High 7 pm JV to follow

23 – JV tournament TBD

24 – JV tournament TBD

27 – @Greenville* 5:30 pm

29 – Jefferson County 6:30 pm

May

4 – Unicoi County* 6 pm

7 – Crockett 6 pm

10-14 – Districts

18, 20, 22 – Region, Sectional