An opportunity to share… Jr. Cyclone Camp brings together present and future

Published 4:59 pm Friday, July 23, 2021

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It was a rather warm evening at Citizens Bank Stadium as sweat and red faces dotted the teams of the Jr. Cyclone football club but that really didn’t matter on this night.

What mattered was they were on the same field with the back-to-back state champion Elizabethton Cyclone players who they one day look to emulate when their time comes to attend Elizabethton High School.

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Running through the same stations as the high school team, the young players were giving everything they had to impress their older counterparts.

Meanwhile, the faces of the Cyclone players who were helping those who will one day fill their shoes and uniforms were breaking with pride that they could share some of the things they have learned during their playing career.

For Ryan Witten, the Director of Football for the Jr. Cyclone football club, it is events like this that help to build on the excitement that has reached an all-time high for Cyclone football in the community.

“I think there is excitement in our community right now as football is at its highest point,” Witten shared. “There are people who have paved the way beforehand and obviously it’s now our time to pave the way.

“It’s great to get these kids out here and it’s one positive way to get our kids to give back and let them know the importance of their position in our community as the older guys because at one time they were these younger guys.

“Shawn, Jason, and I grew up like these young kids dreaming of one day being able to run out of the helmet on Friday night. For our community, it’s important that we have a good football team and in turn, it’s a great day for them to come out and enjoy.”

As they say, numbers don’t lie and with the Jr. Cyclone Football Club taking a different direction after the Elizabethton-Carter County Boys and Girls Club handed the reins over to the club, the turnout at the camp was proof that football truly is loved by many that refer to themselves as Cyclone Nation.

“The energy has been really good,” Witten added. “The opportunity to be here on the turf. It just goes back to the excitement of the community to watch a good football team.

“The number of new players is at an all-time high. To say they will all continue to play is impossible but just the fact they are playing one time to see if the game is for them is very important.”

The camp was a two-day event wrapping up on Friday evening at Citizen’s Bank Stadium.