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Hard work paying huge dividends… Jr. Cyclones remain unbeaten on road at Vance

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
BRISTOL – Being a part of Cyclone football requires the same work ethic from the Jr. Cyclone feeder program to the middle school and then on to the high school ranks.

That hard work is paying off in a big way at T.A. Dugger where the Jr. Cyclones turned one of their hardest practices on Tuesday to a resounding win on the road Wednesday when the Jr. Cyclones turned the Jr. Vikings of Bristol every which way but loose in winning 35-6 to stay unblemished at 5-0.

With the Jr. Cyclone JV team registering a 44-6 victory, the TAD football program now is 9-0 overall on the 2021 season.

The Jr. Cyclones got rolling early in Wednesday’s game as a steady diet of hard-nosed running set TAD up nicely at the Jr. Viking 12-yard line where quarterback Rhett Slagle got in behind his bruising running back Jaiden Wallin and romped to pay dirt for a 6-0 lead.

William Bowers blasted the football through the uprights and TAD led 7-0 with 3:57 showing on the first-quarter clock.

It wasn’t long until the Jr. Cyclone defense got the ball back as Justin Whitehead stepped in front of a Jr. Viking pass to send the offense back on the field.

Once again, it didn’t take long for the offense to tack on another score as Wallin steamrolled over would-be Vance tacklers for a 12-yard scoring run with 38 seconds left in the quarter.

The two-point conversion by Slagle was good and at the end of the first quarter, the Jr. Cyclones led 15-0.

After Vance responded with an eight-yard scoring run and a failed two-point conversion, the Jr. Cyclones were ready to keep adding to their tally.

Slagle used his legs once again as the quarterback rolled out and by all Jr. Viking defenders on his way to a 31-yard scoring run with 4:21 left before the half.

Bowers boot proved true and the scoreboard read 22-6 in favor of TAD.

Just like they did in the opening quarter, the Jr. Cyclones were able to add another score with 57 ticks on the clock before the halftime horn.

Wallin picked up his second scoring run of the contest as the ‘J-Train’ rumbled into the endzone on a seven-yard gallop.

The extra-point attempt was blocked and the Jr. Cyclones took a 28-6 lead to the locker room at the intermission.

TAD added their final score of the contest in the fourth quarter.

It was Slagle once again as the speedy quarterback weaved his way across the goal line from 65 yards out with 12 seconds off the clock in the quarter.

Bowers split the uprights and the scoreboard read 35-6 Jr. Cyclones.

Both teams substituted freely from that point and the Jr. Cyclones continued to play stellar defense to percent any further Jr. Viking scores.

Jr. Cyclone head coach Brock Pittman said the victory came from the assistant coaches doing their job in practice and during the game to overcome what Vance was trying to showcase.

“The coaches did a great job of getting them ready and making adjustments when we needed to make them on defense,” said Pittman. “Vance has a good football team and they gave us some trouble defensively and we figured it out and stopped the bleeding and that’s what it’s all about.

“We seem to be getting better and it’s always good to go on the road at a place like this and win a football game. I am proud of the kids – they have earned it and have prepared.”

The Jr. Cyclones will be at home for two games next week as they host Union, Virginia on Monday and then welcome Boone on Thursday.