Cyclones use passing game to steamroll Grainger on the road

Published 12:29 am Saturday, September 18, 2021

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
nic.miller@elizabethton.com

After a thrilling win by a score of 20-13 for the Elizabethton Cyclones on homecoming last weekend, Betsy was back in action this week, traveling an hour and a half to take on the Grainger Grizzlies.

The Cyclones started the game off with a bang, as after an excellent punt return by Jake Roberts would take the ball inside Grizzly territory to the 32-yard line, Elizabethton’s first play from scrimmage would result in a touchdown after Bryson Rollins found Nate Stephens for a 32-yard passing touchdown.

The Sean Smithdeal kick would tack on one more, making it a 7-0 contest early.

Elizabethton would keep things rolling on their next possession, with the second drive also starting inside of enemy territory at the 49-yard line.

It was a drive that was highlighted by an amazing effort by Rollins to make something out of nothing and scrambling away from defenders finding Cade Russell for a gain of 49 down to the two-yard line.

Russell would cap off the drive on the next play, scampering across the goal line to give the Cyclones a 14-0 lead just over halfway through the first.

The next 12 minutes of play were relatively quiet, with neither squad being able to score for near the length of a whole quarter.

However, the Cyclones would strike once more with six minutes to go before the half when they would take over on the cusp of the red zone at the 25-yard line.

This drive would take two plays and would be concluded with a strike from Rollins that would find Roberts to make it 21-0 in favor of the team from Elizabethton.

And just when the Grizzlies had something going on offense, a poorly thrown pass would be intercepted by Elizabethton’s Teddy Orton who would bring the pigskin to the 30.

After taking over, the Cyclones would need four minutes to score, finishing Grainger off once more with another Russell score, this one from four yards out.

The Grizzlies offense would spiral out of control soon after the score, throwing their second pick of the night that would be intercepted by the Cyclones’ Mason Ball.

This change of pace would be followed by another one-play drive and another score for Elizabethton – a 43-yard connection from Rollins to Roberts to begin the running clock for the next half and give Betsy a 35-0 lead at the break.

Elizabethton would start the final half just as they had started the contest, quickly and effectively, as Rollins would find Stephens once more for a 19-yard score to give the Cyclones a sizable advantage, 42-0 early in the third.

Adding on six more not long after, Roberts crossed the goal line once more in the third stanza after using his agility to juke and jive for a 50-yard punt return touchdown to essentially put the nail in the coffin midway through the third, 49-0.

Elizabethton tacked on their eighth score of the night just before the final period, when running back Kaleb Holzer would fight his way into the end zone to give Betsy a 56-0 advantage, the score that would finish off the night.

In the win, Rollins finished the night with a 15 for 25 line, throwing for an immaculate 273 yards and four touchdowns.

Stephens finished the night with 68 receiving yards and two touchdowns, while Roberts finished just under 100 with 94 yards and three touchdowns, one of those coming on special teams with the punt return touchdown.

Elizabethton will be back at home at Citizens Bank Stadium next Friday against the Mavericks of Anderson County.