Jr. Cyclones hang 58 points on board during Eighth-grade Night

Published 1:02 am Friday, September 24, 2021

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com 
It was a night that won’t be forgotten for the 2021 T.A. Dugger Jr. Cyclone football team eighth-graders as they put on a show in front of their parents and friends by defeating the visiting Crockett Pioneers 58-0 at Citizens Bank Stadium.

The Jr. Cyclones capitalized on every possession they had except one just as the first half ended.

Rhett Slagle got the Jr. Cyclones rolling quickly as he sprinted into the end zone from nine yards out to give TAD the 8-0 lead after Jaiden Wallin took care of the two-point conversion.

Jack Blevins stepped in front of a Crockett pass on the ensuing drive at the Jr. Pioneer 40-yard-line and was brought down at the five-yard-line before a penalty backed the Jr. Cyclones up to the 39 of the Jr. Pioneers.

It wouldn’t matter, however, as three plays later Slagle went to the air in connecting with Justin Whitehead on a 15-yard scoring strike to push the lead to 16-0 after Slagle connected with Judge Wallin for the two-point conversion.

Things kept getting worse for the visitors from Jonesborough as Whitehead pounced on a Jr. Pioneer fumble at the Crockett 32-yard line with 54 seconds left on the first-quarter clock.

On the second play from scrimmage after the recovery, Slagle slipped around the left end and outran the defense on a 30-yard touchdown with five seconds remaining in the opening quarter. William Bowers booted the point-after to extend the lead to 23-0 going into the second quarter.

The Jr. Cyclone defense continued to play lights out as Bryson Lloyd came up with a loose football on the ensuing drive for Crockett at the Jr. Pioneer 24-yard line.

It took only one play for the Jr. Cyclones to hit pay dirt once again as Jaiden Wallin bulled his way in on the 24-yard scramble from the line of scrimmage for a 30-0 lead early in the second quarter.

After another three and out by the defensive unit, TAD took over on the Crockett 38 with 6:03 remaining before the half.

Using a 23-yard completion from Slagle to Riley Jones to move the football to the 15, Slagle went to the air once again finding Jackson Buckles for a 10-yard scoring strike to extend the Jr. Cyclone edge to 37-0 with 5:39 still remaining on the clock before the break.

Tucker Taylor stepped in front of a Crockett pass in the ensuing possession to give the dangerous Jr. Cyclone offense one more try at the end zone.  Once again, it was Slagle to Whitehead on a four-yard scoring toss that took the score to 44-0 on Bowers PAT.

That was the way the half would come to an end as the Jr. Cyclones had a commanding 44-0 lead after the first 16 minutes of play.

With a running clock to start the second half, the Jr. Cyclones continued to add to their commanding lead with 4:35 showing on the third quarter clock as Judge Wallin crashed over from the two-yard line.

Bowers continued his good work by converting the PAT to give TAD the 51-0 lead.

Topping things off was Brock Shelby who burst up the middle on a four-yard run with 1:14 left to play in the game to give the game its final margin of victory after Bowers kick made it 58-0 to keep the Jr. Cyclones unbeaten on the season.

“We have allowed only two scores all year on defense and that was because we made mistakes of where we should have been,” said Jr. Cyclone head coach Brock Pittman. “This game should also help us lower our yards per game as coming in we were under 100 yards per game.”

The Jr. Cyclones travel to Kingsport Tuesday to take on Robinson at Dobyns-Bennett. A win would secure the conference championship for TAD.