Cyclones rope Mavericks for 27-7 win
Published 12:25 am Saturday, September 25, 2021
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
The Elizabethton Cyclones haven’t been able to shake the bad taste out of their mouths for two playoff losses they suffered on the road before they went on the two state championship runs but Friday night at Citizens Bank Stadium they were at least able to gain some measure of revenge when Anderson County paid a visit to the Cyclones home turf.
Riding a 20-0 first-half advantage to the locker room, the Cyclones managed to lasso the Mavericks down the stretch to take a 27-7 victory that could have been a whole lot worse minus key penalties that Elizabethton was whistled on.
The opening half
The Cyclones took the opening kickoff and didn’t waste time on the initial drive as Bryson Rollins connected with Jake Roberts on a 70-yard bomb that cracked the egg on the scoreboard just 1:16 into the contest.
Playing with inspiration, the Cyclone defense stood their ground against the potent Anderson County attack to pitch a shutout in the opening 24 minutes of the contest.
Elizabethton continued to press the Maverick defense taking several shots to the end zone that were either out of reach of receivers or thrown with just a little bit too much mustard by senior quarterback Bryson Rollins leading his receivers out of bounds.
While Rollins may not have been connecting with his arm, he certainly had no problem using his feet as he scrambled for a 30-yard run 48 seconds before the half as Sean Smithdeal taking care of the point-after attempt.
The Cyclones got a gift just a play or two later when the Mavericks mishandled a snap and the Cyclones recovered with still time remaining in the first half.
Rollins took care of business when he rambled across the goal line into pay-dirt with 10 seconds showing to play in the half. Smithdeal’s kick was no good and the Cyclones took the halftime lead at 20-0.
Mavericks adjust at the half
Coming out of the locker room, Anderson County made some changes that resulted in the offense taking the opening kickoff and running almost six minutes off the game clock until Nick Moog got the Mavericks on the scoreboard with a seven-yard run.
Chris Nelson’s PAT just barely cleared the crossbar as Anderson County sliced the lead to 20-7.
After the Mavericks came up with an interception of Rollins, the Cyclones stiffened their necks and held on a fourth-down play to get the football back to keep the game from getting closer.
Elizabethton put the game away in the fourth quarter when Cade Russell took a handoff and ran around the end, lowered his shoulder to leave a Maverick defender laying on the ground, and raced 36 yards untouched the rest of the way for a Cyclone touchdown with a little over seven minutes to play in the contest.
Smithdeal booted the PAT and for all intents and purposes, the Cyclones put the game on ice.
By the numbers
Elizabethton outgained the visitors from Anderson County 370 to 202 yards on the night. Rollins finished the night 3-of-13 through the air with one touchdown and one interception.
However, the senior quarterback racked up the numbers on the ground as he carried the ball 22 times for 165 yards and the two Cyclone touchdowns. Roberts had two catches for 83 yards and the score while Teddy Orton caught one pass for 30 yards.
The Cyclones forced two turnovers with Russell coming up with an interception and Drew Turner a fumble recovery.
Both teams had several penalties as the Mavericks were flagged nine times for 95 yards while Elizabethton totaled 14 yellow hankies for 125 yards. The Cyclones held Anderson County to only five yards passing on the night.
The Cyclones will be on the road next week when they travel to Bluff City to tangle with the Sullivan East Patriots.