Cyclones ground Golden Eagles on Senior Night
Published 12:33 am Saturday, October 9, 2021
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
Not even a pre-game monsoon could keep the 2021 Cyclone senior football players from taking the turf at Citizens Bank Stadium for the last regular season contest in their career as Elizabethton welcomed the Rhea County Golden Eagles to town on a rain-soaked Friday night for football.
The group of seniors took time to be recognized along with their families before going straight to work on the opening kickoff to stake themselves to a 7-0 lead after senior quarterback Bryson Rollins scampered into the endzone from four yards out for the score.
Sean Smithdeal split the uprights on the point-after attempt.
The Cyclone defense had heard much about the wing-T offense ran by Rhea County but they didn’t let that affect their play as the defense rose to the occasion throughout the contest.
After one such series, the Cyclones were back to work as junior running back Cade Russell bolted across the goal line from the 30-yard line to extend the score to 13-0 after Smithdeal’s PAT was blocked.
Elizabethton kept rolling in the second quarter as Rollins added his second rushing score on a three-yard run with just under three minutes off the clock. Smithdeal booted the PAT and the Cyclones built their lead to 20-0.
Rhea County finally made their presence known offensively when quarterback Kaleb Martin scored from 32 yards out. It initially looked like Martin was stopped but he kept his feet churning and rolled off a pile at the line of scrimmage around the right side and down the field for the score.
Cole Ruehling’s kick was good and the Golden Eagles trimmed the score to 20-7 in favor of the Cyclones.
The Cyclones answered right back just before the half as Rollins took a quarterback keeper five yards for his third score of the contest with 38 seconds to play in the half.
Smithdeal’s PAT was true and the score at the half was 27-7 Cyclones.
The Golden Eagles would find pay dirt in the third quarter as Ethan Davis plowed into the endzone on a two-yard run. Ruehling converted the PAT and the scoreboard now read 27-14 in favor of the Cyclones.
Elizabethton responded with a score nine seconds into the fourth quarter when Rollins found fellow senior wideout Jake Roberts along the Cyclone sideline for a 43-yard scoring strike. Smithdeal’s kick made it 34-14 Elizabethton.
Rhea County still had some fight left in them as they added one more score to their side of the board with 7:18 remaining to play when Briley Mayberry plunged in from the two-yard line. Reuhling’s kick was down the middle and the updated scoreboard showed the Cyclones on top 34-21.
Rollins capped the game off when he found paydirt with 1:15 remaining to play. Smithdeal’s kick was good to give the final score of the game, 41-21 Cyclones.
Rollins had 21 carries for 147 yards and the four scores while Russell accounted for 11 carries and 91 yards with the rushing touchdown. Roberts pulled in two receptions for 52 yards and a score.
Defensively, Bradley Cannon registered a sack while Dalton Mitchell reeled in an interception.
Elizabethton will be back in action next week at Volunteer.
RHEA COUNTY 0 7 7 7 — 21
ELIZABETHTON 13 14 0 14 — 41
E — Rollins 4 run (Smithdeal kick), 10:35
E — Russell 30 run (kick blocked), 5:22
E — Rollins 3 run (Smithdeal kick), 9:13
RC —Martin 32 run (Ruehling kick), 4:26
E — Rollins 5 run (Smithdeal kick), 0:38
RC — Davis 2 run (Ruehling kick), 1:30
E — Roberts 43 pass from Rollins (Smithdeal kick), 11:51
RC — Mayberry 2 run (Ruehling kick), 7:18
E — Rollins 2 run (Smithdeal kick), 1:15
FIRST DOWNS 11 14
PASSING (C-A-I) 0-4-1 2-4-2
PASSING YARDS 0 52
RUSHES-YARDS 52-274 36-264
TOTAL YARDS 274 316
FUMBLES-LOST 1-0 0-0
PUNTS-AVG. 3-29 0-0
PENALTIES-YARDS 10-88 3-15
PASSING—RC: Martin 0-4-1 0 yds; EHS: Rollins 2-4-2 52 yds TD.
RUSHING—RC: Davis 29-138 TD, Mayberry, 12-89 TD, Martin 7-29 TD, Crowe 3-4, O’Dell 1-14; EHS: Rollins 21-147 4 TD, Russell 11-91 TD, Stephens 4-26.
RECEIVING—EHS: Roberts 2-52 TD.
INTERCEPTIONS—RC: Pankey, Dupree; EHS: Mitchell.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES—RC: Martin.