Cyclones set to entertain Carter Hornets for first round action

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2021

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The road to Chattanooga starts in earnest on Friday night for the two-time defending state champion Elizabethton Cyclones when they play host to the Knox Carter Hornets in the first round of the Class 4-A playoffs.

Kickoff for the contest is 7 p.m. which is 30 minutes earlier than regular-season games.

The Hornets come into the contest as the three-seed out of Region 2 with a 7-4 overall record. The only common opponent each team played was Anderson County with the Hornets falling 48-14 to the Mustangs while the Cyclones defeated Anderson Co. 27-7.

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Elizabethton head coach Shawn Witten knows that looking at schedules can get you in trouble, especially with a team like Carter.

“They played a pretty good schedule,” Witten said. “When they dropped down from 5-A to 4-A they kept a lot of those 5-A opponents in Walker Valley, Sevier County and those region two teams.

“They are somewhat of a young team. The head coach is in his second year while the quarterback and receivers are juniors. It’s going to be a team on the rise.”

The Cyclones have the opportunity to once again play a new team they haven’t played before and again Witten loves the challenge of preparing for a team such as the Hornets.

“I think its always exciting when you play new teams,” Witten said. “It’s a challenge almost like a puzzle where you try to figure out everything you can about them.

“They get a lot of people involved and throw the ball around. They had like four or five receivers that had 30 catches or more.”

The Cyclones are used to being in this position and they relish the opportunity as they look to carry the season forward to another state championship appearance.

It will be the same equation that this team has utilized in their last 39 games where the Cyclones have racked up a 38-1 record during that timeframe.

“It’s about getting off to a good start and tackling well while limiting penalties and not dropping passes and the little things,” Witten shared.