State playoffs have brought community together

Published 11:15 pm Thursday, December 2, 2021

It is an amazing thing to look around and see how a game has drawn our communities together especially within the last two weeks where everyone in the county has been united under theĀ  Highlander, Bulldog, and Cyclone logos as these three county teams battled to earn a shot to the state playoffs.
During the Elizabethton game against Upperman last week, as the scores were announced the Cyclone fans let out a roar when they heard that Hampton and Cloudland were in the lead and sighed when they trailed.
It is a sign that the communities are actually a lot closer than what they want to admit and a positive sign going forward for the county as a whole.
Unfortunately, the Highlanders came up just shy of qualifying for Chattanooga but man what a statement they made by standing toe to toe with one of the premier playoff teams in the state in South Pittsburg.
I’m sure a lot of jaws dropped when they heard the final score as they couldn’t imagine little old Cloudland from Roan Mountain pushing one of the top rated Class 1-A team throughout the year to the brink of a championship appearance.
But that is exactly what head coach Zac Benfield’s squad did as they gave everything they had to earn that elusive state championship trip.
Kudos to the Highlanders on a fantastic season and for bringing the magic back to Roan Mountain once again.
Hampton is heading to the ‘Big Show’ for the first time in program history after an amazing fourth quarter rally over Trousdale Co., another upper echelon team in the state, to win by a mear two points, 22-20.
Once their reservation was made to butt heads with Westview, the Bulldogs were in need of help financially to make the trip happen and it seemed the whole community came to their aide including Cyclone fans and businesses who wanted to make sure that Hampton could enjoy the full atmosphere of what a state championship is like including being able to take a charter for the band, cheerleaders, and football team.
That is what it means to be a community and a family working in collaboration to support each other as a community and a family. Hopefully local governments can take a play out of this playbook going forth as well.
And lastly, the Cyclones will be looking to do what no other Northeast Tennessee team has done and that is to win three consecutive state titles in football and only the sixth team in the state to do so.
Cyclone Nation is always revved and ready for this time of year and this year is no different.
Look for the Cyclones and Bulldogs to unite on Saturday at Finley Stadium as each will be cheering the other on as Carter County is looking to make a little history of its own with two state champions in two classifications.
Once the two teams take care of business on Saturday, the whole community needs to come to downtown Elizabethton next week and have one of the biggest Christmas parades ever to celebrate the two as state champions along with honoring the Highlanders for their tremendous effort.
Go Cyclones! Go Bulldogs! Bring home those gold championship balls!

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