Star Sports Top 10 of 2021

Published 4:27 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com

There were many memorable memories in sports in Carter County in 2021 and as the year comes to a close and 2022 is within sight, Star Sports presents the Top 10 sports memories for 2021 counting down from #10 to #1.

#10 Johnson, Moore, and Cochran earn All-State in track.
Three local athletes, Elizabethton’s Conner Johnson and Happy Valley’s Marcida Moore and Cameron Cochran had All-State performances at the 2021 TSSAA Track and Field Competition held at Rockvale High School in Murfreesboro.
Johnson broke a 32-year-old Cyclone record throwing the shot put and finishing with a fourth-place finish with a toss of 53-4.50. Moore collected her All-State honor by finishing in eighth-place in the girls’ 100m Hurdles with a time of 17.76.
A heave of 114-09 by Cochran in the Boy’s Discus event was good for a seventh-place finish and All-State honors for the Happy Valley athlete.

#9 Lady Cyclone soccer earn sectional bid at Gibbs.
2021 proved the proverbial saying “Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched” for the Elizabethton Lady Cyclone soccer team as Coach Bill McClay’s team wasn’t suppose to make it past the Tennessee High Lady Vikings in the district tournament but did and went on to the regional final against Greeneville. A loss to the Lady Greene Devils sent the Lady Cyclones on the road to Knox Gibbs where a win would qualify the team for a state appearance.
The sectional game was a battle as it took two overtimes to final settle the match with Gibbs taking a narrow 2-1 win.

#8 River Riders complete first season in Elizabethton.
After Major League Baseball decided to pull the plug on several minor league organizations including the Twins in Elizabethton, Boyd Sports who operated the Twins put together a league featuring freshmen and sophomore college baseball players allowing for scouts to see the talent up close. The River Riders played competitive baseball and drew local fans to the ball park to continue enjoying baseball in the summer at Northeast Community Credit Union Ball Park.

#7 Brandon Carpenter takes over girls’ basketball team at Hampton.
When Bud Hazelwood retired after the 2020-2021 girls’ basketball season, Hampton Principal Jeff Bradley and Athletic Director Dewayne Humphrey handed the reins of the team over to Brandon Carpenter who had been away from the basketball scene for a few years after coaching at Cloudland High School. The Hampton Elementary Principal was excited to return and currently has the Lady Bulldogs playing at a high level in the 2021-2022 season.

#6 Elizabethton boy’s golf team captures District 1 golf title.
The Elizabethton boy’s golf team had an ultra successful golf season as the team captured the 2021 District 1 golf championship over teams such as Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett, and other highly competitive teams from the area. Caleb Tipton qualified as an individual to the 2021 TSSAA Golf Championship in Pigeon Forge as well.

#5 T.A. Dugger goes undefeated in 2021 football season.
The T.A. Dugger Jr. Cyclone football team finished a tough season by sporting a perfect, unbeaten record during the 2021 football season. The feat included two wins over Greeneville and a very tough regular-season finale against Ross Robinson which was played at Dobyns-Bennett.

#4 Deuce Morton captures third consecutive state title in wrestling.
Jonathan “Deuce” Morton completed his high school career at the 2021 TSSAA State Wrestling meet by capturing his third straight state title with his final title coming in the 220-pound division. Morton added two more state titles as a member of the Cyclone football team. He has since moved on to the University of Pikeville where he was recognized as the Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.

#3 Cloudland girls return to state after tough sectional win at Oneida.
The Cloudland High School Lady Highlanders made a return to the state Class 1-A State Championship after the tournament had been put on hold due to COVID-19. To get there, the Lady ‘Landers had to go on the road to square off with a tough Oneida Lady Indian team on their home court. After trailing for most of the game, the Lady ‘Landers rallied down the stretch to take the win and advance to the Murphy Center.
In the opening game, the Lady ‘Landers had a tough draw in Loretto who defeated the team from Roan Mountain on their way to a state championship.

#2 Three teams from Carter County advance to the 2021 BlueCross Bowl state semifinals in Class 1-A, Class 2-A, and Class 4-A.
Three football teams from Carter County made history in 2021 when Cloudland, Hampton, and Elizabethton all advanced to the semifinals of the 2021 BlueCross Bowl State Championships. Cloudland achieved the feat in Class 1-A where they played host to perennial power South Pittsburg. Having the lead through much of the game, the Highlanders couldn’t hold off the visitors from the Chattanooga area and were defeated. South Pitt went on to win the state championship.
Hampton defeated Trousdale County after a 14-point rally in the fourth while Elizabethton defeated Upperman to advance.

#1 Elizabethton and Hampton earn 2021 BlueCross Bowl State football championship bids.
Elizabethton and Hampton represented Carter County at the 2021 BlueCross Bowl State football championship in Chattanooga. The Cyclones battled a tough Tullahoma team as the game went double overtime before the Wildcats won the title leaving the Cyclones within inches of claiming their third straight title. Hampton faced off against Westview as the Bulldogs played in their first-ever state football championship. The boys from Hampton battled hard the entire contest but couldn’t keep up with Westview in the second half having to settle for the Class 2-A state runner-up trophy.