Cyclones take play-in contest by mercy rule

Published 12:38 am Tuesday, May 10, 2022

On Monday evening, the Elizabethton Cyclones scored early and often and posted a 9-nil shutout of the Sullivan East Patriots in the play-in game of the District 1-AA boys soccer tournament.

The Cyclones also celebrated Senior Night on this occasion.

“We lost our senior night due to the storm last week so we had it tonight,” Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “We played really well. The first two goals were one-touch goals and we talked about playing quickly and crosses into the box. In the second half we kind of lost our focus and tried to do things individually.”

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Sophomore Riley Vernon scored a three-goal hat trick in the match and said afterward, “It feels great. We started the season undefeated and then lost four in a row so it’s great to get back to playing well and winning. We have to be aggressive from now on and can’t hold nothing back.”

Vernon’s first tally came in the third minute of action after taking a pass from senior Clay Hopland and two minutes later senior Andrew Ferguson headed a corner kick from Hopland past East goalkeeper Kalem Fox for a 2-nil advantage.

Vernon scored once again in the 20th minute in a scrum in front of the Patriots net and senior Colby Barb connected on a penalty kick in the 22nd minute of action.

Sophomore Nathan Hurley put one past Fox in the 26th minute for a 5-nil halftime lead for EHS (10-4-2 overall).

“We took care of what we had to do and nobody got hurt that I can tell,” McClay said. “We have a tough one coming up with Tennessee High tomorrow. We beat them 1-0 early in the season, so we’ll have to come out and play similarly to today.”

In the 43rd minute Vernon scored his third goal for the hat trick and just two minutes later junior Eli Williams fired a low blast past Fox to make it a 7-0 match.

Williams later scored on a second penalty kick and McClay commented on that goal saying, “Eli really ripped it. If we win tomorrow we get two more so that’s the goal.”

Hopland put the capper on this one with his third assist of the match – this one to Jacob Williams for the final score of 9-nil.

East had just one shot on goal with junior Gavin Patrick firing a free kick from 20-yards out at EHS netminder Mason Williams who handled the shot easily.

Patrick was given a yellow card late in the match and Grant Giles was shown a red card late in the first half. The Cyclones will take on Tennessee High Tuesday at the Stone Castle with game time set for 6 p.m.

The seniors honored were: Clay Hopland, Isaac Hurley, Dawson O’Quinn, Jacob Williams, Andrew Ferguson, Colby Barb, and Skylar Jenkins.

In the three years they played together – minus 2020 which was lost to COVID-19 – this group had 33 wins, 17 losses with six draws. They scored 175 goals and surrendered 73.

Their won-loss record is as follows: 2019 (12-4-1), 2021 (11-7-3) and this season (10-4-2).