A lot at stake in Elizabethton – Greeneville showdown Friday night

Published 1:49 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2022

STAR CORRESPONDENT
Elizabethton head coach Shawn Witten isn’t one for mincing words and didn’t this week as he spoke of his teams need to come to the realization that they failed in getting all three phases of football lined up two weeks ago when they hosted the Science Hill Hilltoppers in The Railroad Rumble and were defeated 17-7.
It doesn’t get any easier this Friday night as the Cyclones travel to Burley Stadium in Greeneville for one of the biggest games on the regular-season calendar as the team  that has typically won this game has won homefield advantage in the playoffs and also won the conference title.
“This is the biggest game on our schedule,” Witten said “It’s a big game and a tough place to play. We have had two weeks to prepare and look at ourselves in the mirror and find a way to bounce back.”
Witten went on to say that it’s not time for hurt feelings among his team as it all comes down to what its going to take to win the football game and put the Cyclones back in the place they are accustomed to being.
“A lot of the focus goes back to us and what we can do,” Witten said. “We weren’t good enough in all three phases of the game to win against Science Hill. We have to be more solid as a unit and that all starts up front at what we have to do in the trenches. We didn’t do a good enough job to win. We didn’t do a good job of protecting the quarterback and establishing a running game. We weren’t physical enough on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
“We have to be a little tougher. This is going to be a four-quarter game – a great battle and a great environment. This game always makes you better and there is a lot at stake for the third week of the season.”
Greeneville comes into the contest as the state’s number one ranked team in Class 4-A after opening the season with a 49-7 spanking of Knox Central following that up with a 35-0 shutout over conference foe Grainger.
“They graduated a lot of guys but they still have weapons,” Witten said. “They have been throwing the ball a lot more than they have and relying on the big-play capability of their receivers. They don’t have the same dynamic kid in the back field that they had in the past couple of years. We have to get off to a great start and build some confidence.”
Witten said Friday night’s game boils down to one thing.
“Our whole demeanor has to change before we step on the field Friday night,” he said.
Kickoff for the game is slated at 7:30 p.m. Cyclone Nation is encouraged to come out in full force for the contest to support their Cyclones.

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