Cyclones hungry for first win after 0-2 start

Published 11:12 am Tuesday, September 6, 2022

STAR CORRESPONDENT
There was a buzz in the stands late in Friday’s game against Greeneville about the lack of offensive production from the Cyclones and while many fans are starting to get a little panicked about the Cyclones start, that doesn’t mean that the coaching staff and players aren’t working hard to get the ship turned around.
As a matter of fact, the Cyclone defense has played two outstanding games holding two offensive powerhouses to an average of 19 points per game over two games- more than enough for a team to be able to win a game.
This week, the Cyclones go another senior-led team in the Daniel Boone Trailblazers – a game that will be played at William B. Greene Stadium on the campus of ETSU with a half-hour earlier kickoff at 7 p.m. with tickets available for $10 at the gate or online.
“It’s the next game and Daniel Boone at ETSU gives us another opportunity on a big stage playing against a really good senior-led ball team,” said Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten.  “We have shown a lot of improvement especially in the Greeneville game where we played a lot harder. I think that we had small victories and improved a great deal. Collectively, in all three phases we haven’t done enough to win. We need a win Friday but it isn’t going to come easily.”
The offensive production is something that the Cyclone coaching staff has been blind-sided from especially after their three scrimmages and the jamboree. After two games, the Cyclones have only put up seven points and in last Friday’s game against Greeneville, the offense only recorded a total of 66 yards offense for the game in the 21-0 shutout.
“We had three scrimmages and the jamboree and its something that we never saw coming,” Witten said. “It’s not using different quarterbacks, or not being able to run the football or passing the football, it really and truly is our inconsistency to get the first downs. We haven’t been able to move the football or find something to hang our hats on or have an identity on what they want to do. We have to come up with some creativity and find a way to move the football and hopefully gain our confidence back.”
One shining star so far for the Cyclones is the play of the defense which has been able to play well enough to win especially with the amount of time that the defensive unit has had to spend on the field with the inability of the offense to pick up first downs and move the football.
Led by Eli Williams, Mason Ball, Eli Guess, Landon Hughes, Andrew Blevins, and Bradley Cannon who returned from an injury Friday night, the defense has done yeomen’s work in keeping the score close while waiting for the offense to play catch-up.
“We haven’t been blown out even as much as our defense has been on the field,” said Witten. “It’s a credit to our defense that we played so hard Friday night. Our team flew around the field Friday night. We were making tackles sideline to sideline. We were impressive, we have just got to find ways to score on defense, special teams, and offensively. We need to find ways to create big plays and momentum for our team.”
With the success the Cyclones have achieved in the last three years, fans are starting to get a little edgy about the start the Cyclones are on this season. Witten was questioned on what message he would want to send to the fans at this stage of the season.
“Not everyone is able to see just how hard these guys work,” Witten said. “When you open up against Science Hill and Greeneville, it can go a lot of different ways. You could be 2-0, 1-1, or 0-2. Our football team just don’t get the opportunity to play easy teams. This week is going to be even tougher. Boone’s a great football team.
“The fans need to just continue supporting our team because they deserve it,” said Witten.” When you have won like we have won, a lot of people have patted you on the back, and the ones that have patted you on the back are the ones that are criticizing you. We knew that when we signed up this year but you just have to continue working hard, keep staying disciplined, and the guys are going to have to keep working hard.”

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