Hungry and angry, Cyclones invade Sullivan East Friday night

Published 2:02 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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Like a large lion that prances along a fenced in enclosure waiting and watching for its next big piece of prime meat for its feeding time, so have the Elizabethton Cyclones as they have been going back and forth seething from having a game pulled out from under them and wanting to pounce on the next opponent to take out their aggression.
That time will come soon as Friday night, the state’s #3 ranked Cyclones (4-0, 2-0) will invade Bluff City to take on Region 1 Class 4A foe Sullivan East (4-1, 2-0). Kickoff is slated for 7:30 pm.
The last time the Cyclones took the field was two weeks ago as they had to make two trips to Rogersville to square off against another region foe in Cherokee after a weather delay pushed Friday night’s game to a Sunday afternoon. The same storm allowed Boone to wriggle out from playing Elizabethton for its home opener the following Friday night, which hasn’t sat well with Cyclone Nation and particularly the Cyclones, who now will play two more road games before coming home for its first game in Citizens Bank Stadium of the season.
Now, the Cyclones must harness that hunger and anger they have been dealing with and focus on East, a team that is led by one of the state’s best passers in Drake Fisher, who against Grainger Co. in the Patriots last meeting, completed 17-of-28 pass attempts for 298 yards and four scores.
Fisher has 1,769 yards passing on the season already to go along with 20 touchdowns.
“Their team is really fired up,” said Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten. “They have a lot of seniors and a quarterback that has played for three years now averaging 300 yards per game passing. They are off to a really good start. Our guys should really be hungry and thirsty to get back on the field. We have had the chance to get healthy and we should be coming out firing on all cylinders.”
The Cyclones have opened up their season at 4-0 and already having one open week scheduled, could ill-afford to have lost another contest against a quality Class 5-A opponent.
However, that has been the case and now Witten and his team are ready to go back to work.
“I think there is a lot of want-to and we are just excited to get back on the field,” said Witten. “It’s going to be a tough matchup and a tough game because Sullivan East has really improved. It’s something different for our defense to see and it should be a fun night. It’s going to be a great opportunity for our linebackers and secondary and a challenge for our pass rush. They have three receivers that have 30 catches or more and have done a really good job to this point and were really close to being 5-0 having almost beat Tennessee High in a contest that was a one-score game at one point.”
For the Cyclones to be effective, Witten feels that it’s a matter of executing what they have practiced to this point in the season.
“The big thing for us is we have to execute on offense and make every possession count,” Witten said. “We have to take care of the pre-snap and post-snap penalties and we have to make sure we don’t bite on some double-route moves. They do a good job of getting the running backs involved. It’s a good challenge for us. We need a good, tough challenge. We are on the road again and our guys should be fired up. Our offense needs to stay balanced.  Our guys have practiced well – we just need to come out and execute.”

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