Liberty Bell poses no threat to Jr. Cyclones unbeaten season

Published 11:31 am Friday, September 22, 2023

STAR CORRESPONDENT

The Patriots of Liberty Bell found out quickly what five other teams before them had learned about the T.A. Dugger Jr. Cyclones – they are one well-oiled machine.

Building a 22-0 lead by the half, the Jr. Cyclones added two more second-half scores to send the Jr. Patriots packing back to Johnson City with a 38-0 whipping as TAD ran their season record to 6-0 with two more regular-season games left to play.

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The junior varsity also maintained an unblemished record but they had to work every snap of the contest to walk away with an 8-0 win following the varsity contest.

With a large crowd of Jr. Cyclone fans in attendance along with the TAD band, the quick-strike offense was back at it early as quarterback Brycen Blevins found Ryan Jones on a 28-yard scoring pass to stake the home team to a 6-0 lead with 5:04 left in the first quarter. The two-point conversion failed.

After taking the football to midfield, the Patriots stalled out and, facing a fourth down play, elected to go for the first down. It would be no dice for the visitors as Jacob Clevinger kept an eye on the Patriot quarterback and made a huge sack to get the football back in the hands of the Jr. Cyclone offense.

The strong defensive play led to another Jr. Cyclone score just 1:04 into the second quarter when Legend Pate broke off a 15-yard scoring scramble. Pate also finished off the two-point conversion as TAD’s lead now was 14-0.

TAD got a big break just before the half with 45 seconds left on the clock when Aldo Cordell hustled down the field on a Jr. Cyclone punt and recovered a fumble by the Patriot return man on the 20-yard line of Liberty Bell.

Cordell was rewarded for his hustle a couple of plays later when Blevins found Cordell on a 13-yard scoring toss. Pate made good on the two-point conversion and the Jr. Cyclones took a 22-0 lead to the break.

Coming out of the break, the Jr. Cyclones were once again set up by a Cordell recovered fumble on a punt at the Patriot 15-yard line. After a run play for short yardage, Blevins connected on his second touchdown pass of the contest to Jones with Pate’s conversion, making it a 30-0 ball game and bringing on a running clock.

Jones closed out the night’s scoring when he plucked a Patriot pass out of the air and returned it 30 yards for a pick-six. Nolan Loveday received a lineman’s dream when he was called on to convert the two-point conversion and did so with ease to make it a 38-0 contest as the clock finally wound down to a Jr. Cyclone win.

“It was a great win at home and I am really proud of the way we played and how hard we played,” said head coach Brock Pittman. “Our crowd was huge and brought a lot of energy to the stadium.”

The Jr. Cyclones will be on the road next Thursday when they travel to Greeneville Middle, who is also unbeaten on the season, with the winner the front-runner for the conference title.

Varsity action kicks off at 5:30 p.m.

*Special Donation

The Jr. Cyclone family proved that football is not just about winning and losing as they showed their support for the family of Greeneville seventh-grade student and football player Kaden Gunter who suffered a medical emergency after practice on Tuesday.

Gunter was administered aid by the Greeneville coaching staff and is currently in the Vanderbilt Hospital, where he was transported on Wednesday in critical but stable condition.

During Thursday night’s game, donations were collected at the gate as game attendees placed money in baskets for the Gunter family to help with medical expenses. A total of $895.48 was received and will be given to the family.