Cyclone defensive secondary shines in win over East
Published 11:20 am Tuesday, September 26, 2023
BLUFF CITY – The Region 1 Class 4-A contest between Elizabethton and Sullivan East was hyped to be whether the Cyclone secondary could do something that no other team on the Patriots schedule had done to date and that was to shut down East quarterback Drake Fisher who was averaging 300 yards per game through the air.
Elizabethton showed up in a big way defensively as Coach Shawn Witten’s team held the Patriot senior to a paltry 13-of-33 passing for only 94 yards while picking off three passes in a 47-0 thrashing of Sullivan East.
It was like the Cyclone secondary was in the play calling of the Patriots as Elizabethton frustrated Fisher, catching almost as many passers as his teammates in the stellar defensive effort.
While the Patriots stuggled, the Cyclones were hitting every gear as they would build a 33-0 halftime lead and cruised to the victory,.
Cyclone quarterback Rhett Slagle took the spotlight away from Fisher as the sophomore gunslinger racked up 246 yards through the air on 14-of-17 passing and connecting for four touchdowns.
“The faster we go, it just seems that Rhett goes and plays better working in the two-minute drill,” said Witten. “He really loosens up and trusts his instincts. He has a big-time as evidenced by him throwing that football 48 yards in the air and finding Eli Blevins in the corner of the end zone. It’s one of his strengths.”
Jeriah Griffin and Blevins each caught a pair of touchdowns on the evening as Griffin caught scoring passes of five and 33 yards while Blevins hauled in two long passes of 48 and 37 yards,
Blevins had the catch of the night going upright as the first half ended to pull down the 48-yard bomb from Slagle. Blevins finished with 130 yards receiving in the game.
Griffin also added a rushing touchdown covering nine yards.
Elizabethton’s ground threat came in the form of powder keg running back Zeth Mullins who broke off a scintillating 64-yard scamper at the 6:44 mark of the second quarter while also adding the final score of the night on a 25-yard run with 9:04 left in the contest. The senior runner finished with 112 yards on the ground.
Freshman Will Bowers converted on 5-of-6 point-after attempts in the contest.
Cam Baker, Griffin, and Zach Wallin were responsible for the defensive interceptions. Mullins and Slagle added fumble recoveries while Ben Adams blocked a punt on special teams.
“We had a lot of different routes to cover and I thought Zach’s interception was phenomenal,” said Witten. “It was just great work since we haven’t been really tested.”
The Cyclones will travel to Kingsport on Friday night for their first regular season contest against the Indians in 15 years.
Kickoff will be at 7 pm.
ELIZABETHTON 7 26 7 7 — 47
SULLIVAN EAST 0 0 0 0 — 0
E — Jeriah Griffin 9 run (Bowers kick), 6:00
E — Jeriah Griffin 5 pass from Rhett Slagle (Bowers kick), 11:49
E — Zeth Mullins 64 run (kick failed), 6:44
E — Jeriah Griffin 33 pass from Slagle (Bowers kick), 4:04
E — Eli Blevins 48 pass from Slagle (pass failed), 0:00
E — Eli Blevins 37 pass from Slagle (Bowers kick), 06:08
E — Mullins 25 run (Bowers kick) 9:04
FIRST DOWNS 12 5
PASSING (C-A-I) 15-16-1 13-33-3
PASSING YARDS 248 94
RUSHES-YARDS 23-197 9-(-)1
TOTAL YARDS 445 93
FUMBLES-LOST 2-1 1-1
PUNTS-AVG. 1-31 4-31
PENALTIES-YARDS 13-115 7-70
PASSING—EHS: Slagle 14-17-1 246 yds 4 TD, Whitehead 1-3-0 2 yds; SEHS: Fisher 13-33-3 94 yds.
RUSHING— EHS: Mullins 8-112, 2 TD, Baker 5-62, Holzer 5-14, McDuffie 2-15, Slagle 2-(-)17, Griffin 1-11 TD; SEHS: Smithpeters 3-5, Key 2-6, Fisher 1-1, Roberts 1-0, Jones 1-0, Team 1-(-)13.
RECEIVING— EHS: Griffin 6-93, 2 TD, Blevins 5-130 TD, Ball 2-19, Whitehead 1-4, Riddle 1-2; SEHS: Smithpeters 4-29, Laisure 3-34, Roberts 2-12, Proffitt 2-4, Cross 1-11, Ringley 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS — EHS: Baker, Griffin, Z. Wallin; SEHS: Laisure.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES — EHS: Mullins, Slagle; SEHS: Cross.
BLOCKED KICKS — EHS: Adams.