Cyclones host Northview Academy for Homecoming 2023

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, October 4, 2023

STAR CORRESPONDENT

In the movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s only route to going back home is to click her slippers and repeat the phrase, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” The Elizabethton Cyclones weren’t clicking slippers when they wrapped up their sixth-straight road win on Friday night over Dobyns-Bennett, but undoubtedly the whole team and coaches finally could breathe a sigh of relief knowing they were going to get to play at Citizens Bank Stadium Friday in their very first home game of the season.

Not only is Friday’s game against visiting Northview Academy the first home game of the season but it will also be Homecoming 2023 with a homecoming parade prior to the game and the crown of the homecoming queen and her court at halftime of the contest as well.

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The Cyclones (6-0, 3-0) have been road warriors all season as they have beaten their first six opponents by scoring a total of 236 points to only 41 for their opposition. They have maintained a third-place ranking in the state for Class 4A, just behind Pearl-Cohn and Upperman, with this week’s ranking still to be unveiled to see if Friday’s win over Dobyns-Bennett might have been enough to propel the Cyclones higher.

Ranking doesn’t matter to head coach Shawn Witten as the only thing being preached right now by the 17-year veteran head coach is to stay consistent, take care of business, and remain at home all the way through the playoffs until the state championship game.

To do that, the Cyclones must win their next three ball games over Northview Academy, Volunteer, and Greeneville to close out the regular season.

Right now, Cyclone Nation could very well begin wearing their ‘I Believe’ t-shirts as this group of Cyclones have shown their grit and resilience and are playing with the heart of a champion.

“This week is going to be huge for us,” said Witten. “Just the opportunity to get back home is going to be unreal. I mean, we are going to be like gladiators taking the field. I don’t know if anything is going to stop us. Six straight road games and it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The players echoed their coach’s exact sentiment about being able to play at home for the first time.

“It’s going to be a big deal – it’s going to be like a miniature college game,” said quarterback Rhett Slagle. “The atmosphere is going to be great.”

Lineman Eli Guess said, “It’s the first home game all year and we are really excited. We just have to practice this week with the same intensity and if we do that, we should be okay.”

Witten and the players are encouraging Cyclone Nation to show up in force and are asking for the stands to be blacked out for the contest.

Kickoff is slated for 7:30 pm.