Falcons left featherless after Cyclones blow through Region 1-4A foe

Published 3:43 pm Monday, October 16, 2023

STAR CORRESPONDENT

The contest played Friday at Citizens Bank Stadium was a contrasting story of two teams headed in different directions as the Volunteer Falcons were looking for a major upset and something to build on for the 2024 season while the Elizabethton Cyclones were looking to keep the metal to the pedal as they churned toward a region championship showdown with arch nemesis Greeneville.

It didn’t take long for the Falcons to recognize that it was going to be a long night as the Cyclones scored 21 points in the first quarter and then cruised to a 56-0 shellacking of the helpless visitors from Church Hill.

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The game was an all-around effort from the Cyclones (8-0, 5-0) as the team scored from the ground, through the air, and on special teams in the victory.

Elizabethton staked itself to the early lead on the strength of a 25-yard run from Zeth Mullins, a 66-yard dazzling punt return by Jeriah Griffin, and a 36-yard scoring toss from Rhett Slagle to Luke Whaley to push the Cyclones quickly to the front of the game.

Will Bowers continued to be a double-c factor as the freshman placekicker continued to show his coolness in consistently booting all seven of his point-after attempts in the contest. Caleb Campbell also converted a PAT.

The Cyclones continued to load the wagon in the second quarter as Slagle was loading his long-gun arm throughout, connecting with Cam Baker on a 36-yard scoring pass, a six-yard strike to Whaley for the senior receiver’s second scoring reception of the game, and a wide-open Eli Blevins on a 28-yard strike where Blevins could just walk into the end zone with a single defender in 15 yards of him.

Mullins collected his second rushing score of the evening as well on a three-yard run with 2:35 remaining before the half to give the home team a 49-0 halftime lead.

The Cyclones added their final score when tight end Mason Ball rumbled in from 13 yards out on Slagle’s fifth touchdown toss of the contest. Ball also added a sack on defense.

From that point, Coach Shawn Witten emptied his bench as several junior varsity and freshmen saw action to close out the contest.

Slagle finished his night with a 9-of-10 performance for 187 yards and five touchdowns. In two consecutive weeks, Slagle has accounted for eight touchdown tosses and 467 yards of offense.

Defensively, the Cyclones continued to flex their muscle with another shutout while holding the opposing offense to only 48 points through eight games, an average of six points per contest.

The Falcons had 32 passing yards and 17 yards on the ground on 35 carries for a total of 49 yards.

Elizabethton did better on the penalty side of the game, as the Cyclones were only flagged one time for five yards and didn’t have to punt one time.

Now, the Cyclones will take this week off as they prepare for the final regular-season game of the season against Greeneville on Friday, October 27 at 7:30 pm. A Cyclone win would allow Elizabethton to play all of their post season games at home until they would reach the state title game as they would win the region outright.

A large crowd is expected to fill Citizens Bank Stadium for the final showdown of the regular season.