Cyclones has bullseye pinned on Greeneville for Region 1 4-A title

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

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It has taken nine weeks to get to the one week that really and truly matters in Region 1 4-A as the Elizabethton Cyclones and Greeneville Greene Devils will lay it all out on the line Friday night at Citizens Bank Stadium in one of the top games statewide with not only bragging rights but home field advantage throughout the playoffs hanging in the balance.

After taking off its regular-scheduled bye week, the Cyclones (8-0, 5-0) have spent the last two weeks preparing for their biggest rival, working to iron out the kinks when it comes to making the little mistakes such as penalties and turnovers that can impact a game like this in a big way.

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“We are where we need to be,” said Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten. “We have been battled tested and everyone is ready to go. We have improved a great deal and what this game comes down to is just a bunch of really good football players on both teams because that is who it’s all about and not the plays. Both schools respect each other and really work hard at their football programs, relying on toughness and discipline while setting the standard.”

The Cyclones are coming off a 56-0 shellacking of Volunteer two weeks ago while the Greene Devils traveled to Sevierville this past Friday to defeat Northview Academy 31-0.

There should be a sea of orange in the stands Friday night as the Cyclones will be playing only their third game of the season before their home fans that should be ringing their cowbells so loud that neighboring Washington County could hear.

One of the players that Witten and the Cyclones will have their eyes on will be the Greene Devils Carson Quillen, who carried the football over 30 times at Northview for a team that is run-heavy and throws in a pass or two.

“What they do is simple,” said Witten. “You will get a heavy dose of Quillen who is a good back and extremely tough. He reminds me of Corey Russell. We are going to have to do a good job on defense and rally to the tackle. It’s going to be a really tough game.”

With the downtime, the Cyclone coaching staff has taken time to re-evaluate themselves where they have seen players have both good moments and bad moments.

“We have to be more efficient and more effective,” said Witten. “We have had 10 weeks to prepare for this one game. It’s going to be all about the small details.”

Witten had high praise for sophomore quarterback Rhett Slagle who the coach in his 17th season says has really grown and gotten a better grasp on the offense. But it was not just Slagle earning the veteran coach’s praise but every player on the team.

“I am really proud of these guys,” said Witten. “When it comes to these types of games, it’s not so much about winning or losing but being able to get better 10 times over. It’s a game of inches, penalties, and turnovers. You have to play a 48-minute game.”

Senior Night will be observed prior to the game with kickoff slated for 7:30 pm.