Elizabethton Cyclones seek to find their true identity in TSSAA Playoffs

Published 8:32 am Tuesday, November 7, 2023


There is a game show that was popular in the 70s called ‘To Tell the Truth’ where there was a panel of four contestants who tried to ask questions of three imposters and one real person who had a unique talent to determine who the person was that had the talent.

After quizzing the four who sat opposite of them, the game show host asked for the talented person to stand up and most of the time the picking panel always guessed one of the imposters who gave very convincing answers even though they were fakes.

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Entering the second round of the TSSAA playoffs, the question that is swirling around many Elizabethton Cyclone supporters’ minds is who are the real Cyclones this season.

Many are hoping they are the team that drew high praise entering the season as a shoo-in to be in Chattanooga competing for another state championship in December. The Cyclones showed that team as they proved that they were true road warriors winning games on the road against Class 6-A foes Science Hill (27-7) and Dobyns-Bennett (14-7), Class 5-A foe Morristown West (20-7) and dominated conference teams Grainger (65-14), Cherokee (63-6), Sullivan East (47-0), Northview Academy (42-7), and Volunteer (56-0).

Then came the game that seemed to puncture their balloon a little bit as honestly the Cyclones played flat against a Greeneville team that put the Cyclones back into the road warrior mode with the loss thus having to travel to Anderson County for round two of the playoffs.

However, the team that showed up for the Greeneville game was more like an imposter as the Cyclones in many minds are still a better team than the Greene Devils and now the real Cyclone team needs to get it back together and make the run that everyone was expecting at the beginning of the season.

And that starts Friday night at Anderson County where it doesn’t take a long-time coach or a rocket scientist to know what to expect when traveling to Clinton.


Anderson County – the facts

Everyone knows when you go to take on Anderson County you are going to be getting a fire-snorting Maverick on the side of the Anderson County dressing room and pyrotechnics as the Mavericks enter the field. Been there and seen that.

A team that likes to throw the football and bully their opponent with a ground game much the way the Cyclones do and throw in a little smack talk along the way. Been there and seen that.

A PA announcer can get under the skin of visiting fans with some of the remarks that are made during the game.  Been there and heard that.

In 2023, Anderson County was a team that started the season with three straight losses to Powell (35-21), Science Hill (26-23), and Bearden (45-27) before winning four straight over teams who finished the season a combine 13-30 before losing against a 10-1 Knox West team (8-7).

They finished off the season winning over conference foe Gibbs (10-1) by a score of 55-6 and South Doyle (2-8) 56-16. They defeated Region 1 4-A four-seed Sullivan East 49-0 last week in the first round.

There is no denying that Anderson County is a tough place to play but they are not invincible.

And if that is not enough, when looking at MaxPreps schedule for the team’s outcome over the season, they have already inked in a game against Greeneville in the third round on 11/17 – talk about putting the cart before the horse.


The Elizabethton Cyclones – the facts

This team of Cyclones began getting ready for this season a week after the end of last season as they began a highly intense conditioning program to be able to endure tough games and even a disappointment or two along the way as they showed up before school even began to lift weights to get ready for high intensity games against the likes of Science Hill, Dobyns Bennett, Greeneville, and Anderson County.

They made their hashtag #CHAS1NGBEST and have been ranked as the third-best team in Class 4-A for most of the season so they are still chasing to be the best.

Their road mentality was something that most teams could not handle for six straight weeks but yet they returned home for their first home game undefeated.

The team has not played their very best football as of yet so there is more in the tank to release and that should start Friday night at Anderson County.

In the MMA which is mixed martial arts, there are two types of fighters – the ones ready to lock in and the ones ready to tap out – the question here is which one is the Cyclones.

So, if the Cyclones need a real call-out, then here it is – WILL THE REAL ELIZABETHTON CYCLONES PLEASE STAND UP?

And that can be addressed to Cyclone Nation as well. You have been missing and now is the time to show up with those cowbells and ring them so loud that the apartment units next to the Anderson County football field can hear you.


Final remarks from Coach Witten

“They are a lot like we were a year ago,” said Witten. “We have been there and done that as defending champs. We are a better road team than a home team, so we have to find a way to get it done. It will take an entire team effort with the best players on both sides to get it done.”