Cyclones season ends at hands of Mavericks

Published 1:41 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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CLINTON – Both teams knew what was at stake when Anderson County played host to Elizabethton in the 2023 Class 4-A BlueCross Football Championship second round in Clinton between two teams who know each other pretty darn well.

The Mavericks used two second quarter scores to gain the early momentum and fought off the Cyclones down the stretch to win 21-7 and keep their season alive while bringing Elizabethton’s to an end for the second consecutive year.

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After a scoreless first quarter, the Mavericks drew first blood when Xavian James caught a six-yard pass from quarterback Zae Hall with 6:45 left to play in the first half. Josh Valero converted the point-after attempt and the home team led 7-0.

Anderson Co. wasn’t done in the half as Hall connected on his second scoring toss of the half, this time to wide receiver Daylen Cole on a 17-yard touchdown pass with just 28 ticks left on the first half clock.

Valero added the PAT and the Mavericks went to the half leading 14-0.

Elizabethton continued to play inspired defense coming out of the locker room and finally the offense responded when senior running back Zeth Mullins willed his way into the end zone from four yards out to narrow the gap to 14-7 on Will Bowers point-after conversion was good with 22 seconds left in the third quarter.

But just like in the Greeneville game at the end of the regular season, Anderson Co. quickly struck back with a back-breaking score as Hall found Cole for their second hook-up of the night on a 72-yard pass that seemed to steal some of the Cyclones thunder as the score was 21-7 after Valero’s kick was true.

The Cyclones battled the entire contest reaching the red zone on three different occasions only to be turned away as the inability to score came back to haunt the Cyclones as the season ended with a 21-7 finale.

Both teams were almost equal in total yards in the game as Anderson Co. had 286 total offense to 273 for Elizabethton. While the Cyclones found the going tough on the ground with 20 carries for 31 yards total, sophomore quarterback Rhett Slagle hit 19-of-38 passes good for 242 yards with two interceptions.

The Anderson Co. defense sacked Slagle four times in the contest. Cole also had two interceptions off Slagle.

Hall finished with 11-of-19 passing for 195 yards and three scores. Luke Whaley picked off one of Hall’s passes from his defensive back position for the Cyclones.

With the victory, Anderson Co. travels to Greeneville on Friday for a 7 pm kickoff at Burley Stadium in the playoff’s third round.


Anderson County, 21-7

ELIZABETHTON          0       0     7      0      —    7

ANDERSON COUNTY   0      14    0      7      —    21


Second Quarter

AC — James 6 pass from Hall (Valero kick), 6:45

AC — Cole 17 pass from Hall (Valero kick), :28.1

Third Quarter

E — Mullins 4 run (Bowers kick), :21.7

Fourth Quarter

AC — Cole 72 pass from Hall (Valero kick), 11:02

Game Statistics

                            E              AC

FIRST DOWNS              13                12

PASSING (C-A-I)         19-38-2       11-19-1

PASSING YARDS           242                 195

RUSHES-YARDS          20-31            30-91

TOTAL YARDS               273                286

FUMBLES-LOST           0-0                 2-0

PUNTS-AVG.          3-33.3           5-33.6

PENALTIES-YARDS    4-35           7-50

Individual Statistics

PASSING — EHS: Slagle 19-38-2 242 yds; AC: Hall 11-19-1 195 yds 3 TD.

RUSHING — EHS: Mullins 10-42 TD, Slagle 5-(-)27, Holzer 3-14, Griffin 3-2; AC: Moog 26-89, James 2-3, LaRue 1-4, Hall 1-(-)5.

RECEIVING — EHS: Griffin 8-95, Blevins 5-58, Whaley 3-53, Baker 2-32, Mullins 1-2; AC: James 5-33 TD, Cole 3-101 2 TD, Strickland 3-61.

INTERCEPTIONS — EHS: Whaley; AC: Cole 2.

SACKS — AC: Nelson 2, James, Miller.