Trenches unfriendly to Elizabethton

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   Retired U.S. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf during the Desert Storm conflict used a tactic that caught the Iraq army totally offguard, he came straight at the highly touted, dug in front line troops.
   On Friday night at Brown-Childress Stadium the Tennessee High Vikings took a page out of Stormin' Norman's handbook when they used the same tactic by taking the ball right at the defensive unit. It took a little wake-up call to get the wheels going, but when they started turning there was no stopping them.
   The trenches were truly an ugly site as time after time the mighty offensive line of the Vikings were constantly pushing, and often pancaking, the Cyclones' defensive line any direction they wanted to. It wasn't uncommon to see the Cyclones often driven three to five yards off the ball on the snap.
   On the other hand, the offensive line for the Cyclones wasn't finding to much success in returning the favor to TN High. It was like a steam roller as the Vikings were often behind the line awaiting running backs Walter Brown and Mitchell Bowers, and putting QB Ryan Curtis in awkward passing situations.
   The Cyclone defensive unit struggled to place any pressure on the Vikings in their backfield.
   So, what do the Cyclones do about a situation like this? The first thing they do is watch the films and get mad about what they see. These are some great kids and I can say without a reasonable doubt that they aren't happy with their performances in the trench war.
   Sure Brown picked up 200 yards for the second consecutive week, but the young man did much of this on gut effort. The Cyclones need to re-establish their front line to open holes for their backs and also provide Curtis enough time to set and find his receiver rather than throw the route.
   The defensive line, meanwhile, is in dire need of someone to step up and create pressure situations for the opposing QB. Allowing 319 yards rushing to the Vikings will also require some mending up front to make sure if these teams meet on down the playoff road, the same outcome won't happen again.
   Other notable keys from Friday include:
   Kicking game: Ryan Black's leg should have some sort of dangerous weapon alert attached to it. The young man hit at least six kicks into the end zone, including one that hit off the goal post crossbar. He was instrumental in keeping the Cyclones penned deep in their own territory all night.
   Officials: I don't like being too tough on anyone, but this crew definitely needed a little fine tuning. A perfect example was a delay of about five minutes when the men in black and white couldn't make up their minds where to place the ball after a penalty against the Cyclones on a kickoff.
   Numerous infractions were missed even with the officials in good position to make the call.
   Mental outlook: On a early hit against Curtis, the Vikings sent a message that he wasn't going to be a factor. Four interceptions might have resulted as a fact of this intimidation. Also, the Vikings were successful in frustrating Lester Bailey so much, the wide receiver often appeared to give up on his routes.
   Now, the Cyclones must regroup. Happy Valley comes calling next and regardless of the fact this is a non-conference tilt, bragging rights are up for grabs and it will be another knock down and drag out fight on Dave Rider Field.