Cyclones, HV look to rebound in non-region tilt

By Allen LaMountain
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
awlamountain@starhq.com

   After stumbling in contests they led last week, both the Happy Valley Warriors and Elizabethton Cyclones will look to get back on the winning track tonight at Brown-Childress Stadium.
   The Warriors held a 20-14 lead at the break before Hampton scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to top HV 34-20. The Cyclones themselves saw a 14-0 advantage slip away against the Vikings in a 42-20 loss, but both squads know they can right their ships with a win.
   "Tennessee High does some things similar to what we run here," said Warriors head coach Stan Ogg. "They ran it right at the big guy in the middle (Vince Redd) and in the option attack you have to establish the fullback, so we will try and do some of the same things Tennessee High had success with."
   The Vikings established a dominance in the middle of the line last week and with an offensive line loaded with size the Warriors will hope to do the same.
   With Jordy Harrison (6-4, 305), Cane Cannon (5-11, 210) and Daniel Dover (5-10, 235) up front Happy Valley could make things tough for the 'Betsy defensive line, and open some running room for fullback Cody Cannon and tailback Tim Whaley.
   "Elizabethton has so much speed to the outside and they pursue so well," commented Ogg. "You're not going to run away from them so a lot of times you have got to run it right at them."
   With senior quarterback Lamar Rollins still nursing a sore shoulder a lot of the duties under center could fall to freshman Todd Caldwell, but Ogg feels Rollins will be up to the task saying, "Lamar is still a little banged up. His status is a lot like last week, but he wants to play."
   Elizabethton is healthy physically, but mentally they may be still stung by the rapid turn of events last week.
   "Last week we were not mentally prepared even though we came out with two quick scores," said Cyclone defensive tackle Matt Myers. "We are going to have to be a lot more aggressive up front. Happy Valley has a big line and we can't let them shell-shock us like we got last week."
   Cyclone head coach Tommy Jenkins agreed with that assessment.
   "We didn't do a good job in any aspect of the game last week," he said. "We have to play well, to a man, and have 11 players playing like a unit. We just didn't have any enthusiasm last week. As the game went on you could see Tennessee High getting more and more pumped up, and we didn't respond."
   The Cyclones committed five turnovers in the loss, with quarterback Ryan Curtis suffering four interceptions. Even against teams that you should beat, you can't turn the ball over that many times and win.
   One bright spot for 'Betsy has been senior tailback Walter Brown, who has been playing extremely well. Brown has rushed for 203 and 186 yards in 'Betsy's two games, and last season had a big game against the Warriors.
   In last year's 31-0 Betsy win, Brown rushed for 178 yards and had touchdown gallops of 45 and 58 yards in a dominating Cyclone victory.
   'Betsy will need a good dose of Brown's lightning around the corner, but will also need to apply a good measure of stifling defense as well.
   "It comes down to doing your job this week," Jenkins said. "Sometimes when things aren't going well you have to make things happen and force the issue. We aren't going to make any wholesale changes, but we can't let Happy Valley get comfortable running that middle isolation play they run so well.
   On offense we want a good mix of run and pass to keep the defense honest and we have to cut down on the turnovers."
   As the man in the middle, Redd knows that he is a marked man these days, but he says that it's going to be a team effort that wins the day.
   "If they double-team me then we have to each do what we are supposed to do and be where we are supposed to be," he said. "If we go off and do our own things then it all breaks down. We have to play better as a team, and play a whole game."
   This could be the last year these inter-county rivals suit up against each other as the three-year contract to play each other is up, but Ogg said: "We want to continue with the series. I think it can be a good rivalry, but I would like to see us get a home game if we do decide to play again."
   For his part Coach Jenkins agreed but said, "We have to do what's best for the school, but I wouldn't be against playing a game or two over there. We'll have to wait and see after the season to what we're going to do."
   Game time is 7:30 p.m.