Elizabethton braces for Greeneville

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com
After picking up an all-important conference win last week against Sullivan South, the Elizabethton Cyclones now have the dubious task of preparing to face a Greeneville Greene Devil team that has recovered from an early 0-2 season start to one that has reeled off three consecutive victories.
It has been an exciting week around the campus of Elizabethton as the faculty and students have been dressing up and showing off in preparation for tonight's homecoming game against the always tough Greene Devils.
Now, it is time for business as the Cyclone players and coaches have to focus its attention to a team that has some of the same faces from last season, except in different roles and positions on the field.
"This is the same typical Greeneville team as we have faced in the past," stated EHS head coach Tommy Jenkins. " They have the same type of athletes and are well-coached, but we still feel we are pretty evenly matched from what we can tell from scouting reports as well as from film."
Greeneville is led by Chase Greenway at the quarterback position. Greenway was a receiver last season who accounted for over 800-yards receiving from departed QB Cody Baugh.
Now, Greenway is leading the team in rushing, but also has the capabilities to throw the ball deep to his receivers. Last week in a lopsided 45-12 win over Cherokee, Greenway rushed for 114 yards and passed for an additional 59 yards.
Said Jenkins: " We are more concerned about Greenway's running ability. When it comes to making a decision, he most of the time chooses to run rather than pass. Our defense has to be ready and hopefully we can move the ball like we did last week against South."
The Cyclones were ultra-successful last week from the offensive standpoint racking up 312 yards of total offense with 268 yards coming on the ground. Weston Jeffers did a remarkable job in his first start as a varsity quarterback, but could not have done so without the help of a much improved offensive line.
"We will have to play like we can. Our guys play with a lot of heart and are prepared for what we have to do," said senior offensive lineman Daniel Wagner. "It has meant a lot to me after watching the game as a kid and wanting to be a Cyclone, and now here I am playing in my last homecoming game, so I will definitely be ready."
Thanks to the offensive line's effort, Jeffers ledger from the South game showed the sophomore hitting on eight of 13 attempts for 92 yards and a touchdown to Lester Bailey.
The backfield of Bailey, Jordan Bray, Justin Grace, and Ernie Bray ran rough-shod over the Rebels last week, and will need to do more of the same this week if the Cyclones have a shot at defeating the visitors from Greene County.
From a defensive perspective, the Cyclones will be definitely keying on Greenway, but cannot lose focus on where the running back combination of Brandon Gash and Robert Leeper are in the Greene Devil backfield. Gash accounted for 98 yards rushing last week and Leeper 74.
"They are a really good football team with a quarterback that not only can throw the ball deep but can run also," said Cyclone linebacker Derek Nave, who leads EHS in tackles on the season. " We want to come out and play well to win the game because this is extra special for the seniors being their last homecoming game and we want them to go out with a win."
With the homecoming festivities, there will be an unusual buzz vibrating through Brown-Childress Stadium with the homecoming court, skydivers, the 'Betsy Band, and the FCA t-shirt cannon going full blast. Yet, the excitement going on the sidelines is nothing compared to the adrenaline rush the Cyclones will get as they enter Dave Rider field for the opening kickoff.
Said sophomore corner Charles Peters: "It's hard to describe how your adrenaline kicks in as you are standing and waiting to run through the tunnel of fans and cheerleaders. Then when your name is called out loud and you come on the field you are really pumped. What we have to do is be able to keep a certain level of adrenaline, but also we need to be alert and ready to go."
With the fan base being a little smaller than normal last week, the Cyclone faithful should be back to full force this week in a sea of orange and black. According to Jenkins, the events of this week should not be a deterant to his squad in the non-conference tilt.
Said Jenkins: "Everyone is involved when it comes to homecoming activities. We had really good practices this week and I know the kids have had fun this week.
There will be a lot of class reunions, skydivers bringing the game ball in, our homecoming court, and a lot of other things going on tonight. For some coaches, this is a distraction but the way I see it this is all part of a big process and doesn't bother me."
Kickoff will be at 7:30 and all Cyclone fans are encouraged to come and take part in the 2003 Homecoming activities. Don't forget to wear that orange and black.
**Note: There will be several events taking place throughout the day today leading up to the kickoff. There will be a large pep rally at the school beginning around 1 pm when the band will pass through the halls of EHS and collect the classes for a march into the gym for the spirit rouser.
The 2003 Homecoming Parade will take place beginning at 6 pm from Riverside Drive and proceeding through downtown Elk Avenue and into Brown-Childress Stadium.
Also, the T.A. Dugger Junior High PTO will be having its annual bean supper benefit beginning at 4:00 pm for carryout and 4:30 pm for eating in. The cost is only $3.50 with Corn Dogs available for the kids.
Richard and Kim Sheffield, former EHS students, along with a couple of other parachuters will parachute into the stadium prior to kickoff carrying the game ball.