Devils difficult assignment for Cyclones

star staff


  Elizabethton is hungry for a win, and nothing would be more satisfying for the Cyclones than taking a bite out of the Jolly Green Giant Friday night at Burley Stadium.
  'Betsy, 1-3, invades Greeneville to battle the 2-3 Greene Devils in a non-conference 4A affair tonight. The Devils will be celebrating homecoming.
  "Greeneville is loaded with athletes, especially at the skilled positions," stated Cyclone head coach Eddie Pless. "They are the best 2-3 team you will find across the state."
  The Greene Devils have fallen on hard times before winning 27-20 last week at Cherokee. Losses came at the hands of perennial powerhouse foes Knox Central, Anderson County and Sullivan South.
  "We lost to two good teams and let one slip away," stated Greeneville head coach Mike Zellar. "It's tough to win when you fumble six times and lose five. We are working hard trying to eliminate costly mistakes."
  Against South, three fumbles and a botched punt led to four scores in a game that saw South winning although Greeneville racked up over 500 yards of offense while placing 34 points on the scoreboard.
  "They have two quarterbacks, Michael Lollar and Jacob Richey, who they use a lot like Tennessee does Brent Shaffer and Erik Ainge," Pless said.
  Lollar burnt South for a 17-yard score while Richey completed 10 of 13 passes in the second half for 232 yards to lead a remarkable comeback that fell just short. Throw in speed merchant Brandon Gash's big-play abilities and the Devils pose a huge threat for the 'Betsy defense.
  While the Cyclone defense has been stellar throughout the season the offense has struggled to find its mark. Elizabethton found its offense in the red zone numerous times against South, but had to settle for three field goals in a 10-9 loss to the Rebels.
  "We have touched on our offensive unit as a whole," Pless said. "Our offensive line has worked extra hard going over their blocking schemes. We realize that we've got to step it up a notch for us to win football games."
  Weston Jeffers was 16 of 27 for 161 yards against South, but the Cyclone offense could muster only 75 yards rushing. Help could come soon from sophomores Brent Shaver and Preston Smith.
  In the junior varsity game at South, Shaver rushed for 109 yards and two scores while Smith racked up 101 yards rushing and threw for 151 yards on seven of nine. The return of Tony Sullivan (6'4 265 Sr.) should bolster some much-needed depth in the offensive line.
  "They have a quarterback who can throw and some good receivers who catch the ball well," said Greeneville head coach Mike Zellar. "We know that Elizabethton will come in here and play on a high level of emotion. It will be a tough game."
  Greeneville is a shoo-in to reach the playoffs, and a win over the Greene Devils would give the Cyclones some much-needed confidence before getting into the meat and 'taters of their remaining conference schedule.
  "We keep emphasizing improvement," Pless said. "For us to get the level of play we want to be, it is important for us to make strides every week."
  "As long as I've been involved in football at Elizabethton, this is one of the smallest teams as far as size that we've had. But all of them play with a lot of heart, and for that we are certainly proud of them."
  "Our staff knows that these kids will battle from the opening kickoff until the final horn sounds. You couldn't ask any more than the effort that these players are giving."
  Kickoff is at 7:30.