Cyclones drop Daniel Boone

By Allen LaMountain
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

   GRAY -- In the first quarter of play on Friday night at Nathan S. Hale Stadium, the Daniel Boone Trailblazers were as effective as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.
   Limited to 22 yards of total offense in the opening stanza, while giving up two big plays to the Elizabethton Cyclone offense and special teams, the 'Blazers fell to 'Betsy by a 34-7 tally.
   The win enabled the Cyclones to even their Big Eight Conference mark to 2-2, while improving to 3-4 overall. The 'Blazers fell to 1-6 (0-4).
   "We wanted to try and shorten the game by running right at (EHS)," said Daniel Boone head coach David Richards. "We felt that a wide open game played to their strength. It favored the Cyclones speed."
   That speed proved to be the undoing of Boone as on the second play of the contest Cyclone tailback Walter Brown broke loose on the EHS sweep and sped 51 yards to paydirt and a quick-as-lightning 7-0 Betsy lead.
   Then after the Cyclones held Boone on downs in its first possession, the Cyclones struck once again. This time it was on special teams as Neal Wandell -- as the up-back -- took the center snap and found Brown streaking down the EHS sideline.
   Brown hauled in Wandell's heave and raced 65 yards to give the Cyclones a 14-0 lead. Brown totaled 108 rushing yards, 78 receiving yards and had a 27-yard kickoff return to total 213 yards of total offense.
   "We decided to go what we call 'ends wide,'" said EHS special teams coach Brian Moore in describing the special teams score. "Usually teams won't catch that coming out of the huddle. Neal makes the call on the field. He has the decision after he checks with me. If he sees it's open he calls it, if not he checks off to a punt."
   Initially it looked like Wandell had overthrown a wide open Brown, but Brown turned on the jets and made a nice reception. "Sometimes the hardest throw to make is when a guy is wide open," commented Cyclone head coach Tommy Jenkins. "It was a very important situation, because we had talked all week that the longer Boone stayed in the game the tougher time we would have."
   For Richards the play was a culmination of the frustration his squad felt after surrendering two quick scores and putting themselves behind the eight-ball saying, "We had a guy there to cover the play, but he rushed toward the (passer) and didn't cover the receiver."
   In the second period the Cyclones scored on a 15 yard hookup between quarterback Ryan Curtis and flanker Josh Fair on a 15 yard play that gave Betsy a 20-0 lead going into the intermission.
   The Curtis to Fair pass capped a 10 play, 53 yard drive.
   The Cyclones on this night forced Boone quarterback David Diehl into a two-for-nine showing for just 10 yards of passing as the 'Betsy front four kept constant pressure on Diehl.
   "Man it was tough down there (in the trenches)," said Cyclone defensive end Matt Myers. "You have to stick to your guns because Boone will flat out hit you. We got them in some formations that they used the shotgun and that enabled us to go low on them and get after the quarterback."
   Diehl was penalized for intentional grounding on three occasions as pressure from the Cyclone front had him rattled from the outset.
   "We have all worked real hard in practice to get better," said Jon Jativa who has been shifted to defensive tackle and has helped Betsy with a strong rush up the middle. "Our line has stepped up and made plays when we have the opportunity, and when (opponents) double team someone, someone else steps up."
   After a bad snap on a punt gave Betsy good field position at the Boone 17, the Cyclones cashed in with a six yard quarterback draw by Curtis for a score that put the Cyclones up 27-0.
   After that score, Boone then had it's best offensive series of the night, going on a 19 play, 78 yard scoring drive capped by a three yard run by fullback Brian Barron.
   The biggest negative about the drive was that it consumed better than eight minutes of clock time that the 'Blazers couldn't afford to use up.
   The final scoring drive of the contest was an 11-play drive by 'Betsy that was capped by a nine yard run by Curtis on an option play that saw Curtis fake to the outside and come back inside to find the end zone.
   "To get up on them 14-0 like we did was big," said Jenkins. "Walter's play and Wandell's throw were big plays that we had to have. One reason Neal chose to throw was we knew (Boone) couldn't catch Walter, and Neal made a good throw."