Cyclone freshmen drop close encounter with Central

By Travis Brown

STAR Staff

   Despite a great effort, and some gritty determination, the Cyclone freshman team fell to the much improved Sullivan Central Cougars 14-12 on Thursday at Brown-Childress Stadium.
   Both teams turned in strong performances in a close game that came down to the wire, but the ball bounces in strange ways, and unfortunately for E-town, the ball bounced the wrong way.
   Central head coach Dee Musser was respectful of his opponents, "Tough ballgame, its always tough to play here, it's Elizabethton."
   The game started off in favor of the Cyclones as they took the opening kickoff and began a drive to go on top.
   Marching six plays and moving the ball very effectively Betsy kept it simple until Austin Guinn punched it in from a yard out to give the Cyclones the early 6-0 lead. The two point conversion was unsuccessful, and the 'Clones handed the ball over to the defense.
   After keeping the Cougars out of the endzone for two series, the Cyclones turned over the football to Central on the 37 yard line.
   The Cougars wasted no time moving the football as Cougar quarterback Wes Barber launched a 57 yard completion on second down to put the Central in striking distance.
   After three more downs failed to gain any yardage, Central lined up for a 36 yard field goal try, on which they converted. On the play however, the Cyclones were guilty of roughing kicker Luke Hawk and the resulting first down would come back to hurt the Cyclones.
   Two plays later the Cougars would go in on the shoulders of Adam Hale who scored on a 10-yard blast, and the resulting extra point gave Central a slender 7-6 lead.
   As the second half got underway, the third quarter saw both teams move the ball well and gain some positive yardage, however neither team could convert in the frame, and the lead was held into the fourth quarter.
   Early in the final period however, the Cougars would gain the upper hand, driving 11 plays, covering 73 yards before Barber took it in from one yard out. Hawk added the pat, and Central lead 14-6.
   Elizabethton then mounted a very impressive comeback before fading late. But on the following possession Elizabethton showed their mettle.
   Driving 60 yards in eight plays the Cyclones scored on a fourth down pass from Jake Berkley to Stephen Bowers to give the Cyclones a shot to pull even. The all important two point conversion was to follow, but Elizabethton fell short and trailed by two.
   Elizabethton would threaten once again late, but a critical fumble cost them a scoring opportunity.
   The last game of the season for the Cyclones was one of bitter emotion, as the heartbreaking loss came at the worst possible time, but Skipper Ryan Witten was upbeat about his troops, "You can't ask for anything more, they taught me a lot about coming back and playing hard."
   This club has few reasons to hang their heads according to Witten, "They are going to be pretty good football players."