Cyclones clobber 'Blazers, 68-19

By Allen LaMountain

ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
awlamountain@starhq.com

   Scoring touchdowns seemingly at will on Friday night at Brown-Childress Stadium, the Elizabethton Cyclones (3-1 MLC, 5-2 overall) blew away visiting Daniel Boone by a 68-19 tally.
   With senior tailback Walter Brown chewing up chunks of real estate on the ground and quarterback Ryan Curtis connecting on 11-of-14 passes, the Cyclone offense was simply too much for the Trailblazers to contend with.
   "Coming in we knew we would have to play a perfect game to have a chance," said 'Blazers head coach Carl Richards. "Elizabethton simply had too much speed for us. We fought and played hard to get back into the game, then they run back that kickoff on us."
   The play Richards referred to came in the second period after Boone (1-3 MLC, 2-5 overall) had erased a 21-0 Cyclone advantage to make it a 21-12 game when Lester Bailey fielded the 'Blazer kickoff at the 15-yard line.
   Bailey ran left while Brown cut right and Bailey handed to Brown on a reverse, and Brown simply took it to the house on an 87-yard return that broke the backs of the game but overmatched 'Blazers.
   "I think that reverse on the kickoff took them out of the ballgame," said Cyclones head coach Tommy Jenkins. "It was a super play -- a great call by coach (Brian) Moore -- and Walter finished it off down the sideline."
   'Betsy finished the contest with an incredible 726 total yards in the contest and scored touchdowns on 8-of-10 possessions. EHS did not have to punt the ball once to Daniel Boone on the evening.
   Brown -- who once again got solid blocking up front -- rushed for 226 yards on just 18 carries, while Curtis threw for 155 yards, completing passes to seven different receivers.
   "Boone was real tough up front," said EHS senior offensive tackle Brandon Collins. "But we had great communication out there. Probably better than we have all year, and when you have a back like Walter, all you need to do is give him a seam and he's gone."
   Boone quarterback Chris Clear had a tremendous ballgame in carrying the 'Blazer offense as he completed 16-of-37 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown. Clear was intercepted once, and his late-game replacement Ben Fox was also the victim of Cyclone thievery.
   "We came into the game preparing for them to run the ball at us," said senior safety Michael Porter. "They caught us flat-footed a bit early on, but we adjusted our defense to play more man coverage. That let us use our speed advantage against them."
   Freshman safety Charles Peters got the last score of the night off a Fox pass that he took 25 yards to the end zone to complete the rout. Fox finished the night 0-for-4 passing.
   'Betsy took a 21-0 lead midway through the second period as Curtis capped a four-play, 68-yard drive with a 34-yard strike to Bailey down the sideline to stake EHS to a 7-0 lead. Curtis finished off the next EHS drive with a 17-yard scramble and dive into the end zone.
   Curtis' TD strike to tight-end Vince Redd made it a 21-0 game before Boone could retaliate.
   "We took advantage of them being so aware of Walter by airing it out," said Curtis. "It was an amazing game. Both lines did a great job and I thought our second team did it's job also. When you have a back like Walter you know the opponent has to respect him."
   Boone's Byron Taylor scored on a three-yard run and after forcing EHS to turn the ball over on downs, Taylor scored again. But the 'Blazers' PAT was blocked and a two-point conversion pass was also snuffed out as Boone cut the 'Betsy advantage to 21-12.
   That was as close as Boone would get on this night as Brown scored on the subsequent kickoff, and after an interception of a Clear pass by Adam Turley, the Cyclones set out to deliver the knockout punch.
   And Brown would deliver, as he capped a 63-yard drive with a nine-yard run as 'Betsy took a 35-12 lead into the break.
   "Last year Walter had some injuries and wasn't 100 percent most of the year," said Collins. "This year, he is in great shape and this is his senior year so he is running harder and the line is working hard as a group to give him some holes."
   In the third period Curtis scored on a one-yard dive and Brown capped off his night with a 56-yard blast that opened up a 48-12 Cyclone advantage.
   Jenkins then sent his second unit out to finish up the game not wanting to embarrass the visitors any further.
   "I don't like to run up the score or embarrass anyone," commented Jenkins. "I wouldn't like it done to us, so I won't do it to anyone else. I was proud of how the young kids performed from the third quarter on. The freshman Peters is going to be a good player. He showed good athletic ability on that interception return."
   Sophomore QB Jake Berkley scored on a four-yard plunge and junior tailback Ben Fields scored on a six-yard run before Peters closed out the Cyclone scoring binge.
   EHS Notes: DE/OT Chad Street suffered an injury to his left knee in the second period and did not return. Street will have further examinations to determine the extent of the injury but said: "I hope to be back in two weeks. I think it's just a strained MCL. I was blocking up front and someone fell across the side of my leg." Junior fullback Justin Grace was banged up in the contest as well, but gave a thumbs-up signaling that he was feeling okay after the contest. Brown now has gained 1,271 yards on the season with three games left as he shoots for a 2,000-yard season. He will need to average 243 yards per-game the rest of the way to accomplish the feat.