Cyclones flatten Longhorns, 54-18

By Allen LaMountain

   MOUNTAIN CITY--With the Elizabethton Cyclone offense hitting on all cylinders, 'Betsy trounced Mountain Lakes Conference foe Johnson County on Friday night at Paul H. McEwen Stadium by a 54-18 tally.
   The Cyclones (4-1 MLC, 6-2 overall) scored touchdowns in their first two possessions of the night and never looked back as tailback Walter Brown was again superb despite flu-symptoms that kept him out of practice on Thursday.
   "Walter missed practice due to illness," said EHS head coach Tommy Jenkins. "He missed the team dinner too, and when a guy like Walter misses dinner, you know he's sick."
   Brown shook off his illness and carried the ball 20 times for 155 yards with three scores as 'Betsy built a 33-6 halftime lead against a Longhorn squad that played hard, but lacked the scoring punch to stay with the Cyclones.
   "They did a good job shutting down the sweep," commented Brown. "So I just ran between the tackles a little bit more. When a team stops one thing you have to be able to do something else, and we were able to run it inside."
   Brown and fullback Jordan Bray each scored touchdowns in the first quarter to give the Cyclones a 13-0 lead as EHS kicker Craig Estep was wide on his second PAT. Estep has been a high-quality kicker for 'Betsy this season as he converted on six-of-seven PATs on the night, and for the season has converted on 28-of-35 extra points.
   Brown scored on second quarter runs of four and three yards to stake 'Betsy to a 33-0 lead before kick returner Aaron Payne got the 'Horns on the board with an 88-yard kickoff return.
   Payne fielded the ball at the 12-yard line and raced up the middle. Payne then bounced out of the pack and outraced everyone to the end zone to give Johnson County (1-4 MLC, 1-7 overall) a much-needed boost.
   "Johnson County didn't give up any big running plays and that's a credit to how tough those kids play," said Jenkins. "They contained Walter and made him work for his yards. (The Longhorns) just couldn't match up with our speed and I think that was the difference."
   The Cyclone defense led by senior LB Vince Redd did a solid job of stuffing the Longhorns running game as EHS held JC to 57 yards on 33 tries for the game.
   "I just tried to come out and do what the coaches needed me to do," Redd commented. "(The Longhorns) run a lot of counter plays and power inside runs. It's my job to stop the cut-backs and cover those lanes."
   EHS quarterback Ryan Curtis had a quietly solid game by connecting on three-of-six passes for 52 yards, with one of those throws going to speedy WR Lester Bailey for 43 yards.
   Bailey also played well. In addition to his big catch, he had a 54-yard touchdown gallop on a reverse that caught the 'Horns in over pursuit.
   "We had a hard time running the ball," said Longhorns head coach Mike Atwood. "We missed a couple of passes early on, we had a few mistakes, but except for a couple of letdowns I was pleased with the intensity we played with. It doesn't get any easier with Tennessee High next week and we will have a tough go of it if we don't bring more intensity."
   'Horns senior halfback Michael Reid was "Johnny on the spot" with a fumble recovery of a ball that QB Adam Johnson put on the ground at the EHS one-yard line to cut the 'Betsy lead to 33-12, but EHS had an answer.
   Mitchell Bowers and Curtis scored touchdowns to close out the third period and give the Cyclones a 47-12 advantage going into the final stanza.
   In the fourth quarter Johnson and Cyclone junior tailback Ben Fields closed out the scoring with six and two-yard scoring runs, respectively.