Jenkins, Broyles key contributors to EHS cause


Josh Broyles

Jake Jenkins

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com
Many young boys have grown up in the Elizabethton area and dreamed of one day wearing the orange and black of Elizabethton High School. For Jake Jenkins and Josh Broyles, the dream of carrying on the tradition of being a Cyclone has been one filled with emotional victories as well as draining setbacks.
"I've wanted to be a Cyclone since I was a little boy," said Jenkins. "It means giving it your all to wear the orange and black of the Cyclones, and to uphold the tradition with a lot of sweat and blood to make sure the tradition goes on."
Jenkins, a senior, has been in a starting role for the Cyclones since his sophomore season and anchors a very much-improved offensive line from his center position. Even though the team has lost three early-season games that could have been in its win column, the Cyclones have battled through the rough spots and Jenkins feels that the unit has solidified itself through a total team effort.
"Yeah, we've had a couple of letdowns but we have kept playing as a team," said Jenkins. "We have come together the last few weeks and we want to keep on playing Cyclone football to extend our season as long as possible."
Jenkins feels that the challenges he faced early on in his high school career have shaped him into the player he is now, much like a potter shapes a masterpiece on a potter's wheel.
Said Jenkins: " Going against guys like Dustin Wilcox and Weston Peters as a sophomore really helped me a lot. Cyclone football means a lot and you can never do to much to prepare yourself. I would tell any young player that wants to be a Cyclone to always work hard and never give up on a dream of what you want to do. Football is just a game, so you need to have fun and not take it too serious."
With the size and strength that Jenkins possesses, naturally some colleges are looking to entice the young man to come on board with their program. Schools like Carson-Newman and Tusculum, along with Emory and Henry, have shown interest in having Jenkins wear their respective colors after his high school career.
Yet, for Jenkins, even though the desire to play collegiately is a very likely possibility, the fulfillment of being a part of a tradition-rich program like Elizabethton has been worth ever drop of sweat and every trickle of blood for the last four seasons.
"If everything works out, I'll probably play college ball somewhere, but if I don't, I am so proud of being able to be a Cyclone for the time I have," he said.
Jenkins is the son of Tommy and Kathy Jenkins of Elizabethton, and has a brother, Thomas. He is an active member in his youth group at Valley Forge Christian Church.
Jenkins also is active in school, where he participates in Chorus, the Explorers program, National Honor Society and FCA. He is hoping to obtain a degree in math and eventually teach and coach somewhere in his adult life.
Josh Broyles is another Cyclone who has always been in the background, getting only marginally opportunities during his career to participate on the field during games. Yet early on in the season, when the Cyclones were suffering some fallacies in the linebacking corps, Broyles saw an opportunity to seize a starting role and hasn't looked back since.
"I have gained more self respect and discipline about myself," said Broyles of how his work effort has paid off. "I know there is someone out there striving to make an additional step and I just want to do whatever it takes to stay that one step ahead of the guy that is challenging for my slot."
Broyles, like Jenkins, has taken pride in the fact he has been able to wear the orange and black while contributing in whatever way he could to keep the tradition of the program on course.
"It's been about having pride in what I've grow up around here at Elizabethton," stated Broyles. "I just want to be a role model just like all the past players and show how important tradition is in being a member of the Cyclone football team."
Playing from a middle linebacker slot, Broyles has shaken off any timidness he might have had early on and put together a solid three weeks of time in the starting role. In last week's critical game against Johnson County, Broyles was credited with six tackles on defense.
It has been a season of reaching goals for Broyles because all the young man has ever dreamed of was wearing the Cyclone colors and getting a chance to be in the middle of the action.
"I've had the opportunity to achieve all the dreams that I have had of being a Cyclone football player," quipped Broyles. "All those days in junior high and freshman football learning the basics of being a good high school player are now well worth every practice I went through."
For some athletes, if they are not in a starting role for their respective team, it seems there is a tendency to lose interest in giving it a 110 percent effort when stepping on the field for practice and even a game.
Broyles wanted to offer the young players out there a little advice about situations like this.
Said Broyles: "You need to strive to work hard. If you are not in the initial starting lineup, keep on working and working, even during the off-season, to improve your chances the next time around. Also, depend on God to help you improve and just allow him to help you achieve your dreams."
Broyles said that the most important thing he wants is for the people who remember him being a part of the Cyclone program is to always know that he gave it his best and left it all on the field. He also stated that he would not mind being a part of a state championship team in his senior season.
Future goals include college and a career in auto design.
"I would love to play football in college," said Broyles. "I want to be able to design cars as well as do some work in graphic design."
Not only is Broyles a role model on the field, but he also is a role model in Cross Fire Ministries, his youth group at Roan Street Church of God. In school, he participates in FCA, Junior Civitan, Chorus and Young Life.
Broyles is the son of Sonja Broyles and Preston Broyles of Elizabethton, and has one sister, Donna Bare.