Cyclones, 'Blazers in need of victory


star staff


  The Daniel Boone Trailblazers are riding high after knocking off previously undefeated and 10th-ranked Johnson County last Friday night in Gray. The Cyclones are flying mad after a one-point loss to Sullivan East.
  Look for the fur to fly off the coonskin hats when the two hook up tonight at Brown- Childress Stadium in an important Mountain Lakes Conference matchup. The winner remains in contention for a state playoff berth while the loser most likely will stay home.
  Boone comes in with one of the top signal callers in the area. Ben Fox was an all-conference first team player last season, and will no doubt be a major concern for the Cyclone defense.
  Although he threw for only 37 yards in last weeks game against Johnson County, Fox has put up some impressive numbers in the past two seasons for the Trailblazers.
  Fox is the type of quarterback that can shred a defense if you allow him to set back and throw, said Cyclone head coach Eddie Pless.
  "He has a great arm and can move out of the pocket when needed," Pless said.
  Boone (1-2, 3-3) found its running game last week rushing for 215 yards against the Horns. Sky Hicks ran for 125 yards and a touchdown to lead the ground attack.
  "Hicks has good speed and is very elusive," Pless said. "He is the type of back that gets better as the game goes on. You've got to wrap up on him."
  Zack Julian and Brice Teague are very good wideouts and do many things to help the offense. Julian will line up at tailback or the wideout when needed, and is also a force on special teams.
  Elizabethton (0-3, 2-4) hopes to have Charles Peters back full force in the secondary, as the three-year starter played only three minutes last week because of a hip injury. Pless stated that this is the time of year that everyone has key injuries.
  "After six weeks everyone is banged up," the coach said. "When your numbers are small, you just hope to keep everyone healthy."
  The Cyclones must find a way to score in the red zone when given the opportunity. The line needs to get more push to open up holes for James Peterson (410 yards on season) and company.
  Last week, Peterson rushed for 148 yards while Ryan Kennedy had a monster game with 145 yards on five receptions. Brian Freeman continues to be a lethal weapon at the kicking position but would love to see his offensive counterparts place the ball in the end zone.
  Derrek Nave has good hands and has proven his worth at tight end while Tony Sullivan has returned to the starting lineup to shore up the offensive line. At 6-3, 250, Sullivan gives 'Betsy some much needed size to run behind.
  Several young players are improving, which could add some much needed depth to the Cyclone lineup. Josh Hutchins, A.J. Burke, Justin Harmon and Preston Smith are proving their worth while Travis Bishop and Zach Potter are making good progress.
  One player that has stood out on the practice field is Donayle Watson, who the coaches said is a joy to coach.
  "Donayle is the type of kid that every coach would love to have," Pless said. "He goes all out in practice and is and sets a good example for his teammates to follow."
  For Elizabethton to reach the playoffs, a win over Boone is a must.
  "Boone will be well prepared with Jeremy Jenkins and his dad Jerry at the helm," Pless said. "You can bet they will be well disciplined, physical and ready to play."
  With two one-point losses to East and South and a five-point defeat to Science Hill, 'Betsy knows it could very well be 5-1.
  "We need a conference win bad," Pless said. "It's almost a must win for us."
  The game will be sponsored by the Elizabethton Shriners.