Jr. Cyclones subdue Pats
By Tim Chambers
The T.A. Dugger football season can be somewhat described by two ice cream flavors. After getting off to a rocky road start in the first half of the season the Jr. Cyclones are finding the second portion more like peaches and cream.
The eighth-grade squad won their third straight outing knocking off Unicoi Middle School 20-14 Tuesday night at Gentry Stadium. The seventh-grade squad set the tone by crushing the Patriots 54-0 in the opening game.
"These kids could have packed it up and called it a year after such a rough start," stated Cyclone head coach John Oakley. "I am really proud of this group of players."
The Cyclones marched 63 yards on their first possession to take an early lead. Bruce Crumley had runs of 15 and eight yards to key the drive while Jordan Meredith found Vic "The Animal" Deloach on a 13-yard pass completion.
Meredith dazzled the crowd racing 10 yards around the left end off the old naked bootleg for a touchdown. He tossed to Deloach on the two-point conversion for an 8-0 advantage.
It took only a matter of second for "The Animal" to strike again. Deloach's strip and recovery of a Patriot fumble gave 'Betsy possession on the 32. Two plays later, Meredith tossed a 32-yard pass to Jerry Berkley increasing the margin at 14-0.
Unicoi had another drive stalled when J.T. Lyons pounced on the loose pigskin to spoil another Patriot scoring opportunity. The half ended at 14-0.
The Patriot got a nice run from Corey Headley early in the third period but two huge defensive stops by Schaun Carter and another by Julian Smith derailed the Unicoi express. Meredith begin to heat up finding Deloach for six yards in the flat.
An excellent grab from Cody Forbes provided 13 additional yards before a fumble stalled the Cyclone march deep in Devil territory.
Matthew Taylor found Chris White for a 38-yard completion, but a batted down pass by Kyle Wash on fourth down in the end zone stopped the Pats once again.
Derek Carr brought the crowd to life racing 60-yards down the sideline for a 20-0 lead. Unicoi got two touchdowns late in the fourth on a 55-yard run by Matthew Taylor, and another when Taylor found Headley for a 65-yard pass completion and touchdown.
Jeremy Simerly and Kendall Wash had outstanding performances for the 'Clones while the offensive line of Zach Coggins, Nick Hubbard, Thomas Cowan and Carter provided some key blocks for the 'Betsy running backs.
"We got most of the kids in the game, so that was a positive," Oakley said. "It was a big win for our football team."
The Cyclones wasted no time getting started when Knox Eryasa took the opening kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown. Preston Itaro tacked on the two-point conversion for an 8-0 advantage.
It only got worse for the Patriots as Itaro added a 55-yard run, increasing the lead at 14-0. After a Logan Loving strip of the football, Dugger found the end zone once again.
Itaro's five yard run gave Dugger a 22-0 lead after the two-point conversion run by Zack Boles. The margin grew when Daniel Moore found a seam off tackle for a 70-yard touchdown. Nick "The Hammer" Jenkins ran the conversion for a 30-0 halftime lead.
Jenkins pounded out some good runs in the third while Justin Bailey had a few of his own. Shawn Shuffler got in on the scoring act with a 3-yard touchdown run.
The final touchdown came when Eryasa found paydirt from 35 yards out. The defense got a good outing from Chris Kelly, who had numerous tackles from his linebacking position.
Drew Shingleton had a good game on special teams, as did Michael Hutchins. Daniel Bowers and Cody Tolley had solid performances.
Zach Marshall, Matt Febuary, Drew Chambers and Kelly created gapping holes for the Cyclone running backs.
The Cyclone close out their regular season next Tuesday at Rider Field against Science Hill. The seventh-grade game is slated for 5:30 p.m. while the eighth grade will begin at 7.