'Betsy rally falls short
By Tim Chambers
If only the Cyclones had been playing horse shoes, the outcome might have been different. Coming up short on three drives in the second half, the freshman football squad dropped a heartbreaking 20-12 contest to Daniel Boone last night at Nathan Hale Stadium.
After falling behind 20-0 in the first quarter, the Cyclones went on to play one of their better games of the year.
"These kids had every opportunity to lay down and quit, but the effort they gave in the second half was outstanding," stated Betsy coach Jerry Jenkins.
The second play in the first period was a bad sign for Elizabethton as Boone's Mitchell Masters scampered 66 yards for a touchdown, giving Boone a 6-0 lead at the 9:38 mark.
Disaster struck on the Cyclones' second play from scrimmage. An errant pitch went astray, with Boone pouncing on the lose pigskin. Two players later, Spencer White found Ben Underwood on a 26-yard touchdown pass.
After stopping 'Betsy deep in Boone territory, Masters found the end zone from four yards out, giving Boone a 20-0 lead with 1:39 remaining in the first quarter.
Elizabethton used a 48-yard kickoff return by Brooks Price to set up its first touchdown. Wendell Loving found Justin Fuqua on a 29-yard halfback pass, setting up a four-yard touchdown run by Jordan Coleman, closing the deficit at 20-6.
"I was well pleased with the way Jordan ran the football," said Jenkins. "He had some big runs for us."
Boone tried to move the football but had a good drive stalled when Ryan Birchfield sacked White on the final play of the half.
The Cyclones marched 54 yards on their opening drive of the third quarter, but a fumble gave Boone possession at the 13. Teddy Avery had a big tackle, then Bo Carter's pressure on the quarterback caused an errant throw, forcing the Blazers to punt.
When Elizabethton's offense retook the field, Coleman ripped off runs of 22 and 10 yards to set up an 11-yard touchdown pass from Wes Anderson to Fuqua. The extra point try failed, leaving 'Betsy trailing 20-12.
Elizabethton regained possession with 3:38 remaining in the game, marching 67 yards for a potential game-tying touchdown. The Anderson to Fuqua combo produced 11 yards, and Price ripped off a 40-yard run to give 'Betsy possession at the 13.
Elizabethton used a Coleman run to set up a fourth-and-goal from the two. A quarterback sneak was stopped within inches of the goal line as Boone hung on for the victory.
"Evan Ellis had a good game, and so did Jesse Potter," Jenkins said. "Loving made some good plays on both sides of the football."
"We tell our kids to never quit," added Jenkins. "I think these kids are going to be outstanding football players in the future."