Win salvages .500 season for Cyclone frosh
BLOUNTVILLE -- It was not exactly a thing of beauty, but perhaps, for a team that began the season 0-3, it isn't supposed to be pretty, or easy.
Such was the case for the Elizabethton Cyclones (4-4) freshman squad as it took on the Sullivan Central Cougars (1-6) on Tuesday evening. The Cyclones withstood five of their own turnovers, while forcing eight turnovers from the Cougars, including five in the first half, as they took the 28-20 decision in the season finale.
"It was a good team effort, although these kids need to be called the cardiac kids," said Elizabethton head coach Jerry Jenkins. "It seems every time we get ahead, somehow or another, the other team finds a way to get back in the game. But it's all about their guts, and they show a lot of heart, and that's what it's all about."
Following a scoreless opening period, which ended with Central on the move, the Cougars Eli Bible opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run to put Sullivan Central on top 6-0.
A 19-yard Wendell Loving kickoff return sat up great field position for the Cyclones, and two plays following a 26-yard scamper by Brooks Price, Loving danced around Cougar defenders on his way into the end zone from 25 yards out. Bo Carter added the successful point after to put 'Betsy up 7-6 with just over seven minutes left before the half.
Following an interception by Ryan Birchfield, it appeared as if Sullivan Central caught a break when the Cyclones went three-and-out on their ensuing drive. However, one play later, Aaron Hooker (who was injured on the play) fumbled, giving the ball back to Elizabethton deep in Cougar's territory. Three plays following the turnover, Jordan Coleman found paydirt from 16 yards out, as Carter tacked on the point-after for the 14-6 Elizabethton lead.
After seeing Central cough up the football on the kickoff, it took only three plays for the Cyclones to take advantage of the second gift from the Cougars. Loving took the honors of scoring his second touchdown of the game on a four-yard dash. Carter's kick closed out the first half scoring at 21-6 in favor of the visiting 'Betsy squad.
"Anytime you get turnovers, you have to take advantage of it," said Jenkins.
Although it may have appeared that the Cyclones would run away with the game in the second half, the determined Central squad had other thoughts. An 86-yard drive, which chewed up nearly seven minutes of the third period clock, ended in a nine-yard scoring run by Bible. The two-point try was successful, and Central pulled to within seven, at 21-14, at the end of the third period.
The Cyclones answered back two drives later, following a 17-yard punt return by Loving, to give 'Betsy the ball just outside of their own 30. After three straight, seemingly conservative running plays, Elizabethton dug into its bag of tricks, as on third-and-12, Brooks Price fired a beautiful scoring strike to Justin Fuqua. Carter again added the point-after to place the Cyclones up 28-14 with just under seven minutes remaining.
It appeared as if Elizabethton had the chance to sew up the game on several occasions, but three fumbles kept giving the Cougars opportunities. Fortunately, those opportunities never came to fruition until a scrambling Stone eluded Cyclone defenders on his way to a 41-yard touchdown run, to bring the score to 28-20 after the failed two-point try, with just over 30 seconds remaining.
After the attempted on-side kick attempt did not travel the needed 10 yards for Central, the Cyclones ran out the clock, closing out their season on a good note.
"We got beat pretty bad in the first two or three games, and to finish like we did, we're tickled to death, couldn't be happier," Jenkins said.
Leading statistical leaders for Elizabethton include: through the air, Wes Anderson, who was four of nine for 28 yards, and Price, who was one of one for 20 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, Coleman led the way with 16 carries for 90 yards and a score. Price ran for 48 yards on 13 carries, and Loving gained 41 yards and found the end zone twice on six carries.
Mark Bailey grabbed two interceptions, with Ryan Birchfield and Jessie Taylor each adding one.
|Starhq.com © 2008-2011. All rights reserved. 300 N Sycamore St, Elizabethton, TN 37643|