Elizabethton victory stems from defense

   The Cocke County Fighting Cocks came into Brown-Childress Stadium on Friday night having scored better than 30 points in each of it's last two contests.
   Needless to say both of those games produced victories that propelled the Roosters into the TSSAA 4-A playoffs.
   Cocke County senior QB Jerome Carmichael had a solid season - throwing for 1,200 yards and rushing for 333 more and EHS knew that stopping him would be the key to success on Friday night.
   Friday night was as far as Cocke County would get however, due to some astute coaching by head coach Tommy Jenkins and defensive coordinator Jim Perkins.
   What they saw on film was the Cocke County opponents taking too much of an upfield rush in attempting to contain Carmichael.
   "There is a specific way to defend against the veer," Jenkins said earlier in the week. "We will be telling our (defensive) ends to stay at home and not overpursue."
   That simple strategy worked wonders as DE's Eric Cannon and Evan Lindauer each had tremendous games as the Cyclones almost completely shut down the Roosters offensively.
   Cannon and Lindauer did what they were coached to do, and that was to simply stay at home and wait for the play to come to them.
   Carmichael was never able to get the Fighting Cocks offense rolling with any consistency.
   Carmichael finished with eight-for-18 passing for just 37 yards and had three passes intercepted by the Cyclones. Mitchell Blevins took one pick 55 yards to open the second half and give Betsy a 22-0 advantage.
   Even when Betsy made mistakes like not covering the opening kickoff and giving Cocke County prime field position at the EHS 18 yard line to open the contest - the defense stepped up and made sure the miscue didn't hurt the Cyclones chances.
   "We were very fired up on defense this week," said EHS senior strong safety Michael Porter. "We knew we couldn't let Carmichael get loose on the outside, so we changed things up on him. We had me and Vince (Redd) on contain and our ends did a great job. Evan Lindauer had a big game."
   A big hit by LB Vince Redd on Carmichael in the second period gave him some second thoughts on following through with his option fakes as well.
   "You could see that he was looking to see where Vince was the rest of the night," Porter said. "I would too if someone as big as Vince was bearing down on me play after play. Really, everyone stepped up last night, especially the seniors. We aren't ready to hang up our pads just yet."
   Cocke County head coach Wes Jones admitted that Carmichael was frustrated by the Cyclones defense in the aftermath of the contest.
   "We worked things differently than most teams had," said Porter. "We had our LB's going straight at him, which freed up both safeties. So he never knew when we were in man and when we were in zone."
   Next up for Betsy is a trip to Morristown and a contest with Five Rivers champion Morristown West Trojans. Betsy scrimmaged the Trojans in the pre-season so they will not be totally unfamiliar with the high-powered Trojans.
   "We had a scrimmage with them so we know a little about them," commented Porter. "They have a lot of team speed, but our team has come a long way. Our offensive and defensive lines are better. We are a more mature team and we will be more prepared when we play them."