Cyclones keep going

Weston Jeffers: 213 yards passing
Derek Nave: 15 tackles

  ROGERSVILLE--The Elizabethton Cyclones are making reservations to be in Bluff City next Friday night. Cherokee will play the part of sitting bull at home in the wigwam after getting ambushed on the Chiefs' battlefield.
  Before a large crowd, "Betsy took a commanding 21-0 lead in the first half and never looked backing, knocking off the Chiefs 28-8 in a first-round Class 4A playoff game before a large crowd at the Red Range.
  "It was an all-out effort by our team tonight," stated Cyclone head coach Eddie Pless, whose teams will Sullivan East for a second-roudn game. "I thought my assistant coaches did a great job of preparing our football team for Cherokee."
  After forcing Cherokee to punt on its first possession, the Cyclones got great field position at the 47-yard-line. Weston Jeffers found Derek Nave for a 21-yard completion, but the drive stalled after two passes missed their mark.
  Brian Freeman's 43-yard field goal attempt was short, keeping the game tied at zero. Cherokee wasted a 24-yard run after David Lyons pounced on a Chiefs fumble that led to Elizabethton's first score.
  On the third play of the drive, Steven Bowers burst up the middle for a 26-yard touchdown, giving 'Betsy a 7-0 advantage with 5:13 remaining in the first quarter. Freeman added the PAT.
  "We knew that the line was make holes for us, we just had to try and get through their secondary," said Bowers. "Our coaches had us prepared for everything they dished out."
  The Cyclones had another opportunity to pad its lead, but Freeman missed on a 26-yard attempt after the snap got mishandled, and the ball never got on the tee.
  The black attack defense used an interception by Levi Hooten to foil the Chiefs' next drive. Elizabethton took a 14-0 lead at the 9:32 mark of the second quarter.
  James Peterson's 30-yard run added and a 10-yard pass completion from Jeffers to J.C. Atkinson set the stage for the top play of the evening. Jeffers found Hooten on a slant pattern at the nine as the 5-11, 150-pound senior carried three would-be tacklers into the end zone for the 14-point margin.
  "I just kept driving my feet because I wanted to reach the end zone," stated Hooten. "I knew we needed a big play at that time."
  The Cherokee running game was about extinct as a dinosaur working road construction in a pink pair of shorts. Atkinson made a great play to prevent a touchdown while Charles Peters added another one good enough to make the ESPN highlight reel.
  The Jeffers to Ryan Kennedy connection was working its magic near the end of the half. Kennedy had a remarkable 55-yard catch and run and later appeared to score on a 17 yard pass reception, only to be ruled down at the 1.
  "I was hoping some passes would come my way," added Kennedy. "I was determined that if they got it near me that I was going to catch it."
  Jeffers bulled his way in for a 21-0 lead with 4:00 remaining in the half. The Cyclone defense sputtered on Cherokee's last possession before the half.
  Three passes from Jared Coffey, one to Josh Ferrell and two more to Eric Richardson, set the stage for the Chiefs' only touchdown, which came on a Coffey one-yard plunge. 'Betsy led 22-8 at the half.
  Defense was the name of the game in the second half as the offensive units from both squads failed to allow the offense in the end zone. Jake Berkley spoiled Cherokee's deepest threat when Jake Berkley's interception and 45-yard return of a Coffey pass led to the Cyclones' final score.
  "Our coaches did have us ready for everything they did," added Berkley. "I knew we would have some opportunities for interceptions during this game."
  "Bulldozer" Bowers plowed his way in from one yard out as the Cyclones avenged last year's upset when the No. 4 Chiefs knocked off Elizabethton.
  Jeffers had another stellar evening, completing 14-of-20 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown.
  "I wanted to come out early and play well after the way I played last week," stated Jeffers. "We came out with a lot of confidence and were able to do the things needed to win this football game."
   Nave set the stage on the defensive side with 15 tackles, five coming in the early stages of the first quarter. His totals would have been more had Cherokee not elected to throw the ball 28 times.
  "I knew if we could stop their run and force them to pass they couldn't beat us with a one-dimensional offense," stated Nave. "All the guys on this football team stepped up tonight and our coaches did a great job at getting us ready for this game."
  The secondary play of Charles Peters, Nathan Bishop, Preston Smith, Hooten and Berkley was outstanding. Coffey, player of the year in the IMAC, had trouble finding open receivers and appeared frustrated throughout the second half.
  Bowers and James Peterson combined for 109 yards rushing to lead the ground game while Kennedy hauled in four receptions totaling 90 yards. Bowers (3 receptions for 37 yards), Hooten (3-31), Nave (2-29) and J.C. Atkinson (2 for 26) were focal points for Jeffers and the Cyclone offense.
  "We had three good days of practice last week and it carried over during the game tonight," Pless said. "I thought Levi (Hooten) and Steven (Bowers) had great games tonight.
  "Ryan continues to be unbelievable. Just get it near him and there's a good chance he'll catch the football. Overall our entire team played outstanding. Now we got to get ready to play a very good Sullivan East football team."