By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
ELIZABETHTON There was nothing fishy about Elizabethtons performance against Johnson County on Friday night inside of Browns-Childress Stadium. The Longhorns got schooled 42-13 by the Cyclones with its prize catch leading the way.
Ethan Thomas scored four touchdowns and rushed for 182 yards enabling Betsy to remain in a first place tie with Sullivan South at 4-0 for the conference lead. Johnson County (3-1, 4-4) drops to third place and will host the 10th ranked Rebels at home on Friday.
Theyve got a good football team with a lot of players that can beat you, said Longhorns head coach Don Kerley. Theyre good enough to win the state. We moved the ball well at times but couldnt get it in. I was proud of our second half effort because the kids could have quit but they didnt. Well try and build from that.
Elizabethton built a 21-point first quarter advantage and never looked back.
It took them eight plays to go 60 yards and score on their first possession.
Markus Olds reeled in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Armstrong making it 7-0 after the PAT.
Thomas did the honors on their next drive by taking it to the house from 35-yards out extending it to 14-0.
And the highly talented major college recruit was just getting started.
He tacked on another seven-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0. The biggest play on that drive was a 41-yard pass completion from Armstrong to Jaylen Smith.
A nice return by Alex Trussler on the ensuing kickoff gave the Horns good field position at the 45.
Warren Kerleys 13-yard touch pass to Greg Roark highlighted a 10-play, 55-yard scoring march and drew them closer at 21-6.
But they couldnt slow down the Cyclones who would steal back the momentum moments later.
Thomas squirted free for a 27-yard touchdown run which padded their cushion at 28-6. Then Christian Glover picked off Kerleys pass deep inside Johnson County territory to halt what couldnt have been their second touchdown drive.
Thomas continued his Burger King-like performance by piling up some Whopper numbers and having it his way.
His 17-yard touchdown run on their very next possession made it 35-6 after Logan Birchfields fifth PAT. Caleb Jones tacked on a 41-yard TD run up the gut to make it 42-6 at intermission.
It was important to put points on the board because Johnson Countys a good team that can run and throw, said Elizabethtons head coach Shawn Witten. We needed some challenges in the secondary so we tried to get them out of the wing-T and make them throw. We forced two turnovers and stopped them on fourth down a few times. Our defense stepped up and played huge.
Johnson County showed heart by winning the second half battle. And what appeared to be a missed call cost them a touchdown on their first drive to start the third quarter.
Facing fourth and goal at the one and a half, Jordan Grubb appeared to extend the football well beyond the goal line after some surge by Johnson Countys offensive line. But the side judges ruled he didnt get in allowing Elizabethton to take over at the one-foot line.
Johnson County scored the halfs lone touchdown on Cody Bailies eight-yard touchdown reception from Kerley with 6:45 remaining in the fourth quarter. Aaron Osbornes 50-yard catch and run came two plays prior to the score.
The two teams combined for 790 yards of total offense in the game.
Elizabethton complied 316 on the ground and 174 through the air.
Johnson County produced 311, including 230 passing yards.
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