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Cyclones nip Mighty Mites ‘Horns 28-27

JC’s Sawyer Marshall #18 breaks free from Evan Chambers for a 52 yard TD.
JC’s Sawyer Marshall #18 breaks free from Evan Chambers for a 52 yard TD.

By Tim Chambers

ELIZABETHTON—The Mighty Mites players might be small in stature but not in heart as proven on Saturday morning at Elizabethton High School.  Johnson County and Elizabethton battled in an old fashioned donnybrook that went down to the wire with the Cyclones earning a 28-27 victory inside of Citizens Bank Stadium.
It was a see-saw battle that went back and forth with neither team able to put the other away. Fans applauded their efforts when the game ended.
It took the Cyclones only one play to score on their first possession.
Evan Chambers took a pitch and raced 60 yards for the game’s first score with Bryson Blevins adding the extra point.
The Longhorns would answer with a huge run on their opening possession.  Sawyer Marshall took the handoff on a fourth and 14 and sprinted 77 yards for a touchdown. Brock Jones converted the PAT to tie the game at 7-7.
The Cyclones were able to mount a 70-yard drive for its next score.
A 45-yard run by Chambers was followed up by a 30-yarder from Blevins. The crafty little quarterback scored on a 6-yard run, then added his second conversion for a 14-7 lead.
Each team had the football only two possessions each in the first half. But they both did a better job of getting off more plays in the second half.
Johnson County got a 20-yard touchdown run by Marshall in the third quarter to tie the game at 14-14.
The Longhorns finally took the lead on a nifty 62-yard run by Marshall late in the third. but their 21-14 advantage would be short lived.
The Cyclones tied the game when Chambers took a screen pass 71 yards for his second touchdown. From there the final five minutes were like a prize fight.
The Longhorns got stuffed on a couple of plays until Marshall broke free for his fourth TD run from 52 yards out.  The Horns tired to run in the conversion, but Chambers made the tackle on the corner leaving the door open for a game winning TD and extra point.
The Cyclones begin their final possession with strong runs by Chambers and Blevins that totaled 53 yards. Blevins dazzled the crowd with a 29-yard touchdown run after a previous TD was called back due to a penalty.
The Longhorns got the ball back with .52 seconds remaining but couldn’t find an opening in the Cyclones’ defense. Their first and second down plays were stopped by Hunter Hopson and Blevins.  Karter Force had a huge quarterback sack on third down and Bo Armstrong had the game’s biggest play when he tackled Marshall on the edge to prevent a possible long TD run.
Marshall amassed 265 yards rushing and four touchdowns to lead the Longhorns. Brock Jones ran for three extra points.
Jones and Marshall led the tackle total with five apiece. Avery Blevins and Hunter McElyea added three each. Kingston Mills, Connor Stout, Camden Johnson and Ian Lewis all collected two.
Chambers rushed for 170 yards and Blevins added 102 to lead the Cyclones. They also combined for the 71-yard screen pass and score.
Force, Blevins, Hopson and Chambers had four tackles apiece for Betsy. Armstrong was in on three.

Elizabethton 12 (overtime)
Johnson County 6
The second game was dominated by defense as neither team was able to dent the scoreboard until the second half.
Carson Guinn put the Cyclones in front by scoring the game’s first touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Johnson County would tie the game on a 3-yard TD run by Carson Jennings, but neither team could convert their PAT which sent the game into overtime.
Guinn put the Cyclones on top with his second TD of the game. Johnson County had a chance to tie but was stopped on downs just inches from the goal line.
Nathaniel Walker had 66 yards to lead the rushing for Johnson County. Kaden Blevins bulled his way for 43 yard, Jennings had 21 and Kyle Maple provided five.
Juan Meija and Maples led the defense with seven tackles apiece. Walker provided six and Christopher Canter produced four.  Hayden Parker, Jennings, Hunter Paisley, Connor Gentry, Jamie Jones and Carter Atwood were in on three apiece. Paisley also had the game’s only interception.
Guinn carried 12 times for 108 yards to lead the Cyclones. Justin Whitehead compiled 70 yards on the ground and John David Hooks reeled off 38. Rhett Slagle chipped in with 30 rushing yards.
Colton Killion, Jacob Wilson and Brayden Rainwater had two tackles apiece for losses.
Jason Bowling and Whitehead had six tackles each for Betsy. Hooks and Slagle added four each. Braxton Avery and Tucker Taylor collected two each. Gage Stout was in on one and William Bowers played a strong game.

Junior Pee Wee
Elizabethton 12
Johnson County 0
It wasn’t the win they needed but head coach Travis Brown loved how his team played on Saturday.
“I thought our line blocked better today than in the previous game,” said Brown. “The defense stepped up and played, but we couldn’t put the ball in the end zone although we moved it well between the 20’s.
Graham Reece played outstanding at quarterback, completing four passes and had another two dropped. Noah Brown added a nice catch and run and a stellar defensive game.
Nate Dorman racked up eight tackles to lead Johnson County’s defense. Evan Dollar and Ethan Simcox collected five each.