What gave was Cyclones quarterback Bryson Rollins rushing for three touchdowns and passing for another in a 45-0 win over the Chiefs.
Rollins helped put the game out of reach in the first half by tossing an 18-yard TD pass to Parker Hughes and scoring on two 1-yard runs.
“With Cherokee being unbeaten, we were all hyped up for the game,” said Rollins, who finished with 139 yards rushing on 20 carries. “We came out ready to play.”
The Cyclones (5-0) wasted little time establishing their game plan. After taking the opening kickoff, Elizabethton marched 80 yards in 11 plays and went up 7-0 on Rollins’ TD toss to Hughes.
Cherokee (5-1) couldn’t muster any offense on its first possession and, after relinquishing the ball, the Chiefs could do little to stop a 10-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown burst by Rollins just four seconds into the second quarter.
An Elizabethton interception stopped the Chiefs’ next drive and once again the Cyclones’ ground game pushed the ball downfield, this time 90 yards in 12 plays capped by Rollins skipping the final yard into the end zone for a 21-0 lead. With rain drenching the stadium just before halftime, Jaxton Holly booted a 29-yard field goal to give the Cyclones a commanding 24-0 halftime lead.
The only thing that could slow Elizabethton was a 90-minute lightning delay during halftime. That forced homecoming festivities into the school gymnasium before the second half resumed.
The Cyclones needed most of the third quarter to get back on track, but once they did, they blew open the game with 21 fourth-quarter points. Rollins opened the floodgates with his third TD run, this one a 4-yard scamper.
“Tonight’s result was all about how well prepared we were mentally,” said Elizabethton coach Shawn Witten. “It was good to be preparing for the challenge of taking on a good football team.
“We came out tonight and took it to them early. The guys really played well.”
Cade Maupin finished with 131 yards on 21 carries for the Cyclones, who also saw Zach C. Hartley snag two interceptions on the night. He returned the second 40 yards for a TD.
Elizabethton’s Cameron Trimm put the final nail in the coffin with a stunning 68-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter for the final margin of victory.
“The stage was too big for us tonight,” said Cherokee coach Cody Baugh. “We were not as prepared as I’d hoped we’d be.”
Chiefs senior quarterback Collin Trent was held out of the second half as a precautionary measure after dinging up his shoulder late in the second quarter.