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Home playoff game at stake for Cyclones, Rebels

Douglas Fritz • Updated Oct 19, 2017 at 7:08 PM

Elizabethton missed its regular season window of opportunity against Greeneville, and now the Cyclones must bounce back with a home-field playoff spot on the line.

“There’s no question you can feel a sense of urgency,” said Elizabethton head coach Shawn Witten. “And there’s no question South will be ready. They are much-improved football team. We expect a tough game.”

The Cyclones will play host to Sullivan South in a key Region 1-4A contest Friday night at Citizens Bank Stadium.

This is the last league game for South (4-1, 6-2) while the Cyclones are 3-1 in the region and 6-2 overall.

What makes South go?

Quarterback Ethan Ward has 1,069 yards rushing to go along with 836 yards passing. He has accounted for 27 touchdowns.

“He’s a phenomenal player,” said Witten. “He has been his whole career, but this year they’ve been able to keep him healthy. He makes a lot of plays, and they do a lot of read plays with him. He reminds you of Corey (Russell). He’s got savvy and toughness.”

Cyclones’ offense

Elizabethton was mostly stuck in neutral against Greeneville, so quarterback Carter Everett, Russell, and receiver Ryan Wetzel will look to regain their previous pace.

Receiver Evan Perkins has developed into a strong complement to Wetzel, so the Cyclones should continue to put points on the board.

Cyclones’ mental approach

“I think we gained a lot of confidence (Friday),” said Witten, whose team was tied 3-3 at halftime with Greeneville before losing 24-10. “We had some areas where we really played well. I thought the secondary really stepped up and answered a lot of questions. And we did a good job of trying to control the tempo on both sides of the ball.

“I think our kids will respond. We know this is a big game for playoff implications.”

Cloudland at Johnson County

The Longhorns are undefeated and certainly a strong favorite, but the Highlanders have enough offensive weaponry to make this one interesting.

However, Happy Valley recently took Cloudland to the woodshed, and a couple of weeks later the Longhorns beat Happy Valley. So this is a mighty big challenge for the Highlanders.

Sullivan North at Sullivan East

This game has a little bite to it this year, even though it’s a non-region contest.

East is fighting for a .500 season while the Raiders are coming off a region championship win over Happy Valley.

Happy Valley at West Greene

The Buffaloes are riding the momentum of an important region win over Unicoi County while the Warriors are getting a little desperate to end a three-game losing streak.

With West Greene facing a key game next week against league rival Chuckey-Doak, Happy Valley might be able to take advantage of the Buffaloes looking ahead.

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