But this is one of those years where the Trailblazers figure to make it quite a battle.
“Both teams are ranked and both are coming off of good wins,” said Elizabethton head coach Shawn Witten. “And Boone is always a tough place to play. There’s no question it will be a great challenge for us.”
Kickoff is scheduled for Friday night at 7:30 at Hale Stadium in Gray.
The Cyclones are 3-0 on the season and ranked No. 3 in the state in Class 4A. Boone is 2-0 and ranked No. 10 in Class 5A.
Elizabethton is participating in the “Touchdowns Against Cancer” national program, which was created in partnership between MaxPreps, Pledge It and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Varsity high school teams and their communities can participate by pledging a donation for every touchdown their team scores in September.
The Cyclone Touchdown Club will accept one-time donations or per-touchdown scored, and 100 percent will go to St. Jude.
To make a pledge, visit pledgeit.org and search for Elizabethton Cyclones.
Witten enters the game with 99 career wins.
He took over the program in 2007, going 4-6 and following it up with a 5-6 mark and his first playoff appearance.
The Cyclones went 11-3 in his third season, reaching the Class 3A state semifinals ― and Witten’s winning ways have consistently followed.
Since the 9-12 start, Witten’s Cyclones have gone 87-27.
WHAT WITTEN SEES
“The first thing that comes to mind when you see Boone is how physical they are on both sides of the ball,” said Witten. “It’s their offense, defense, skill positions, all the way down through the team.”
The physicality this year starts with running back Charlie Cole.
“He’s strong and powerful and he’s a relentless runner,” said Witten. “He runs with a great mindset. He’s a great football player.”
Quarterback Easton Harrell is also a threat, racking up 136 yards rushing in last week’s tough 26-21 win over Tennessee High.
Cole also can cause damage on the other side of the ball.
“He’s a disrupter on defense,” said Witten. “He’s shown signs of that this year, and he’s definitely a guy you have to know where he is all the time.”
WHAT JENKINS SEES
Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins said time of possession will be a key to the game.
“But you have to cash in with points as well,” he said.
Jenkins said his team will have to play well against the Cyclones’ main offensive threats: quarterback Carter Everett and running back Corey Russell.
“They are a really good combo, and they complement each other well,” said Jenkins. “Russell can play anywhere and makes plays on both sides of the ball. Everett does a good job running the offense and has a tremendous arm.”
On defense, Jenkins said the toughness is evident.
“Their defense is always physical in the line of scrimmage, well-coached, and they do a good job getting off blocks and swarming to the ball,” said Jenkins.