What gave was Cyclones’ quarterback Bryson Rollins rushing for three touchdowns and passing for another as ’Betsy cruised to a 45-0 win over the Chiefs.
Rollins helped put the game out of reach in the first half after he tossed an 18-yard TD pass to Parker Hughes and scored on two 1-yard runs.
“With Cherokee being unbeaten we were all hyped up for the game,” said Rollins, who finished the night with 139 yards rushing on 20 carries. “We came out ready to play.”
The Cyclones (5-0) wasted little time establishing their game plan. Taking the opening kickoff, Elizabethton marched 80 yards in 11 plays and went up 7-0 on Rollins 18-yard 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 Rollins 1-yard touchdown burst just 4 seconds into the second quarter.
An Elizabethton interception stopped the Chiefs’ next drive and once again it was the Cyclones ground game that pushed the ball 90 yards in 12 plays — with Rollins skipping the final yard into the end zone for 21-0 lead. With rain pouring down just before halftime, Elizabethton’s 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 down was a 90-minute lightning delay during halftime. That forced homecoming festivities into the school gymnasium before the second half resumed.
It took the Cyclones 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 flood gates 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 too them early,” added Witten. “The guys really played well.”
Cyclones’ senior running back Cade Maupin finished with 131 yards on 21 carries.
Elizabethton’s Zach C. Hartley had two interceptions on the night. He returned the second for 40 yards and a touchdown.
The Cyclones’ Cameron Trimm put the final nail in the coffin with a stunning 68-yard touchdown 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 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.