Coming up an eyelash shy… Cyclone junior varsity rally falls short on road at Science Hill
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
JOHNSON CITY – They say close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but they may have to add the football game between the junior varsity units of Elizabethton and Science Hill as a second onside kick in the waning seconds of the contest was about four inches shy when the Cyclones came up with the football according to the official closest to the Cyclone sideline.
That was all the Hilltoppers needed to escape with a 20-14 win over the Cyclones after EHS battled back from a 20-0 deficit in the second half.
Both teams were stingy in the first half as the ‘Toppers were the only team to manage a score when Michaeus Rowe hauled in a 17-yard touchdown reception and Jaysahn Swartz slide the ball across the crossbar for a 7-0 lead.
Science Hill would extend that lead to 14-0 on a Javin Chester two-yard run with 7:44 remaining in the third quarter. Swartz’s PAT split the uprights and the scoreboard read 14-0.
It looked like Science Hill put the nail in the coffin when Kevin Aldridge scampered in from 17 yards away. However, the two-point conversion was no good and the ‘Toppers had to settle for a 20-0 lead.
The Cyclones weren’t going to roll over and play dead however as quarterback Dalton Mitchell found freshman wideout Luke Whaley for a 40-yard scoring strike with 6:49 left in regulation.
Sean Smithdeal booted the PAT and the scoreboard now read 20-7 in favor of the ‘Toppers.
On the ensuing kickoff, Smithdeal placed a perfect ball on the bounce om front of the Cyclone sideline and it was recovered by ‘Betsy.
The Cyclones found the end zone once again with 1:12 remaining to play as Mitchell threw a perfect ball to wide receiver Josh Sweeney and Sweeney did the rest as the sophomore covered 42 yards to pay dirt and all of a sudden it was a ball game at Kermit Tipton Stadium.
Everybody and their brother knew what the Cyclones were going to do and that’s is exactly what happened as Smithdeal drove the ball into the turf and the ball took an Elizabethton bounce and fell in the arms of a Cyclone special teams player’s hands.
However, it was ruled by the official that the ball did not make it the full 10 yards on the kick giving the ball to Science Hill with just under a minute left where they managed to run out the clock.
“They sent a lot and we had a hard time of picking it up,” said Cyclone head coach Brian Jenkins. “We had a hard time picking it up tonight. It was just a great effort tonight.
“We were down 20-0 and made a game of it. We were like an inch away from getting another onside kick. I am proud of the kids for not giving up. We always say that we will play all comers and its great to come play big schools like this. because you have to bring your A-game.”
The Cyclone junior varsity will be playing at home next Monday evening against Cherokee at 6 pm.