It was a night worth remembering and one that will be talked about for years. Elizabethton christened the newly built Citizens Bank Stadium before a sellout crowd with a 38-13 victory over Johnson County.
It was a historic night for head coach Shawn Witten and his Fighting Cyclones. They moved to 1-1 on the season after dropping a 28-21 contest to Science Hill last week.
“We were trying awful hard to make this night a special night,” said Witten. “I think our guys wanted to make everything so perfect. We had too many penalties but we won our first game on this field. That’s the biggest thing.”
Johnson County tried to downplay all the hype but were hit hard just before the opening kickoff. Payton Fenner had to miss the game due to some severe swelling in his leg. Then the Cyclones proceeded to hit them harder.
Jacob Turner found the end zone from eight yards out with 6:27 showing in the first quarter. Then Jeremiah Turner would add a two-yard plunge to make it 14-0.
The Longhorns blew a golden opportunity to cut the lead in half after driving to the 5-yard line. Three straight incomplete passes gave ‘Betsy the ball back at the three. Then came the game’s biggest play.
Jalen Smith took a short pass from Hunter Tyree and turned it into a 97-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0.
But the Longhorns would fight back in a big way.
Nathan Arnold hooked up with Samuel Icenhour for a 51-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7 at the half.
And it stayed that way until midway through the third.
A 27-yard touchdown pass from Tyree to Drew Bowers would widen the gap. Jacob Turner’s two yard run to start the four quarter extended it to 35-7.
Johnson County’s final score came on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Arnold to Alex Tressler.
Arnold (9-22-1) threw for 142 yards. Cody Bailie had four catches for 40 yards.
“We did some things better this week that we did last week,” said Johnson County’s head coach Don Kerley. “It might have been a different game had we punched it in at the five. They we give up the big touchdown pass. That was a backbreaker.”
The Cyclones play host to Daniel Boone next Friday. Johnson County will host Sullivan Central.