Elizabethton proved they were up to the challenge on Friday night. However, Alcoa stayed one break ahead.
The Cyclones saw the season come to a heartbreaking close with a 17-14 loss to perennial power Alcoa in the Class 3A playoffs.
EHS finishes the season with an 11-2 mark – reeling off 11 straight wins.
Elizabethton took the opening drive and moved methodically down the field. A fourth-and-one ended the drive inside Alcoa territory.
On the ensuing play, the Tornado took a swing pass 79 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead as Jalen Myers found Coltton Wright for the score. The teams traded punts as the quarter ended with Alcoa holding a 7-0 lead.
Myers struck again with just under nine minutes remaining in the second quarter. This time, the quarterback escaped for a 16-yard touchdown as Alcoa increased the lead to 14-0.
Elizabethton, however, wasn’t going down without a fight.
Sophomore Corey Russell capped off a strong drive – including hard fought runs by Logan Norman and Russell – with a 27-yard touchdown run. Jaxton Holly added the extra point.
Alcoa moved into the Elizabethton territory in the closing minutes, but a field goal attempt was short. The teams went into the locker with Alcoa holding a 14-7 advantage.
Defense set the tone in the third quarter.
After the teams traded punts, Russell intercepted a Myers pass to set EHS up near their own 40 to start the fourth quarter. However, the offense was forced to punt.
The Tornado increased the lead to 10 points on the next drive with a field goal – which happened after the EHS defense stood strong on the goal line. However, the Cyclones responded with a five-minute drive that was capped off by Russell’s eight-yard score. Holly added the extra point as EHS pulled within three.
The Elizabethton defense forced a punt with 1:34 remaining. However, the Cyclones were unable to get anything going.
Russell finished with 132 yards on 26 carries, while Norman added 63 yards on 13 carries. Jeremiah Turner had nine carries for 33 yards.
Russell finished 6-of-12 passing for 58 yards, while Connor Johnson had four catches for 44 yards.
For Alcoa, Myers finished with 83 yards rushing and 127 yards on 5-of-6 passing.