Elizabethton didn’t go down without a fight.
The Cyclones battled back and nearly erased a double-digit halftime deficit, but came up short in a 30-24 decision to Anderson County in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs on the road.
The Mavs struck first as Walker Martinez and Nick Moog connected on a six-yard pass. Anderson County pushed the lead to 14-0 early in the second as Gavin Noe scored on a four-yard run.
The Cyclones countered as Dalton Mitchell found Cade Russell for a 24-yard score as EHS trimmed the lead to 14-7 with 6:57 left in the second.
Martinez answered for the Mavs later in the quarter as he hit Bryson Vowell with 3:27 left in the half for the score.
After the extra point was missed, Anderson County led 20-7 at the half.
Elizabethton, however, kept fighting in the second half.
After the EHS defense forced the Mavs to a three-and-out, Mitchell and Russell connected for a 57-yard touchdown three minutes into the half.
Anderson County answered as Tate Russell caught a 37-yard pass from Martinez to extend the lead back out to 28-14.
For the third time of the evening as Russell and Mitchell connected for a 27-yard touchdown, and EHS closed the gap to 28-21 after three complete quarters.
Early in the fourth, Caleb Campbell chipped away at the Mav lead as he hit a 34-yard field goal.
The Cyclone defense rose to the occasion forcing an AC fumble inside the five-yard line.
Elizabethton was unable to get any breathing room as Anderson County recorded a safety and then recovered the onside kick to secure the win.
Mitchell was 14-of-17 for 216 yards, while Russell had 108 receiving yards on three catches. Teddy Orton added 39 receiving yards.
Nate Stephens had 71 yards on 22 carries.
Anderson County saw Martinez go 13-of-20 for 171, while Noe had 116 yards on 25 carries. Moog finished with 84 yards.