Elizabethton jumped out early and never looked back to keep things rolling.
The defending back-to-back Class 4A state champion is back in the Class 4A State Championship game after the Cyclones captured a 23-6 victory over Upperman in the semifinals at Citizens Bank Stadium.
With the win, Elizabethton advanced to take on Tullahoma at 11a on Saturday in Chattanooga at Finley Stadium. Tullahoma defeated Haywood 44-19 to earn their spot in Chattanooga.
The Cyclone offense set the tone and the EHS defense took care of the rest.
Elizabethton took a 3-0 lead on their first possession of the night as Sean Smithdeal hit a 22-yard field goal.
Elizabethton’s special teams received a huge play on the ensuing kickoff as the kick bounced back towards a group of Cyclones and EHS recovered the ball.
That set up a 28-yard score as Jake Roberts caught a Rollins past for the score as EHS pushed the lead to 10-0.
Elizabethton maintained a 10-0 lead after a quarter of play.
While the Cyclone defense continued to make Upperman work for every inch, Elizabethton’s offensive attack struck early in the second quarter as Rollins scored on a seven-yard run.
The extra point was blocked as EHS held a 16-0 lead – which was the halftime score.
Upperman looked poised to get back in the game early in the third quarter, but Elizabethton’s Roberts forced a fumble inside the Elizabethton 20.
After Upperman got on the board late in the third, the Cyclone defense stopped the two-point conversion to keep it a two-score game.
The Elizabethton defense continued to limit Upperman in the final quarter – including a huge sack from Trenton Taylor on fourth down in the final minutes.
That set up a 14-yard touchdown from Rollins, which set off the celebration.
Rollins had 89 yards on 22 carries, while he went 12-of-20 for 118 yards through the air.
Roberts had 84 yards on nine catches to go along with a fumble recovery and interception.
Upperman’s Ty Dutchess had 13 carries for 143 yards and was 4-of-13 passing for 20 yards.
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