Cyclones roll past Hilltoppers in season opener



Elizabethton picked up where they left off last season.

The Cyclones used the one-two punch combination of Bryson Rollins and Parker Hughes along with an opportunistic defensive effort to take a 30-8 victory over Science Hill in the opening game of the season at Citizens Bank Stadium.

With their 16th straight win, Elizabethton extends their winning streak over the Hilltoppers to three games.

The opening possessions saw the teams trying to get something going.

After Hughes intercepted the Hilltoppers on their opening drive, Elizabethton was forced to punt on the ensuing drive. The next Science Hill drive came to a screeching halt after crossing midfield as Cade Russell jumped on a fumble to set EHS up with great field position.

Elizabethton took advantage quickly.

On the very next play, Rollins hit Hughes on a screen that went for a 62-yard touchdown. The Shawn Smithdeal extra point gave EHS a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

The Cyclones pushed the lead to 9-0 in the final minute of the quarter as a long snap sailed over the Science Hill punters head for a safety.

After the teams traded possessions for the opening minutes of the second quarter, Nate Stephens capped off a three-minute Elizabethton drive with a five-yard touchdown run to push the EHS lead to 16-0.

The Hilltoppers answered with a quick drive as Jaxon Diamond found Amare Redd for a 33-yard touchdown, and the ensuing two-point conversion cut the Elizabethton lead in half with just under a minute to play in the quarter.

The Cyclones, however, weren’t going to end the half on a bad note.

Elizabethton quickly moved the ball after Hughes and Rollins connected for a 40-yard gain to pull inside the Hilltopper five-yard line. With seven seconds left in the half, Rollins found Hughes in the endzone for the duo’s second touchdown of the night.

A Smithdeal extra point gave EHS a 23-8 lead at the break.

Science Hill grabbed some momentum to open the second half by recovering an onside kick, but the Elizabethton defense stopped the Hilltoppers on fourth down inside the EHS 20. The teams traded for the rest of the quarter as EHS maintained a 23-8 advantage with 12 minutes remaining.

Each team punted on their first possession of the final quarter. The Elizabethton defense stopped another SH drive as Russell stepped in front of a pass for the interception.

Russell caught a Rollins pass on the next possession to set the Cyclones up inside Hilltopper territory, and Rollins and Hughes finished the hat trick with a 17-yard touchdown with just over two minutes remaining.

Science Hill tried to get back on the board, but Russell nabbed his second interception and third takeaway of the night to ice the game for Elizabethton.

Hughes had 183 receiving yards with eight catches. Rollins finished the night 11-of-16 passing with 231 yards passing while adding 87 yards on 16 carries. Stephens added 45 yards on the ground for EHS.

Smithdeal was 3-for-3 on extra points.

Science Hill’s Diamond finished the game 20-of-36 for 186 yards. Caleb Mazoff had 54 yards rushing for Science Hill.

Elizabethton is slated to host Sullivan East next Friday night.

For more photos, click here.

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