In a No.1 vs. No. 2 battle, Elizabethton’s Jaxton Holly had the knockout kick.
Holly kicked a 34-yard field goal to send the Cyclones to a 24-21 comeback victory over defending Class 4A Greeneville in a crucial Region 1-4A tilt.
It was the first regular-season loss for the Greene Devils against 4A competition since 2008.
Elizabethton improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in region action.
In front of a packed Citizens Bank Stadium, the game lived up to the hype from the opening kick.
The defenses stole the show early as the teams traded three-and-outs to open the game.
Elizabethton struck first as Bryson Rollins found Parker Hughes at the goal line for a 37-yard touchdown after Hughes wasn’t going to be denied. Holly’s extra point gave EHS a 7-0 lead with 6:22 left in the first quarter.
Each team punted to end the first quarter, but Greeneville evened things up four minutes into the second quarter as Mason Gudger scored on a 21-yard run.
After a miscue on a snap forced an EHS punt, Gudger took the first offensive play 30 yards for the touchdown to give Greeneville a 14-7 lead.
The Greene Devils missed a field goal as the half expired to keep the advantage at 14-7.
Elizabethton’s defense set the tone on the opening drive of the third quarter. After the Greene Devils marched to the one-yard line, the Cyclones turned Greeneville away on fourth and one.
The next Elizabethton drive saw a punt blocked and Greeneville capitalized on the great field positions as Drew Gregg scored on a 13-yard run giving GHS a 21-7 lead with just over two minutes to play in the stanza.
The Cyclones answered in a big way as Zach Hartley broke free and Rollins hit him for a 59-yard touchdown to trim the lead. The Cyclone defense came up big once again forcing the Greene Devils three-and-out on the ensuing drive as the quarter ended with EHS trailing by seven.
The teams traded possessions until Elizabethton got a drive going after starting at their own five. Rollins scored on a QB sneak on fourth down with five minutes remaining and Holly’s kick evened the score at 21-21.
Greeneville was unable to get anything going as Hughes swatted a ball down on third down to force a punt.
That set the stage for the Cyclones.
Elizabethton methodically marched down the field with key runs from Cade Maupins and Rollins. The Cyclones got into position for the winning field goal after Rollins found Maupin on a swing pass that went 16 yards. Holly kicked the Cyclones into the lead with seven seconds remaining.
Greeneville saw two last chance plays snuffed out to set off a celebration amongst the Elizabethton crowd.
Maupin finished the game with 152 yards on 24 carries, while Rollins was 9-of-16 passing for 164 yards. Rollins added 63 yards on the ground.
Hartley finished with 92 receiving yards.
For more photos, click here.