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Devils fall to 'Betsy

Even in a new league, the Elizabethton High School football team continues to show dominance.
The Cyclones touched down at Gentry Stadium and earned a 35-0 win over Unicoi County High School on Friday, Sept. 18, to stay perfect in Mountain 8 Conference action.
Elizabethton moved to 3-1 on the year, while the Blue Devils slipped to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
“It has been year, after year, after year,” said UCHS head coach Glenn White. “They have a good program over there, but we’re going to keep at our goals, keep getting the kids that want to come out and play. We’ve done that a lot this year, but it is a matter of keeping it going. We’re still alive in the conference standings.
“Our goal is to build a program that can compete with these teams and with the help of the coaching staff, we will do that.”
UCHS outgained the Cyclones on the ground 102 to 96, but it was constant pressure on Blue Devil quarterback Hunter Hensley that caused a myriad of problems offensively, with the Cyclones out-gaining Blue Nation 277 to -2 yards through the air.
The Cyclones dissected the secondary early in the first quarter when Hunter Tyree (15-22 passing, 277 yards, 4 TDs) connected with touchdown throws to wideouts Drew Bowers (17 yards) and Conner Johnson (50 yards) to prop Elizabethton up, 14-0, heading to the second quarter.
Cyclone Jalen Smith gave Tyree his third passing touchdown with a scoring reception from 24 yards out and Jeremiah Turner added a 3-yard rushing touchdown to give Elizabethton the 28-0 advantage at halftime.
The Blue Devils did not quit, White said. And the players showed that on the field. Dylan Lewis hauled an interception down for a 30-yard return for UCHS right before intermission and the team also allowed just one more score in the second half against a variety of first team Cyclones.
“I liked the reaction compared to last week coming out of halftime,” White said. “I’m proud of the boys; I’m proud of the coaches. We kept fighting until the whistle blew and we never gave up, and that’s what Blue Devils do. We control our own destiny for a winning season and getting into the playoffs.”
Cameron Higgins led the Blue Devils with 13 carries for 50 yards for the UCHS rushing attack. Eli Gillis added some sparks across the board with a handful of returns on special teams.
Senior lineman John Burnett paced the Blue Devil defensive effort with a team-high seven stops. Brandon Spencer added a couple of sacks in the second half to go along with three tackles.
UCHS will need to polish up across the board while they rest up during their bye week, White added. The Blue Devils jump back into conference action on Friday, Oct. 2, with a road trip to Afton to face Chuckey-Doak – a team that boasts a perfect league record with wins over Claiborne and Johnson County.
“We just have to get ready to get better,” White said. “I fully expect us to win at Chuckey-Doak. It is the perfect time for an open week then we get a fall break, so our guys will have some rest. There are some bruises we need to take care of, but we’re going to polish things up, work on technique and just prepare to continue toward our goal of having a winning season.”
The Blue Devils can find a bit of excitement in the final five games on the year with three of the road. During the first half of the season, the Blue Devils’ two wins came on the road, while the three losses came at home.
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UCHS junior varsity opened last week with a loss to Happy Valley with a contingent of Warrior varsity members getting reps in the contest.
The Blue Devils were expected to welcome the Elizabethton junior varsity on Monday, Sept. 21, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
Due to open week, the varsity does not have a game on Friday, Sept. 25, but the junior varsity will be back in Gentry Stadium on Monday, Sept. 28, against North Greene with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.
Any schedule changes announced to The Erwin Record will be posted online.