The second ranked Anderson County Mavericks (11-0) move on to round two of the TSSAA Playoffs after a 54-0 rout of Union County. The Mavs will meet a familiar foe this Friday, as the Elizabethton Fighting Cyclones (10-1) come to town.
The two teams met last year in the second round, where Anderson County defeated Elizabethton 38-21.
Elizabethton comes in with a lone loss to Greeneville, the top-ranked team in 4A. This will be the first test for Anderson County this season. Elizabethton will have revenge on their minds, and a spot in the TSSAA State Quarterfinals will be on the line this Friday.
Led by senior standout quarterback Stanton Martin, the Anderson County offense has been unstoppable.
On the year, the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football finalist is 167-of-236 passing attempts for 2,563 yards and 42 touchdowns.
If Martin can continue to play at an elite level this Friday, Anderson County’s offense will be extremely difficult to stop.
The Mavs are averaging 46.8 points a game, and 251.1 yards per game, through the air. It will take many aspects of the game for a defense to slow the Anderson County offense down.
The Mavs average 25 passing attempts per game, so the Cyclones’ secondary better be prepared for a barrage.
On the receiving end, Michael Carroll leads the Mavs in all categories. Martin has found Carroll 59 times this year. Carroll surpassed the 1000-yard mark last week — has 1,003 total yards and 19 touchdowns. Carroll is averaging 91.2 yards a game. Look for Martin and Carroll to connect early and often against Elizabethton.
On the ground, the challenge of stopping the Mavs’ offensively does not get any easier. The duel-headed snake of senior running backs Ryan Moog and Marquis Gallaher is not easy to contain. Both backs are mean, versatile and are used in the passing game, as well. Ryan Moog has 851 yards and ten touchdowns on 104 attempts — averaging 77.4 yards per game. Through the air, Moog ranks third on the receiving list. Moog has accumulated 344 yards on 26 receptions and six touchdowns. Quis Gallaher has 753 yards and 12 touchdowns on 97 attempts — averaging 75.3 yards per game.
Through the air, Gallaher ranks fifth on the receiving list. Gallaher has 13 receptions for 175 yards. Both of these guys are great pass protectors, physical runners, and hard to bring down. Both are key elements to keeping defenses on their heels, and make Anderson County’s offense the elite threat that it is. Credit to the Mavs’ offensive line needs to be given.
If the big boys up front can match-up with Elizabethton, and continue to create running lanes — Both backs could have big impacts this Friday.
The Mavs’ defensive unit will learn a lot about themselves against the Cyclones. The defense is led by sophomore defensive lineman Stone Cummins and senior linebacker Noah Colorusso. Cummins leads the Mavs in tackles with 72, and three forced fumbles.
Colorusso follows with 41 tackles. Both have two sacks on the year, as well. A host of Mavs follow closely behind Colorusso in the tackles category.
The whole unit works sideline to sideline well, and give up very little. The Mavs are giving up on 13.5 points, and 169 yards per game on average.
For the first time this season, Anderson County’s defense will meet an offense that is completely capable of putting points on them. The Cyclones are averaging 42.5 points a game, and 15.5 in the first quarter alone. The Mavs better be ready to play, because a slow start could easily turn into a two-score deficit.
Elizabethton runs a spread offense for the most part, and has a quarterback that is more than capable of delivering.
Quarterback Carter Everett comes into the contest averaging 208.2 yards per game. As a whole, the Elizabethton offense is averaging 242.2 through the air per game, which is complimented with a steady run game that averages 139.5 a game.
With a 381.9 yards per game average — expect Elizabethton to move the football.
The big question is: how will Anderson County respond to adversity?
The Mavs have been comfortable with big halftime leads for weeks now. Do not expect that to happen this week.
Anderson County will face a quality football team this Friday.
Elizabethton has the size, speed, and skill to compete with Greeneville for three quarters. Plus, because of last year’s season ending loss to Anderson County, the Cyclones will come with a little extra steam.
This ballgame might turn into an offensive shootout, so defensive stops will be key. Both offenses will put the points on the board, but the defenses will control the keys to the game — getting off the field, turnovers, and limiting big plays.
If Anderson County can run the football, the Mavs will be able to limit Elizabethton’s possessions and control the clock.
However, one big aspect that has to be a major focus for the Mavs this Friday is penalties. Last week, Anderson County had ten penalties for a total of 86 yards.
If that many flags fly against Elizabethton, it could come back to haunt the Mavs. Composure, execution, and ball control will win this football game.
Expect a high scoring affair, an Anderson County victory, and a TSSAA Quarterfinals date with the top-ranked team in 4A — Greeneville.