Mavs upended

Elizabethton fires on all cylinders to beat ACHS in second round of playoffs

  • Anderson County’s Tate Russell (1) and Anthony White shut down an attempted Cyclone screen pass during the second-round game of the TSSAA playoffs. - Ken Leinart

  • Anderson County’s Eli Braden tried to get outside against an aggressive Elizabethton defense Friday night. - Ken Leinart

  • Anderson County’s Anthony White makes a great play in the open field against an Eliza- bethton receiver. - Ken Leinart

  • Zach Sahannon’s jersey gets a little tug as he’s blocked on a Bryson Rollins run. - Ken Leinart

The postseason run of the Anderson County Mavericks came to a disappointing end Friday night with a 45-7 loss to visiting Elizabethton.

“They’re [Elizabethton] really good,” said Davey Gillum, head coach of the Mavericks.

“They would be hard to beat if we were at full capacity, and we’re definitely not. Offensively, we had a hard time getting anything going. We had penalties and fumbled snaps and it just kind of snowballed,” he said.

“It would have been hard to beat them if we played close to perfect, but we weren’t anywhere close to that as far playing clean, penalty wise,” Gillum said. “They’re good on both sides of the ball and their quarterback is special. Their O-line is really good.”

The Cyclones got on the scoreboard with 9:13 left in the first quarter when quarterback Bryson Rollins found Jake Roberts on a 30-yard touchdown pass. Sean Smithdeal kicked the extra point to stake Elizabethton to a 7-0 lead.

The Mavs’ offense sputtered and was unable to sustain a drive and was forced to punt the ball away.

Later in the quarter, the Cyclones put together a 10-play 64-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Rollins to Roberts. Smithdeal added the extra point to give Elizabethton a 14-0 lead going into the second quarter.

The second frame resembled the first as Anderson County struggled offensively and the Cyclones added two more touchdowns.

Rollins ran one in from five yards out and Smithdeal kicked the extra point to give Elizabethton a 21-0 lead with 9:51 remaining in the first half.

With just 1:49 to go before the half, Nate Stephens scored on a 47-yard run and Smithdeal kicked the extra point to extend the Cyclone’s lead to 28-0 heading into halftime.

The bright spot for the Mavs came in the form of the second-half kick-off when Garrison Terry returned the kick 88 yards for the score. Josh Velero kicked the extra point to trim the Elizabethton lead to 28-7.

Both offenses struggled in the third quarter, but the Cyclones put together a drive late in the quarter that was capped by a four-yard touchdown run by Cade Russell. Smithdeal added the extra point to give Elizabethton a 35-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Cyclones opened scoring in the fourth quarter with a 26-yard field goal from Smithdeal.

Later in the quarter they scored a touchdown on a 44-yard run by Stephens. Smithdeal booted the PAT to make the final 45-7.

The Cyclones’ defense clamped down tight as they held Gavin Noe to 63 yards rushing and shut down the Anderson County passing attack.

Defensively, Anthony White led Anderson County with 15 tackles and an interception. Eli Davis had 11 tackles, while Nick Moog had 10 and Zach Shannon had eight, including a sack.

Though this season is over, the Mavs enter the off season with the promise of next season as they return several key players such as junior Gavin Noe, who finished the year with 1,492 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing.

Junior Bryson Vowell will also return. He led Anderson County in receiving with 45 catches for 690 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Junior quarterback Walker Martinez will return after appearing in only eight games this season due to injury.

In limited action, Martinez threw for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns. Freshman Cody Miller, who spelled the injured Martinez, comes back with game experience.

Nick Moog will also return. Moog was the second-leading rusher with 405 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. He also tied for the team lead in total tackles this season with 97, along with five sacks, three fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles.

“We’ve got a lot coming back,” Gillum said. “We bring 85 percent of our team back. If we develop our O-line and D-line, that will be the tale of the tape for us. Potentially, it could be the best we’ve been in a little while.”

The Cyclones advance to face Greeneville in the third round of the playoffs.

The Mavs ended their season with six wins and six losses between the regular season and playoffs.