Congratulations to EHS Cyclone Football Team
After a summer of uncertainty, the Elizabethton community welcomed the crash of helmets and buzz of Friday night lights when high school football resumed this past fall.
The fate of the season was in doubt until only weeks before kick-off because of COVID-19.
The Elizabethton Cyclones were anxious to play and to defend their state title and to extend their unbeaten record. And, they did it again Saturday winning the Tennessee 4A Championship Title and extending their winning streak to two seasons and 30 games. They not only have made their school proud, but the entire Elizabethton community, and all of Carter County and Northeast Tennessee.
Our new way of life may not look the same, but fall sporting events such as football have brought our communities back together and have given residents a much needed physical and psychological outlet.
The season has had its challenges due to COVID-19. Some schools have had to cancel games. The Cyclones have had a healthy respect for the virus and its spread. There were a few isolated incidents of COVID among team members, but it never kept them from competing.
Some readers may disagree, but we feel time-honored traditions such as fall sports and homecomings are a rite of passage, just as much as proms and graduations are. Sadly, many of last year’s seniors missed out on their proms and graduation.
While some would say these activities are not essential, sports are a way of life to many students and their families, some of whom may be hoping to earn college scholarships.
These events also generate revenue for the school and help fund programs, equipment and facilities.
We commend Elizabethton High School for doing their due diligence and putting measures in place to keep our kids and the fans safe during this pandemic.
High school football remains special in Northeast Tennessee — not just for those directly involved or even the schools, but for entire communities, especially the smaller ones.
Fans in Elizabethton and elsewhere don’t go to games for an evening’s diversion or entertainment, or wear a school’s color simply because its name is on their diplomas. They’re looking for something to take pride in and brag about, especially when there are school and community rivalries involved. (And yes, some of them are looking to relive their own glory days on the field or the sidelines; there’s nothing wrong with revisiting one’s youth for a couple of hours.)
Life lessons can be learned from being part of a team — a cog in an entity greater than yourself — in a setting where you’re pushed to your physical and mental limits, but are expected to go beyond them, persevere against adversity and emerge a winner.
The entire Elizabethton football team are champs. It isn’t just about the team quarterback, Bryson Rollins; his fan-favorite receiver, Parker Hughes; or Jake Roberts, who showed his stuff in the championship game by making two defensive touchdowns; or about Trenton Taylor and Wesley Irwin, the big boys who are the defenders of the guys who score, but it’s also about those second stringers, who anxiously but patiently await their turn to play, who practice hard every day and unselfishly cheer the team on at every game.
Carter Countians can be stubborn and don’t like being told what to do. But, they also love their Friday night football, and with proper safety precautions, Elizabethton, Hampton, Happy Valley, Cloudland and Unaka completed their seasons and the playoffs. This year is in the books as the time when we overcame COVID together.
Again, congratulations to the Cyclones on their repeat as state champs and another undefeated season.