ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – The high school football season starts in about three-and-a-half months, but the journey to protect their crown has already started for Elizabethton.
Shawn Witten and his staff return big contributors from last years season including quarterback and Mr. Football finalist Bryson Rollins. Wide receiver and defensive back Jake Roberts is also returning to the squad. Witten is excited about these pieces coming back, but knows this team has a target on their back.
“Everybody’s coming for the Cyclones, so our guys have been working really hard, no different than any other year. Just got new faces, new names and we got to get guys stepping up and filling in those roles.”
Some of the slack that needs to be picked up is from Mr. Football winner Parker Hughes, who was Rollins’ top target last season along with being a ball-hawking defensive back.
Also missing from the roster this season is linebacker Deuce Morton, along with offensive linemen Wesley Erwin, Colby Garland and Cole Morganstern. Senior outside linebacker TJ Little mentioned how the Cyclones will try to fill the void of these former players.
“Work ethic, that’s all it’s going to boil down to, it’s how hard we’re willing to work to beat that Green team and some new guys that we have on our schedule this year,” Little said.
Senior defensive lineman Grayson Hatfield said they’ve got to focus on the little things, which will lead to bigger results like a state title.
“We’re not focused on state championships right now, we’re focused on day by day, coming up to Science Hill,” Hatfield said. “I think we just got to stay smart and come every day and don’t miss days.”