ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Elizabethton has been heavy favorites in their past two Class 4A state championship games, but the Cyclones are going into Saturday’s title tilt against Tullahoma with an ‘underdog mentality.’

The Carter County squad features a 13-1 mark with their lone loss coming to Greeneville in week three of the season. Following that stumble, the Cyclones have bounced back with 12-straight victories, including a 23-6 triumph over Upperman in the state semifinals.

Head coach Shawn Witten knows most people wrote his team off at some point this season, but he’s got full confidence that his squad belongs in the state championship.

“We’ve definitely earned the right to be here, a lot of people have counted us out since that early loss, but we’ve played a tough schedule at tough locations,” Witten said.

Experience isn’t lacking with this Elizabethton team with most of the seniors and juniors playing crucial roles over the past couple of years. Another thing that’s abundant is motivation, which Elizabethton junior defensive end Bradley Cannon credited to all the skeptics.

“We love people doubting us, it gives us fire going into the next game and we really put it all out there on the field,” Cannon said.

Quarterback Bryson Rollins has been a staple of this offense over the past couple of years, but the senior has stepped up this season with 1,645 passing yards and 22 touchdowns while also chalking up 1,420 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Rollins knows how special this year could be for him and his fellow upperclassmen.

“It just feels really good for those seniors and for those guys who worked really hard and I think we like the underdog mentality.”