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Bees’ Outstanding Football Season Ends at Elizabethton

For the fourth time in program history, the football season of the Upperman Bees came to an end in the semifinal round of the State Playoffs. The two-time defending Class 4A State Champion Elizabethton Cyclones put a halt to Upperman’s hopeful run to their first-ever Blue Cross Bowl. The Cyclones built a 16-0 lead before the Bees could get settled down Friday night, and punched their own ticket to the championship with a 23-6 victory. Upperman’s season ends with a final record of 12-2.

Elizabethton QB Bryson Rollins accounted for all three Cyclone touchdowns, as he rushed 23 times for 89 yards with two scores, and hit on 12 of 20 passes for 118 yards and another score. Kicker Shawn Smithdeal booted a 22-yard field goal in the first quarter for the other Cyclone score. Elizabethton (13-1) has now won 42 of their last 43 games, and will play for the Class 4A State title for the third year in a row.

Upperman, meanwhile, scratched and clawed for every yard against a stingy Cyclone defense. QB Ty Dutchess, who was a game-time decision after suffering a head injury in the semifinals at Red Bank, had 143 rushing yards on 13 carries, and scored the Bees’ only points on a 31-yard run. Dutchess also had another long run in the third that appeared to be headed for the end zone, but Elizabethton’s Jake Roberts was able to catch up and knock the ball out of Dutchess’ hands, and the Cyclones recovered inside their own 20.

Forced to go to the air in order to catch up, Dutchess struggled, as he completed only 4 of 13 passes for 20 yards and threw one interception. Outside of Dutchess’ production on the ground, the remainder of the Bees’ ground game accounted for only 40 yards on 16 carries.

Elzabethton will take on Tullahoma (14-0) for the Class 4A State Championship, Saturday, December 4, at 10 a.m. central time, at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga.

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