BY NIC MILLER, Elizabethton Star
As many spring sports begin wrapping up this time of year, one familiar team is just getting started. Although their season doesn’t start until August, the Elizabethton Cyclones football team is getting a head start as they began spring practice last week.
Led by their head coach, Shawn Witten, the Cyclones hope to keep carrying on their tradition of excellence.
Along with Witten, this year’s senior class is looking to step up as it is now their time to be the leaders of the squad.
When asked how starting early in May helps prepare the team for their upcoming season, Witten replied, “Spring practice is always good for the guys that don’t play any other sports and those who put a lot of time in the weight room. You get to see what the strengths and weaknesses of your team are going to be going into the summer.
“You get to see the things you need to work on and it’s always a good challenge because you know what you have to work with along with switching people’s positions.
“Another great thing is seeing where the leadership is going to come from after losing a lot of great seniors—seeing who is going to fill those shoes.”
As far as the rebuilding aspect of this year’s team after losing many starters on both sides of the ball, Witten added, “We aren’t going to have many seniors, but the seniors we do have are mainly interior guys with our younger guys filling the skill positions.
“On the D-line, we have (Joseph) Kechter coming back leading that position and up front, on the offensive side, we have some young leaders in upcoming junior Cole Morganstern and upcoming sophomore Conner Johnson.
“It’s also really good to see (Jordan) Haynes, Deuce (Morton), and Blake (Stewart) at the inside linebacker position, and seeing where Carson (Stresemann) is going to fit in,” continued Witten. “I think we have strength in there- we just have to work on some other small things and see what other pieces fit in because you never know who is going to surprise you.”
One upcoming senior who has been working very diligently this offseason, Carson “Chester” Stresemann, had this to say when asked how spring ball helps get everyone refreshed and on the same page.
“We are really taking spring practice this year to learn new things and get everyone on the team fundamentally ready for summer practice. We are trying to get people in new places and see what will best fit us this season.
“And, as always, we are working hard in the weight room to get bigger and faster. We are a team that really thrives on our hard work and dedication.”
After losing a ton of starters last season, it is vital for the upcoming seniors this year to step up and take control of the team on and off the field.
One senior, wide receiver Zach Hartley, stated, “It’s always tough losing seniors especially as good as the last group was. But you’re still going to face adversity in life and it always comes down to who wants it most.
“As a team, we are a little bit younger but we have a lot of size. I think that all of our seniors this year are ready to face that adversity and make the team great.
“We have been working hard for three long years and it’s our time to lead the team and continue the tradition of greatness that comes with Cyclone football,” continued Hartley.
“When we are not on the field, we spend every second in the weight room getting bigger, stronger, and faster to take on any obstacle that comes along this year.”
With the season fast approaching, the Cyclones are breaking things down and learning the basics once again to prepare for this fall.
There is no doubt that this Cyclone football team, and more importantly the upcoming seniors, are going to be ready to continue the tradition of dominance that is closely associated with Cyclone football.