KEYSER - 1959, 1962, 1965, 1967, 1975, 1984, 1997, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2017.
The Bluefield Beavers have won 11 state football championships in a span covering seven consecutive decades.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - 1959, 1962, 1965, 1967, 1975, 1984, 1997, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2017.
The Bluefield Beavers have won 11 state football championships in a span covering seven consecutive decades. Under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson (twice), Ford, Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush (three times) and Trump, the Beavers have hoisted the state championship football trophy as the best team in the land. They are the defending state champions, have a 10-1 record this year, and are coming off a convincing 56-7 drubbing of Oak Hill in opening round playoff action. Bluefield has their eyes set on the prize this year as well.
That championship pedigree is nice; it tells the tale of a program that has consistently reached the pinnacle of success, and most importantly about a culture of winning, one that dates back generations.  
It is not, however, a guarantee of state championship success this year. Every team is different, every opponent presents a new and different challenge. After all, the Bluefield Beavers may have won 11 state championships in the last 59 years, but that also means that 48 of the last 59 years, they haven’t.
Keyser coach Sean Biser knows the task at hand is great. He also knows, and has confidence in the fact that his team is capable of doing great things. Take for example week three, playing at far off Weir, the Golden Tornado overcame a four touchdown/27 point deficit to come back and win the game 41-40.  
Or the next week, playing within the friendly confines of home, when Keyser overcame a 24-7 second half deficit to AAA Jefferson, scoring 24 unanswered points to defeat the Cougars 31-24.  
How about the final regular season matchup that saw them claim that first round home playoff game? Mountain Ridge came back to tie the game in regular season and force overtime. The Miners scored first in overtime to take the seven point lead. Unrattled, Keyser’s Ryan Shoemaker scored on the next play. Then came the decision to go for two and Keyser’s subsequent 35-34 overtime win.
Keyser wasn’t done yet, more great things were to come.  Wayne came to Keyser with a diversified offensive attack. They would make five trips to the Red Zone on the day and come away with only eight points. Keyser’s defense rose to the occasion four out of five times the Pioneers entered scoring position. Be it stops on fourth and short, an interception, you name it, Keyser’s defense came up big. As did the offense, scoring 28 points against a stingy Wayne defense that had been holding their opponents to less than 160 yards of total offense.
Coach Biser thinks the Wayne win is indicative of the great things this 2018 edition of the Golden Tornado can accomplish.  “We beat a great program and a well coached and hard nosed football team. It was just a direct result of this team’s work ethic and attitude and I couldn't be more proud of them and my coaching staff,” Biser said in response to the Wayne win.  
How did Keyser beat Wayne? According to Biser, “Making them come away empty handed was key to keeping momentum in our favor. Our kids just made some key plays at critical times. We practice those goal line situations a lot and I believe that was a key factor in those stops.”  While the play of both the offense and defense was outstanding, Reggie Redman’s performance on both sides of the ball stuck out. “He's been making plays like that all year long, so his performance Saturday was no surprise to us. He works hard on the field and in the weight room and is a very selfless player and Saturday’s game was no exception. He goes out and does whatever we ask of him and he does it with great effort and a TEAM first attitude.”  
Redman had a key interception at the goal line that stopped a potential Wayne scoring drive, he also had four receptions for 92 yards. One of those receptions was a dramatic catch on third and ten, the other for a long touchdown.
There’s no secret it will take a total team effort from both sides of the ball to defeat a Bluefield team that’s putting up 43 points a game on offense while giving up only 8. It’s a Bluefield team with a massive offensive line that blocks for a stable of backs as good if not better than any Keyser has faced this year, and they’ve seen some great backs.  Defensively, the Beavers yield precious few scoring and big play opportunities, so few that they lead all West Virginia AA teams in points allowed.
In Bluefield, the Golden Tornado will be playing on the biggest of stages, both figuratively and literally.  Bluefield’s Mitchell Stadium seats 10,000 and sits just 500 feet inside the State of West Virginia, within Bluefield’s City Park, which straddles West Virginia and Virginia. Until this year, it was also the home field of Bluefield, Virginia’s Graham High School. The rivalry game between Bluefield (WV) and Bluefield Graham (VA) regularly sees a capacity crowd 10,000 strong and has been featured by ESPN and The Great American Rivalry Series.
“Go big or go home.” Those were Sean Biser’s words in reference to going for two and the win in overtime against Mountain Ridge. They also say if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. With that in mind, the Golden Tornado have a golden opportunity ahead of them. The stage is set, the biggest of stages in fact. Entering last week’s Wayne game, Keyser was 0-4 against the Pioneers, one of the few West Virginia AA programs which can rightfully be called a juggernaut. They came away with a convincing 28-8 victory.  
There’s no secret the word around town is that Keyser will have their hands full at Bluefield.  It seems, however, that this Golden Tornado team thrives on having their hands full.  They’ve consistently done their best in those situations with the most pressure.
Bluefield has won 11 state football championships, their most recent coming just last year. But, Keyser’s Reggie Redman said it best in post-game remarks last Saturday,
“They were state champs last year, there’s nobody that’s a state champ right now.” In other words, as they say in the stock market business, “past performance not indicative of future results.”  
Keyser’s not making the five hour drive to Bluefield to take in the sights, they’re taking that trip to win a football game.