ROMNEY - On a beautiful summer evening the Golden Tornado Alumni stepped onto Romney's Rannels Field and physically pounded the Hampshire Alumni 38-0.
In order to skunk the opposition in convincing fashion the proud Keyser alumni approached this game the same way they did when playing for the Golden Tornado in high school. Keyser football head coach Sean Biser talked about the teams competitive approach, “We have a bunch of guys that love the game of football. Its an opportunity for us to come together and have team comradery. Our attitude is, you play to win the game.” Somewhere in Tempe Arizona coach Herm Edwards nods his head in agreement.
In order to get prepared for the game the team practiced on Sunday afternoons and Tuesday evenings starting four weeks prior to game day. Last week Keyser put in extra time to make sure the team was fully prepared with practices on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday leading up to the game on Friday. The defensive preparation paid off for the Golden Tornado as they collected a goose egg holding Hampshire scoreless throughout the contest. On the flip side of the ball the Keyser offense displayed a balanced attack ripping apart the Trojan defense on the ground and in the air.
In the first quarter, 2017 graduate Deavonta Johnson showed off his twin turbo feet taking a handoff to the house for a touchdown to give Keyser an early lead. In the 2nd quarter QB Cody Eversole showed off his touch by tossing a nice spiral into the air towards the corner of the endzone hitting WR Tyrell Clay on the fade route to score the second touchdown of the game.
The next time Keyser’s offense hit the field Deavonta Johnson torched the Trojan defense once again rushing for a 62 yard touchdown to give the Golden Tornado a three possession lead heading into halftime. Johnson talked about what it was like to be back on the field, “It feels like I never left. It felt good to play in the black and gold again.” Hampshire was hoping to get back in the game after a break during halftime but dreams were quickly dashed as Keyser kick returner #32 Garrett Crites followed his wall of blockers then turned on the afterburners to score a 78 yard kick return touchdown to give the Golden Tornado a 30-0 advantage. Keyser added another score in the 4th quarter as #34 Vinnie Cuthbertson caught a pass in the endzone to effectively give the Golden Tornado a 38-0 victory.
While the guys who score the touchdowns get all the press, the real battle was won on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Golden Tornado physically manhandled Hampshire at every position battle. Coach Biser explained, “Our football team is kind of like an old grizzled piece of side meat, that you can’t chew and get down, with some hot sauce thrown on top with all the skills guys. Our lineman are the old grizzled meat.” While the lineman surely would settle for a steak dinner in appreciation for their efforts on the field, it was Tyrell Clay who took home MVP honors.
The black and gold fan support was simply incredible. At the end of the 3rd quarter Keyser was blowing out Hampshire 30-0, yet the away stands were still packed full. Coach Biser elaborated, “We tell our kids all the time that Keyser is a football town and it always has been. Keyser is a football community and that proves it right there.”
It was obvious that performing celebrations after touchdowns were not rehearsed during practice. In fact it was fun and simply amusing to watch former Keyser athletes attempt outlandish celebrations, considering they have been taught to hand the football to the ref after hitting pay dirt. If there was one area I thought needed vast improvement it was the TD celebrations.
Next Up ... Winfield?
During the 2nd half with the game clearly in control, chatter was starting along the Golden Tornado sideline regarding what opponent might be next for this alumni team. The victory over Hampshire improves the Keyser Alumni record to 4-0. When glancing around the state for potential teams to play, another undefeated squad stood out, the Winfield Generals. According to Sean Biser, “There is a strong possibility we will play Winfield next year.”