KEYSER - For the 26th time in school history, the Keyser Golden Tornado will square off against the Berkeley Springs Indians, a fellow Potomac Valley conference member. Unlike last week, where most projected Keyser to be in a dogfight with Robert C. Byrd, the Black and Gold will enter Friday's contest at home against Berkeley Springs a decided favorite.
By Chapin Jewell
KEYSER - For the 26th time in school history, the Keyser Golden Tornado will square off against the Berkeley Springs Indians, a fellow Potomac Valley conference member. Unlike last week, where most projected Keyser to be in a dogfight with Robert C. Byrd, the Black and Gold will enter Friday’s contest at home against Berkeley Springs a decided favorite.
Keyser opened the season with a physically dominating 56-7 victory over RCB in a game that the score, not necessarily the victory, opened quite a few eyes. In that game, the Golden Tornado outgained Byrd 457-46 on the ground and 494-119 in total offense overall. Crazily enough, 62 of Byrd’s 119 total yards came on the game’s first two plays from scrimmage. Defensively, Keyser completely shutdown Byrd the rest of the way; offensively, Keyser had their way with RCB, scoring eight touchdowns and seemingly at will.
That dominating win was good enough to propel Keyser all the way up to the third spot in the West Virginia MetroNews Class AA power rankings. Berkeley Springs, by contrast, opened the season with a 25-14 loss to Petersburg, and has lost 11 straight games.
Berkeley Springs will enter this week’s contest in Keyser as a decided underdog, and all-time, the Golden Tornado hold a 21-4 advantage in the series. Dating back to 1996, Keyser has won 16 straight contests with the Indians. All four of Berkeley Springs’ victories over Keyser came in a seven year span between 1989 and 1995 (1989, 1990, 1994, 1995).
In those years that Berkeley Springs earned victories over Keyser, the Golden Tornado compiled an overall record of 4-36. Needless to say, the Indians’ wins came at a time with Keyser was struggling mightily as a program. As Keyser’s fortunes as a program began to improve greatly under Coach Kelly Day in 1996, so too did the Black and Gold’s fortunes against Berkeley Springs; 1996 is the year Keyser’s 16 game winning streak against the Indians began.
Overall, Berkeley Springs has an all-time record of 310-518-16 for a 37 percent winning percentage, in contrast to Keyser’s overall record of 591-382-22 for a 60 percent winning percentage. Sean Biser is 13-0 all-time against Berkeley Springs as the head coach at Keyser High School.
Berkeley Springs struggled mightily a season ago, going 0-10 in the 2018 campaign. The Indians’ closest game was a 30-6 defeat at home to Moorefield. Berkeley Springs was shut out in four games, scored a touchdown or less in eight games, and surrendered 40 points or more to nine of their 10 opponents. By contrast, Keyser finished with a 9-3 record, advancing all the way to the Class AA quarterfinals.
In their season opener against Petersburg, the Indians fell behind 13-0 in the first quarter, but edged the Vikings 8-7 in the second to head into the locker room at halftime 20-8. In the second half, Berkeley Springs would again edge Petersburg 6-5 in scoring, but it was too little, too late as the Vikings claimed the 25-14 victory. All-time, however, Berkeley Springs actually enjoys a 30-20-1 record against Petersburg.
In radio comments, Coach Biser expressed his thoughts on the Berkeley Springs game on Friday, “I just hope everyone comes out and fills the stadium for us. We watch film obviously, and we scout and game plan and everything, but we worry more about ourselves more than we worry about anyone else. We focus on what we need to do to improve.”
According to Coach Biser, “Our coaches will watch film and go back and say great job on this, this, and that; but we need to do this better, this better, and this better. We’ll set our practices up and our drills to fix those and just keep working on those weak points.”
The Golden Tornado will be looking for win number two on the season Friday in advance of a three-game stretch that includes the return of Petersburg to the schedule, followed by playoff teams Weir and Nicholas County.
One thing is for certain, as Keyser’s dominating 56-7 victory over RCB hit the newspapers, radio, and Internet scoring sites, the Golden Tornado served notice to the rest of AA football, and the other opponents on their schedule, that they will be a handful for everyone to deal with it.
Keyser has scheduled tough, with six West Virginia Class AA playoff teams from a year ago on the schedule, Berkeley Springs, most certainly isn’t one of those teams, but a traditional conference foe nonetheless.