KEYSER - To an observer on the chilly sidelines or in the stands Friday night, two things were made abundantly and immediately clear by Keyser's performance on the field: 1) The Bridgeport game was but a hiccup, Keyser is again back to firing on all cylinders, and 2) Mountain Ridge drew the unlucky straw, getting paired as Keyser's opponent the week after their loss to Bridgeport.
By Chapin Jewell
KEYSER - To an observer on the chilly sidelines or in the stands Friday night, two things were made abundantly and immediately clear by Keyser’s performance on the field: 1) The Bridgeport game was but a hiccup, Keyser is again back to firing on all cylinders, and 2) Mountain Ridge drew the unlucky straw, getting paired as Keyser’s opponent the week after their loss to Bridgeport.
“Bridgeport, Bridgeport, Bridgeport,” sounds a lot like Jan Brady’s exhaustive cry of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” Are you sick of hearing about Bridgeport yet? It’s clear by their explosively dominant play against Mountain Ridge that Keyser’s Black and Gold-clad lads have surely moved past that game.
“Everybody contributed and I thought it was a good team effort; I thought our defense played well again and I thought our special teams played better than they did last week, of course that was a special emphasis for us in practice this week. We were just trying to fix the things we did wrong and correct our mistakes and I think we did that,” Keyser coach Sean Biser said after the game.
According to Biser, “We watched film, but like I always say, we kind of just worry about ourselves more than anyone else. Really, the game plan was to do what we do, we’re not going to change anything or re-invent the wheel. We’re just trying to do what we do correctly and be fundamentally sound about it.”
If Keyser was looking to “do what [they] do,” the Golden Tornado certainly passed the eye test Friday night. Keyser scored 21 points in the first quarter, and 28 more in the second, all the while completely stymieing any offensive efforts from Mountain Ridge, in amassing a 49-0 halftime lead.
The brakes came on at halftime, as such, the Miners outscored Keyser 14-12 in the second half, but it was too little, too late. The final tally on the scoreboard showed a 61-14 victory for Keyser, erasing any doubt of a post-Bridgeport letdown.
In amassing those 61 points, Keyser scored in nearly every way imaginable. There were five of the customary rushing touchdowns, one passing touchdown which is about average, and then a pick-six interception return for a touchdown, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, a safety and a field goal.
Keyser opened scoring on the first play from scrimmage when Aaron Lyons intercepted Bryce Snyder’s pass and took it 34-yards into the endzone for the score. In the blink of an, Seth Earnest’s kick made it 7-0 Keyser.
At the 7:02 mark of the first quarter, Drae Allen’s six-yard touchdown run and Earnest kick extended the Keyser lead to 14-0.
Two minutes later, with all the momentum already swung in Keyser’s direction, the showstopping play of the night happened. Mountain Ridge quarterback Bryce Snyder fumbled into the hands of Keyser defensive lineman Don Woodworth who rumbled 35-yards for the Keyser touchdown. Earnest made the score 21-0 Keyser, still in the first quarter.
Woodworth has enjoyed a storied career as a lineman on both sides of the ball, and is indeed a four-year starter for the Golden Tornado. But a touchdown? This was definitely his first.
“It was a great feeling being a lineman and always wanting to score but never having the chance to do so. Everyone was excited and happy for me, especially since when we played Hampshire, I almost had one but got tackled,” Don Woodworth stated.
According to Woodworth, “I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Really, the quarterback and running back had a bad exchange and it bounced out of the running back’s hands right into mine. It’s one I’ll never forget”
Up 21-0 after Woodworth’s fumble return for a touchdown, Keyser was just getting started. The Golden Tornado would tack on an additional 28 points in the second quarter, beginning with Caden Biser’s 14-yard scoring run with 8:08 remaining in the second quarter. Seth Earnest’s kick made it 28-0 Keyser.
Caden Biser would score Keyser’s next two touchdowns, first a 17-yard scamper, next a 54-yard pass reception from Ryan Shoemaker. Earnest’s two successful point after kicks extended the Keyser lead to 42-0 with 4:23 remaining in the first half. With only 29-seconds remaining in the half, Drae Allen would score on a 50-yard touchdown run and with Seth Earnest’s kick, the Golden Tornado earned a 49-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Keyser’s scoring was limited to Jackson Biser and Aaron Lyons combining for a safety and Seth Earnest nailing a 27-yard field goal. Those additional five points gave Keyser a 54-0 lead in the third, just in time for the Miners to earn their first score.
Mountain Ridge would get on the board with a 25-yard touchdown run by Jay Miller with 4:32 remaining in third quarter. Ashton Shimko’s extra point brought the score to 54-7.
Keyser would conclude their scoring on a 1-yard run by Logan Proud and with the kick, Keyser led 61-7. Mountain Ridge’s Noah Merling would score on a 7-yard run in the final minute of the game, that, along with Ashton Shimko’s boot, ended the game with a 61-14 Keyser victory.
Drae Allen and Caden Biser led the Black and Gold’s rushing attack with 74 net rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns apiece. In addition, Caden Biser scored on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Shoemaker; Shoemaker was 2-3 passing for 55 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Keyser was led by Jackson Biser with six tackles and a safety along with Aaron Lyons. Lyons had five tackles, was one part of that safety, and had a touchdown return for a touchdown. Don Woodworth had five tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Gavin Root added five tackles; Sam Bradfield and Tristin Fox added four tackles each. Ryan Shoemaker added an interception.
Mountain Ridge was led on the ground by three runners with just over 50 yards, Jay Miller, Devin Lissau and Jeff McKenzie. Miller added a rushing touchdown as did Noah Merling.
Through the air, Mountain Ridge’s Bryce Snyder was 6-17 for 22 yards and two interceptions.
With the victory, Keyser advances their record to 8-1 on the season in advance of this Friday’s matchup with Frankfort in the Mineral Bowl. The Golden Tornado have outscored their opponents on the season by a tally of 465-49, or an average of 52-5 per game.
Keyser is listed in this week’s West Virginia MetroNews Power Rankings, an opinion poll, as the fifth ranked team in West Virginia’s class AA. More importantly, it is projected that the Golden Tornado will be in a three-way tie this week with Bluefield and Frankfort for the fourth spot in the WVSSAC’s playoff ratings.
“What we tell our kids is that we can only control what we can control. If we win, then winning takes care of itself, it will put you where you need to be and put you in a position to where you can host some (playoff) games. If things work out we might get two games, if not, we’ll get one. That’s if we take care of business. If we don’t take care of business, we’ll be on the road travelling,” Biser explained.
Keyser opened the season by shocking everyone with the manner in which they defeated Robert C. Byrd by a score of 56-7. They then continued, week after week, to defeat every other opponent in a similar manner. In fact, they entered the Bridgeport game, game eight, having only allowed seven points up to that point.
The Golden Tornado took one on the chin by losing to Bridgeport 28-7, but Friday’s dominating performance against Mountain Ridge erased any doubt as to how Keyser would respond to that loss. Things appear to be firing on all cylinders for the Black and Gold as things head down the stretch.