KEYSER - Two weeks ago, it was mentioned that Mountain Ridge drew the unlucky straw in being the team scheduled to strap it up against the Golden Tornado in the week following the Bridgeport loss. It sure appeared as though Keyser responded from that loss by playing with even more intensity than usual.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - Two weeks ago, it was mentioned that Mountain Ridge drew the unlucky straw in being the team scheduled to strap it up against the Golden Tornado in the week following the Bridgeport loss.  It sure appeared as though Keyser responded from that loss by playing with even more intensity than usual.  
After witnessing Keyser’s ferocity and intensity of play in their 53-0 pummeling of Liberty-Harrison on Friday, it can be said the Mountaineers drew the short straw in playing Keyser the week after the loss of Caden Biser to injury.
The numbers don’t lie, Keyser has certainly played with great intensity and in dominating fashion all season. But if you were on hand to witness the way in which the Black and Gold physically manhandled Liberty-Harrison, you’d realize there seemed to be some extra motivation circulating amongst the Tornado.
It was evident on the first drive of the game. Liberty-Harrison gained possession after receiving the opening kickoff and took seven and a half minutes to drive all the way down to the one yard line where Keyser’s defense stopped them on fourth and goal. That first drive was a little reminiscent of the Bridgeport game as the Mountaineer’s employed the Stick I to inch their way slowly but surely down the field.  
But on third and goal, Keyser’s Tristin Fox absolutely laid the wood to a Mountaineer player with a hit so hard it literally changed the complexion of the game. On the next play, the inspired Tornado stopped the Mountaineers at the one yard line. From that point, it was literally all Keyser, on both sides of the ball.
Keyser coach Sean Biser explained the importance of that initial goal line stand, “It was very important because I thought we came out a little flat and they had some momentum. Tristin came up with that big hit and our defense made a crucial stop on fourth down. From then on, we were on fire.”
According to Tristin Fox, “That hit on the goal line was awesome. After I hit him, everyone started yelling and it just set the intensity and momentum for the rest of the game. We were so successful (on defense) because we put in a good game plan and stuck to it.  We had a great week of practice even in the cold, and with Caden out we definitely had to step up our game. He is a huge part of our team and we were playing for him.”
“I do think playing for him was part of it. They were really hurting when he went down last week, especially his brother (Jackson).  Like I’ve said before, they are a really tight group and really they are all brothers, so I’m sure that was on their mind still. There were a lot of other things going on there like it being their last guaranteed game at home, playing for a teammate, and guys getting the opportunity to step up and fill spots on a more full-time basis instead of every now and then..  Put that all together and you get that kind of effort,” Biser explained.
Tristin Fox had eight tackles to lead the Keyser defense to their 58-0 shutout, their eighth of the season.  The Golden Tornado held the Mountaineers to 120 total net offensive yards, 72 on the ground and 48 through the air. Keyser also forced three turnovers, two fumbles and an interception.  In addition to Fox, Don Woodworth and Jackson Biser also contributed five tackles apiece to help lead the Keyser defense.
In explaining the keys to Keyser’s defensive success, Jackson Biser stated the following, “I think it’s just because we have a lot of experience on our defense and all of us put our time in the weight room and take our defensive periods in practice seriously. Also, we really buy into Coach Stephen’s game plans; Nobody gets stingy, it’s all about the team.”
Jackson Biser further explained the extra motivation for himself and the team with his brother Caden’s absence on the field, “It does make a difference because I know he would do anything to be out there with us and I want to win it all for him.”
As dominant as Keyser’s defense was, the offense dominated in a similar manner, basically imposing their will on Liberty Harrison for the game’s four quarters. Keyser scored seven rushing touchdowns, had six successful point after kicks, one two-point conversion, and a field goal in accumulating their 53 points.
Keyser’s offense consisted entirely of 473 yards on the ground, only one pass was attempted but it was not completed. The 473 total offensive yards amassed by Keyser compares to 120 for Liberty-Harrison.
Individually, Drae Allen led the way with 165 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, for an average of 9.16 yards per carry.  Aaron Lyons was next with 116 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, for an average of 8.92 yards per carry. In addition, Zion Powell, Logan Proud and Ryan Shoemaker scored touchdowns for the Black and Gold.  Seth Earnest was six for six on extra points and successfully made a 23 yard field goal.
Drae Allen was asked about his successful performance in leading the offense. According to Allen, “I wouldn’t say MY successful performance, I would say OUR successful performance.  Without the linemen, I wouldn’t make it anywhere. They carry the heavy loads and I owe my success to them.  I just hit the holes they give me with all I got.”
Allen further explained how Caden Biser’s absence from the playing field affected his performance, “Well, Caden is like my right-hand man and I know he’d give anything to be out there with us. So, I didn’t really feel the need to really step up, but more so that I owed it to him.”
For his successful two-touchdown performance, Keyser’s Aaron Lyons stated, “All of the credit goes to our veteran offensive line. They’re the reason for our success and the momentum that we have on offense. They don’t get anywhere near the recognition that they deserve for all their hard work.”
According to Lyons, “With Caden being hurt, it hurt the team.  But Coach Biser preaches to us the next man in mentality and to always be ready for anything. We have a stable of running backs that can get the job done. With Caden being hurt, it gave me more of a drive to play harder for my team because we all play for each other.”
Keyser’s first quarter scoring consisted of a three-yard touchdown run by Aaron Lyons with a Seth Earnest extra point to make it 7-0 at the end of the first frame. Keyser’s second quarter scoring consisted of Logan Proud’s 16-yard scoring run and Earnest’s extra point, Drae Allen’s one-yard touchdown plunge with Earnest’s extra point, Ryan Shoemaker’s 13-yard scoring scamper and subsequent two point conversion, and Zion Powell’s 12-yard score and Earnest extra point.  The first half concluded with Keyser leading 36-0.
The Golden Tornado scored 14 additional points in the third quarter on an Aaron Lyons 23-yard run and Drae Allen two-yard plunge, both capped off by Seth Earnest’s extra points. The third quarter concluded with the Black and Gold in command 50-0. Seth Earnest would conclude all scoring with his 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter leading to the 53-0 Keyser victory.
With the victory, Keyser (10-1), the five seed, advances to quarterfinal playoff action at Bluefield (10-1), the four seed, on Friday, November 22 at 7:30.  The Golden Tornado have now earned eight shutouts in 11 games and have outscored their opponents 553 points to 49 on the season, for an average of 50-4 per game.
With the exception of one and a half quarters at Bridgeport, the Golden Tornado have been dominant this season in ways not seen before. Aside from being dominant, the play has been emotionally charged and inspired, in a positive way. Now, they’re playing for injured teammate and leader Caden Biser as well.  If their inspired performance against Liberty-Harrison is any indication, an already dangerous and inspired team just became more dangerous and inspired.