Keyser goes to Berkeley Springs, Frankfort to Hampshire in season opener

Staff Writer
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Mineral Daily News-Tribune

By Chapin Jewell

Tribune Correspondent

After successful 2019 campaigns that saw them go 9-3 and 10-2 respectively, advancing all the way to the state quarterfinals. Keyser and Frankfort kick off their 2020 season by taking to the road in games against familiar faces.  

The Golden Tornado will travel to Berkeley Springs for the 27th meeting of the two schools. Frankfort travels one county over to take on the Hampshire Trojans for meeting number 45 between the two neighbors.

In both games, the fortunes of the two programs in 2019 were vastly different.  Keyser’s 10-2 success in 2019 is countered by Berkeley Springs’ 2-8 season a year ago. Frankfort’s 9-3 success in 2019 is countered by Hampshire’s 0-10 season a year ago.

But this is a new year, and with everyone being affected in major ways thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the slate is wiped clean for a fresh start in 2020. Still, if past results are indicative of future success, Keyser and Frankfort enter their week one contests as favorites.

For Keyser and Berkeley Springs, the Golden Tornado carry a 22-4 advantage all-time in the series that started with one game in 1959, then didn’t resume again until 1988. Keyser has won 17-straight games in the series dating back to 1996. In fact, the Black and Gold has won the last four, and six of the last eight games by shutout.

In that eight-year span, Keyser has outscored the Indians 429-19 for an average score of 54-2 per game. In 2019, the Tornado defeated Berkeley Springs 59-0 in Keyser.

While Keyser has made the playoffs in 14 of the last 16 seasons, Berkeley Springs last entered the post-season in 2007.

Keyser enters the 2020 season with only a few returning starters, with the bulk of this year’s starters slated to be inexperienced and young.  Berkeley Springs, while still young with a roster that includes predominantly underclassmen, does in fact feature some returning talent. Back is quarterback Gavin Barkley and running backs Peyton and Evan Thompson.

For Frankfort and Hampshire, the Falcons carry a 32-12 advantage all-time in a series that has been played continuously since the opening of Frankfort in 1976. The Falcons have won three straight and 12 of the last 13 games in the rivalry. Prior to that, from 1998 to 2006, it was Hampshire that won eight of the nine games played.

Over the last three seasons, all Frankfort wins, the Falcons have outscored the Trojans 59-14, 47-12 and 55-20, for an average margin of 38 points and an average score of 54-15.  

While Frankfort has made the playoffs in seven of the last 11 seasons, Hampshire last entered the post-season in 2003.

Frankfort enters the 2020 season with only a few returning starters, with the bulk of this year’s starters slated to be inexperienced and young. Hampshire, however, does return some significant contributors from last season. For example, three quarterbacks return that saw action at signal caller last season, Tra Bryson, Alex Hott and Easton Shanholtz.  Also back are Trevor Sardo and Christian Hicks at the receiver position.

Also of significance is the fact that Hampshire will be debuting their newly laid turf field in the week one matchup with Frankfort.

While both Keyser and Frankfort have a scrimmage under their belt that employed “game play” conditions, there’s something altogether different in strapping on the pads for a week one matchup. With all that’s went into this year in terms of trial and tribulations, officially getting the season underway for the Tornado and Falcons will be a tremendous feeling.