Keyser falls 35-12 on the road at Oak Glen

Staff Writer
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Keyser's Drae Allen (42) hands the ball off to Zion Powell (4) on the inside reverse as quarterback Gavin Root (31) looks on.
Tribune photo by Chapin Jewell

By Chapin Jewell

Tribune Correspondent

OAK GLEN - If there was such a thing as Fantasy Football for high schools, on Friday night in New Cumberland, West Virginia, you would have surely wanted Oak Glen senior Hunter Patterson in your lineup. The multi-talented Patterson caught 11 passes for 200 yards, rushed for 97 yards on nine carries, and scored three touchdowns.  

Patterson was joined by the Golden Bears’ quarterback Nick Chaney, who led an aerial assault that accumulated 274 yards and a touchdown and Paxton Shuman who scored twice, rushing for 85 yards on 22 carries. Add to that an opportunistic Oak Glen defense that intercepted two passes and limited Keyser’s offensive chances throughout the contest, and you have the recipe for an Oak Glen victory over the visiting Tornado by a score of 35-12.

For a young Keyser ball club, however, the takeaway is not the 23-point loss to an Oak Glen squad that may legitimately be a state title contender, if not the early favorite to capture the class AA championship. The real takeaway is the positive manner in which the Golden Tornado responded when the chips were down, particularly when Oak Glen went up 21-0 early and all signs pointed to a Golden Bear rout.

There’s no joy in a loss. There can be value, however, in seeing an underdog fight back and not fold when every indicator is going against you. Such is the case with the Golden Tornado on Friday in the farthest reaches of the Northern Panhandle.

“That’s the one thing I just addressed the team on, them coming back and playing with heart and not giving up. We’ve been preaching it because that’s how we want to play. We haven’t seen it a lot, but we saw it tonight, and that’s one thing we can grow on this week,” Keyser head man Derek Stephen stated after the contest.

Stephen addressed the team post-game on the need to maintain a high level of intensity throughout the contest, not to slide into more of an EKG, up and down variance.

According to Stephen, “That’s the way we’ve been practicing as well, we keep having those ebbs and flows, those ups and downs, and we’re just trying to get them to stay up the whole time. But tonight, they showed heart and determination, something we knew was there, we just hadn’t seen it yet because we hadn’t had that adversity. The big thing we are taking out of here, you hate to take moral victories, but that was pretty good for our young guys the way they stepped up and played.

Keyser knew entering the contest they would have their hands full.  Oak Glen recorded a 12-1 record in 2019, losing only to eventual state champion Bridgeport, and returned largely everyone, certainly the key contributors at least, from that state semi-final team.

“We experienced our growing pains is what I’m taking it as, but our kids I think matured a little bit tonight.  So, hopefully we can look at the positive side of this and continue on with the year heading in the right direction,” Stephen explained.

Oak Glen got off to the hottest of starts, both offensively and defensively. The Golden Bears raced out to 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, then tacked on another score in the second quarter to race out to a 21-0 lead before Keyser could muster any points.

On the first play from scrimmage, Keyser’s Gabe Ryan shot through the line and tackled a Golden Bear ball carrier in the backfield, a great start for the Keyser defense. From that point forward, however, the home standing Golden Bears were productive on offense through the first three scores.

Oak Glen’s first touchdown came on the opening drive of the game. Hunter Patterson scored on a 13-yard swing pass off the left side from Nick Chaney, Jeremy Adams converted the kick, and the Golden Bears led 7-0 right out of the gate.

Patterson wasn’t done with his first-quarter scoring. The talented senior broke tackles, again off the left side, then raced 34-yards for the touchdown. Adams’ kick gave upped Oak Glen’s early lead to 14-0.

Next it was Paxton Shuman’s turn, this time in the second quarter. Shuman plunged his way through Keyser defenders from two yards out to, along with another Adams’ kick, extended the Golden Bears’ lead to 21-0.

Oak Glen scored on their first three offensive possessions, while at the same time halting any chance for Keyser to be productive offensively.

On the sidelines, Garrett Eagan, on-field reporter for WCBC radio, mentioned to the radio audience that despite being down, it might only take one play to change the complexion of the game.  With things looking particularly bleak, that play came in the form of Keyser defensive back Gavin Root coming up with a huge interception.

Root intercepted the Nick Chaney pass and raced down field to put Keyser into scoring position. With literally no time remaining on the first half clock, Root then rolled to the right and delivered a bullet to Zion Powell who managed to catch the ball in traffic, and get both feet down near the right back corner of the end zone for the 12-yard score.  

With the two-point conversion attempt no good, Keyser entered halftime down now only by two scores (21-6) and more importantly, with some positive momentum. It was a much, much different position, both on the scoreboard and mentally, then Keyser had been in prior to Root’s interception and subsequent touchdown pass to Zion Powell.

After the break, Oak Glen threatened yet again, but Keyser recovered a Golden Bears’ fumble at the Golden Tornado 5-yard line.  Keyser responded by going on a lengthy, 95-yard drive, punctuated by a 10-yard Drae Allen touchdown up the middle.with 4:26 remaining in the third quarter.  The two-point conversion was no good, but Keyser had got the margin to within nine points (21-12).

That would be as close as Keyser would get.  Oak Glen’s Hunter Patterson scored his third touchdown late in the third quarter on a 12-yard run, and Paxton Shuman earned his second score on a 1-yard score late. With both extra points good, the final margin extended to 23 points (35-12) in favor of the host Golden Bears.

“That was just a solid team out there. We played the run I thought pretty well, but they got us on the pass quite a few times. We’ve only got one returning starter on the defense and everyone else is brand new.  You hate that moral victory, but we got better as it went on and we made adjustments to try to cut it down a little bit.  But when they’ve got playmakers like they do, it’s tough,” Stephen stated.

According to Stephen, “I told the kids they could sulk on this game tonight, but tomorrow morning, we’re moving on to Washington. They are a huge AAA opponent, so we know they’re going to be big and fast and strong. They are going to come to play and we know that.  That’s the only game we’re really focusing on now.  “

After two straight away games to open the season, Keyser (1-1) gets the opportunity to play at home next Friday at 7 p.m., as the Golden Tornado play host to the AAA Washington Patriots (1-1), a 40-6 winner at home against Berkeley Springs Friday night.  It will be the first meeting on the gridiron for Keyser and Washington.