Preview: Keyser hosts Washington in home opener, Frankfort travels to Berkeley Springs
By Chapin Jewell
Last Friday, Keyser traveled to the Northern Panhandle to tackle highly regarded Oak Glen and returned to Mineral County the victims of a 35-12 defeat at the hands of the Golden Bears. Frankfort, by contrast, hosted Weir and managed to survive a late comeback from the Red Riders, securing a 37-26 victory.
Keyser (1-1), will play host tonight at 7 p.m. to the Washington Patriots (1-1) of Jefferson County in the first ever varsity football matchup between the two schools.
Frankfort (2-0) will travel to Morgan County to take on Berkeley Springs (0-2) in the 42nd meeting between these two PVC-opponents.
At Oak Glen, Keyser fell victim to a talented and multi-pronged offensive attack, though most of the damage was in fact done by senior Hunter Patterson who caught 11 passes for 200 yards and rushed nine times for an additional 97 yards. Accounting for nearly 300 yards of offense, Patterson also scored three touchdowns on the night.
Keyser was led offensively by Zion Powell, who hauled in a Gavin Root toss near the edge of the end zone with no seconds left before half to score a touchdown, and Drae Allen, who scored the other Golden Tornado touchdown on the ground.
In Washington, Keyser squares off against a new opponent who has started the year off 1-1. In game one, the Patriots lost 55-42 in a shootout to the Spring Mills Cardinals. In week two, Washington overcame a 6-0 Berkeley Springs late in the first, scoring two times in the first half of play to take a narrow halftime lead. The Patriots exploded for more points in the second half to earn a 40-6 victory.
“They figured something out at halftime in their halftime adjustments and that second half they ran hard to the outside and they exploited a weakness that they found,” Keyser coach Derek Stephen stated.
Leading the way for Washington in their single wing attack was Frankie Amore, who rushed for 245 yards and six touchdowns in the victory. Those six touchdowns gave Amore the school record for most touchdowns in a game.
“After seeing them on film, they’ve got a few athletes that can tote the ball, not just one. He was just the lucky recipient of the good play calls. It’s just the same thing as the previous week, they’ve got a lot of players coming back and they run an unconventional scheme, the single wing, so that’s something else that we need to work on this week,” Keyser coach Derek Stephen stated.
The Oak Glen defeat solidly behind them, Keyser has their sights set solely on Washington, with the added excitement that the Black and Gold’s first home game will bring.
“It’s just like I told the kids Friday night, we can sulk on the bus ride home but when it comes to Saturday morning, I know the coaching staff we were already on to Washington. We put that game in the past and it goes right along with our ‘this play’ mentality,” Stephen stated.
“It’s going to be a great feeling, we’re under the green category so we’re going to have parents, and families, and with the new guidance from the WVSSAC that we can have grandparents, we’re going to have probably the biggest crowd of our fans that we’ve played in front of this year,” Stephen stated. “Hopefully, just playing at home, the routine that we have, the familiarity with our surroundings, it’s going to play into us having a pretty good game, that’s what I’m hopeful for.”
In Short Gap, Frankfort and Weir played to a 7-7 tie after the first half of play. Both defenses excelled as the offenses were sluggish. The Falcons then built as much as a 17-point, 30-13 lead after halftime before Weir mounted a serious comeback, bringing the score to within four points (30-16) with a few minutes left in the game. Frankfort would survive the scare as Parker Vanmeter extended the Frankfort lead to 11 (37-26) with the final score of the game.
“First of all, it was a good win last week, and an exciting night. The kids scared me at times, but we battled and won the game, so that’s a good thing,” Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman stated.
Now it’s on to Berkeley Springs and a chance to start the season 3-0 against a familiar opponent.
In Berkeley Springs, Frankfort squares off an opponent that though 0-2, has demonstrated they’ve improved over previous years. In their week one loss to Keyser, Berkeley Springs, while giving up 61 points, managed to put 33 points of their own on the board. In week two against Washington, the Indians actually held a 6-0 lead with two minutes to go in the first half.
“This week, with Berkeley Springs, offensively they have some skilled kids. They’re going to spread the ball out. They do some good stuff on film. They definitely have some weapons, and we need to be prepared defensively to shut them down,” Whiteman stated.
According to Whiteman, “On our offensive side, the good thing about it is we’re going to see a 4-4 defense, and we’ve seen that even defensive front since the Moorefield scrimmage every week. So, there’s not a lot of variation there that we need to teach.”
“We still have to go down there and execute and do our thing. At any level, you don’t know who’s going to show up and play, turnovers can kill you. There have been times that we’ve played them and played horribly when we were the favorite, and let them in the game, and we’ve lost to them because of letting them in the game,” Whiteman stated.
Whiteman likes what he’s seen out of his team this week, “Today was the best scrimmaging type of practice we’ve had all year. We keep preaching to them that if we’re going to get better as a team, the effort needs to be there at practice.”