Keyser gets huge 54-0 win over Hampshire Trojans on Homecoming
By Chapin Jewell
KEYSER - Keyser entered their Homecoming matchup with Hampshire winners of four straight, 17 of the last 18, and 21 of the last 23 games in the series. The Golden Tornado also entered the contest averaging 50 points per game on offense, while giving up 25 points on average to their opponents.
When the final buzzer sounded at Alumni and Friends Field Friday night, Keyser extended their consecutive wins against the neighboring Trojans to five straight, and are now victors in 18 of the last 19, and 22 of the last 24 games in the series.
Likewise, with the scoreboard reading 54-0 in favor of Keyser, the Black and Gold did slightly better than their offensive average by four points, but considerably better defensively, pitching a total shoutout instead of giving up their average of three and a half touchdowns per game.
“It was a good victory, the defense finally showed up, so that was a good thing for us. Our defensive philosophy is that we’re a bend, but don’t break defense, and that was one of the things that we try to keep everything in front of us and make tackles, and I thought we did a great job of that tonight,” Keyser coach Derek Stephen stated.
According to Stephen, “We just went off years of experience. We’ve faced passing teams before, we’ve had Jefferson, we had Oak Glen earlier this year, so we knew what we had and what we’re capable of doing. Pretty much, we just played our regular defense, but made some adjustments in our secondary, and it worked out in our favor this week.
“We came out the first half and we didn’t feel like we played like we’re capable of playing, especially on the offensive side of the ball. We challenged the guys at halftime to come out and play to the level we think they could, and we ended up putting 33 points on the board and playing really good defense in the second half,” Stephen explained.
Keyser continued their offensive scheme of spreading the wealth as much as possible. While Gavin Root, Drae Allen and Zion Powell tend to do the most damage offensively, the Black and Gold are seeing others stepping up to make big play after big play. For example, Sammy Bradfield has developed as just as much of a receiving threat out of the backfield as a runner. Zion Powell too, both Bradfield and Powell had receiving touchdowns.
“Bradfield is really good at catching the ball out of the backfield. We’ve had these passing attacks in there the past few years, they’re the run-pass-options, and everyone is jamming in there to stop Drae (Allen), so that’s allowing us to open it up a bit on the outside. We’re just taking what they give us,” Stephen explained.
Hampshire received the opening kickoff, made it to midfield, and was forced to punt. Keyser began their first offensive drive of the game from their own 30-yard line. After five consecutive and successful running plays, Gavin Root rolled left and delivered a 25-yard scoring strike to Sammy Bradfield on the left side of end zone. After Seth Earnest’s kick, Keyser took and early 7-0 lead at the 7:38 mark of the first quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Hampshire would advance to the Keyser 32-yard line where on fourth down they elected to kick a field goal. The kick fell a few yards short. Keyser assumed possession at their own 20-yard line for the second drive in a row. Nine plays and 79 yards later, quarterback Gavin Root took the ball off tackle into the end zone for the one-yard score. Seth Earnest’s kick gave Keyser a 14-0 lead with 2:13 remaining in the first quarter.
Another huge catch by Bradfield would be the next big play of the game, this time, however, he caught the ball in the form of an interception in the end zone, halting a potential Hampshire scoring drive. Bradfield jumped in front of a Hampshire receiver in the center of the end zone to make the play.
Keyser would take advantage of the turn of events, marching 80-yards on the ensuing drive, allowing quarterback Gavin Root to cap off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Root went off the left side and fought through some Hampshire defenders for the score. Earnest’s kick was good. With 4:41 to go in the first half, Keyser led the visiting Trojans 21-0, and this would remain the score at halftime.
With a 21-0 lead at the half, Keyser would tack on an additional 33 points in the second half in earning the 54-0 victory.
The Black and Gold’s scoring in the second half would include five touchdowns. First, at the 9:44 mark of the third quarter, Sammy Bradfield made a few nice cuts, taking the ball in from 13-yards out. Earnest’s kick gave the Tornado a 28-0 lead. Second, at the 6:27 mark of the third quarter, Drae Allen bullied his way into the end zone from three yards out. The extra point was blocked, and with that, the Golden Tornado extended their lead to 34 points (34-0).
It was then Zion Powell’s turn to electrify the crowd. With 5:24 remaining in the third, Powell received a pass from Root in the backfield, zig zagged his way to the outside where he raced a total of 57 yards down the left sideline for the receiving score. Earnest’s extra point was blocked for the second straight time but the Black and Gold elevated their lead to 40-0.
Drae Allen would then take it up the middle 25-yards for the score with 3:33 remaining in the third. Earnest’s kick was good, giving Keyser the 47-0 lead. The final score of the game would come with 10:39 left in the final frame when Anthony Mele pushed his way into the end zone from one-yard out. Earnest’s kick gave Keyser the victory by a final tally of 54-0.
For the third straight week, the score allowed Keyser to work in as many players as possible, benefiting the players and the Homecoming crowd consisting mainly of parents and grandparents assembled.
According to Stephen,“We’ve been able the last couple of weeks to get everybody some reps. We didn’t get as many for the backups today, but everybody got to play again, so that’s a good thing. We’re getting experience for people so that this year, next year, and down the road, we’ll be able to have people with experience.
Keyser finished the game with 508 total yards with 390 coming on the ground and 118 coming through the air. Fullback Drae Allen led the ground attack with 147 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Gavin Root added two rushing touchdowns, Sammy Bradfield and Anthony Mele added one each. Root also completed six of 10 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns, one to Sammy Bradfield and the other to Zion Powell.
Benny Oates led the way on defense with nine total tackles, Luke Anderson was next with six tackles, and Gabe Ryan, Drae Allen, Gavin Root and Chayse Evans were next with four tackles each.
Keyser (4-1), will next travel four hours westward to Mason County to take on the Point Pleasant Big Blacks on Friday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. Point Pleasant is 1-2, but their two losses are to Bluefield and Oak Glen who were rated 1 and 2 respectively in the WVSSAC class AA playoff ratings.
“They are a perennial class AA power every year, so, we know this isn’t going to be a cake walk. We’re going to have to go in and play some pretty good football to come out with the win,” Stephen opined.