Keyser's 53-21 victory knocks the Monarchs off their throne
By Chapin Jewell
GLEN DALE, W.Va. - Despite dealing with inappropriate and unforgivable extracurriculars directed their way on the field, the Keyser Golden Tornado held strong, would not allow themselves to be baited into retaliation, and made their statement on the scoreboard, earning a 53-31 defeat over John Marshall on the road.
“We somewhat put together four quarters of football. We had one lull in the second half, but not bad. We came out and did what we needed to do. We tackled on defense, we finished on offense. We need to keep this rolling into next week,” Keyser coach Derek Stephen stated.
“I think we finally came out and played in the first and second quarters, instead of just in spurts, I think we played the whole time. We did have one letdown right in the middle where we let them go down and score, but we rallied pretty well and in the second half we came out and did what we asked them to,” Stephen explained.
One major difference in the contest was the inspired play of Keyser’s defense. The Golden Tornado defensive 11 not only contained John Marshall’s high-scoring offense, but in doing so, set up the Keyser offense to be their usual explosive self.
“I thought our defense pretty well. Our mantra this week was tackle, tackle, tackle. We’ve been working on it, we preached it al week, we preached it pre-game, we preached it the whole time, and I thought they came out and responded,” Stephen stated.
John Marshall may have ended the night with 21 points posted to the scoreboard, but only seven of those points actually came against the first team Keyser defense. One of the Monarchs’ touchdowns was scored on a kickoff return, and the last one against Keyser’s reserves late.
On the night, the Golden Tornado only gave up 202 total offensive yards to John Marshall, 153 of those yards was on the ground, and only 49 came through the air. Keyser forced the Monarchs to punt seven times while punting only twice themselves. In addition, the Black and Gold limited John Marshall’s third down conversion rate to 27.3 percent, with the Monarchs converting only three out of 11 third downs against the stingy Tornado 11.
The Golden Tornado defensive unit was led by Sammy Bradfield with six tackles. Bradfield was followed by Gabe Ryan, Chayse Evans, Vito Amoruso and Parker Anderson with five tackles each. Ryan and Anthony Mele also added a sack, and Mele, Caden Youngblood, Drae Allen and Luke Anderson each had four tackles each.
On offense, Keyser was their usual dominant self, posting over 50 points (53) for the seventh time in nine games. The Golden Tornado was also able to eclipse the 500 plus total yards mark yet again, with 518 yards in total, with 415 coming on the ground and 103 yards through the air. Keyser also ran 80 offensive plays compared to 52 for John Marshal and earned 34 first downs total compared to just 14 for John Marshall.
“Our running came in, the jet seemed to be working a little better today. Some people have been sitting on it, but they looked like they were sitting on our counter game a little bit more. Towards the end we went back to traditional Wing-T and hit them with some buck sweep and hit them with some power game and tried to slow the game down, eat the clock, and move up and down the field as best we could.”
Nine different ball carriers toted the football for Keyser on the night, with Zion Powell (96), Drae Allen (95), Sammy Bradfield (76) and Gavin Root leading the way in yardage. In addition, Hunter Van Pelt (42), Anthony Mele (26), Jack Stanislawczyk (13), Seth Sions (10), and Chayse Evans (3) had yardage on the ground as well.
Allen and Root led the way with two rushing touchdowns; Anthony Mele had the third rushing touchdown.
Root completed eight passes in 14 attempts for 103 total passing yards, with two passing touchdowns. Both of those touchdowns through the air went to Sammy Bradfield who hauled in all eight of Root’s completions, scoring both receiving touchdowns.
Zion Powell added a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Gavin Root put Keyser on the board first with a 5-yard touchdown run at the 6:57 mark of the first quarter. Seth Earnest’s kick gave the Tornado a 7-0 lead.
John Marshall would tie the game at the 9:38 mark of the second quarter as Derrick Darrow hit Dalton Flowers on a seven-yard scoring strike. The kick was good and the game was tied 7-7.
Keyser responded with two touchdowns of their own in the balance of the second quarter to take a 20-7 lead at the half. Keyser went 87 yards in 12 plays, capped off by a four-yard touchdown run by Drae Allen. The kick was no good. Less than two minutes later, Zion Powell returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown with only 1:06 remaining in the half, and Seth Earnest’s kick was good, to give Keyser that 20-7 halftime lead.
After the break, Keyser would score three third-quarter touchdowns to elevate their lead to 40-7. First came a five-yard touchdown run by Gavin Root and two-point conversion by Drae Allen. Next came a Root 12-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Bradfield with the two-point conversion attempt no good. Finally, a two-yard touchdown by Allen with the extra point no good elevated the Keyser lead to 40-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, John Marshall’s Dalton Flowers took the ball 87 yards for the touchdown. With the extra point, the Monarch’s narrowed the gap slightly to 40-14 in favor of Keyser with 1:42 remaining in the third frame.
Just 35 seconds into the fourth quarter, Gavin Root hit Sammy Bradfield for a seven-yard touchdown pass, that, along with Seth Earnest’s kick, extended the Keyser lead to 47-14.
John Marshall’s Alex Button scored on a one-yard run against Keyser’s reserves and the kick was good to bring the score to 47-21 with 5:14 remaining.
Keyser’s second-string offense then marched 54 yards in four plays with Anthony Mele scoring on a 29-yard touchdown, and with the extra point no good, that brought the final score to 53-21 in favor of the Golden Tornado.
“I was really happy with the defense this week. I think we had our best defensive performance of the year. We were getting off blocks, shedding blocks, and putting pressure on the quarterback. Offensively, our game plan going in was to exploit the outside with Zion (Powell) and VanPelt (Hunter). As the game went on, we were in a little bit better shape and started to wear them down. Those one-yard gains turns into five and then six yard gains, and then we had 42 (Drae Allen) carrying the ball and he can take it to the house at any time.”
Keyser (7-2) now awaits a decision on the fate of the Mineral Bowl scheduled for Friday.