KEYSER, W.Va. — Homestanding Keyser limited Wayne to just one touchdown Saturday on five red-zone chances, and it made the difference in a 28-8 first-round playoff win.
No. 7 Keyser advanced to play at No. 2 Bluefield in a quarterfinal next week. No. 10 Wayne (8-3) saw its eight-game win streak ended.
“We just thought we needed to play consistent. I don’t know that we were spectacular anywhere, but we played consistent and I think that was the key to beating these guys,” Keyser coach Sean Biser said. “Wayne has great tradition a lot like us, and we knew it’d be a hard, physical battle.”
The Golden Tornado (9-2) had little difficulty moving the ball early and their first drive was capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run from Drae Allen just 2:16 into the action. A successful two-point conversion left Keyser with an 8-0 lead.
Wayne moved the ball well on its opening possession, converting a fourth-and-2 on Aaron Adkins’ 9-yard run to get into the red zone.
Four plays later, however, Pioneers quarterback Gunner Harmon was stopped no more than two inches short on a fourth-and-2 run, giving Keyser the ball back at its 2-yard line and marking Wayne’s first empty trip into the red zone.
The Golden Tornado put together an eight play, 98-yard drive, with the bulk of the damage coming on quarterback Ryan Shoemaker’s 70-yard touchdown run 10:11 before halftime. A failed pass play on the two-point try left Keyser with a 14-0 lead.
The Pioneers again had little trouble moving the ball on their second series, but Harmon had a red zone pass intercepted by Reggie Redman.
“We had to make the plays when the opportunities came and the stand and interception helped spark us,” Biser said.
Wayne cashed in on its third and final possession of the first half, marching 75 yards in 10 plays and scoring a touchdown on Harmon’s 20-yard pass to Michael Bartram 1:16 prior to halftime. Adkins crossed the goal line on the two-point run, leaving the Pioneers with a 14-8 deficit at the break.
“We did have the momentum coming into the half but I also knew you only get so many scoring opportunities and we didn’t make the most of them,” Wayne coach Tom Harmon said. “I was disappointed in that.”
Each team turned the ball over on downs in the other team’s territory on their first series of the second half, and the Pioneers picked up three first downs on their second series to move well into Golden Tornado territory.
But faced with a fourth-and-2 from the Keyser 21, Isaac Dean was stopped behind the line of scrimamge for a 4-yard loss, giving Keyser the ball back with a six-point lead and 10:39 to play.
“That’s on us. You have to finish, and we came up short on those drives for different reasons, probably the biggest of which being Keyser’s defense,” coach Harmon said. “Their kids play hard and did a nice job and we didn’t do enough to keep the sticks moving or get in the end zone enough to win the game.”
The Golden Tornado then marched 75 yards in 3:16, regaining a two-possession lead on Caden Biser’s 3-yard touchdown run with 7:23 remaining. Shoemaker ran in the two-point play to up the advantage to 22-8.
Wayne was unable to gain a first down on its ensuing series and another negative yardage play on fourth dowjn allowed Keyser to start at the Pioneers’ 33.
From there, the Golden Tornado lost yardage and lined up to punt, but maintained possession following a roughing the punter penalty. Four plays later, Shoemaker threw a 35-yard TD pass to Redman for the game’s final scoring play with 2:39 remaining.
“He reads things how he’s supposed to read them,” Biser said of Shoemaker. “He dishes the ball off and does the little things that we ask him to and that’s key.”