CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Through the years, Keyser’s football program has prided itself on physical play that starts by controlling the line of scrimmage.
This season, the Golden Tornado have the size and experience up front to make that happen, and they showed just that Friday night at Robert C. Byrd.
In a matchup of teams that reached the Class AA quarterfinals last season, the No. 6 Golden Tornado dominated from start to finish to earn a 56-7 win over the fifth-ranked Eagles.
“In practice, we never stand around. We’re on the move all the time,” Keyser coach Sean Biser said. “We try to do that on the field and get that attacking mentality. That’s the way we try to coach our kids all the time.
“We’re fortunate we have a great group of seniors and they’ve bought in over the years. They’ve been around and they know what’s expected. They came out with the right mentaltity tonight.”
A 47-yard pass from RCB quarterback Xavier Lopez to Bryson Lucas on the game’s first play from scrimmage was one of the Eagles’ few highlights. That drive, however, stalled and ultimately resulted in a missed 39-yard field goal.
The Golden Tornado marched 71 yards on 12 plays on their second series to go in front for good. Quarterback Ryan Shoemaker had a 13-yard pass to Caden Biser on a fourth-and-5 play that helped set up Biser’s 7-yard touchdown run. Seth Earnest made his first of eight point-after kicks for a 7-0 lead at the 1:18 mark of the first quarter.
Keyser’s next series covered 60 yards on 12 consecutive running plays and was capped off by Aaron Lyons’ 1-yard TD run 7:21 before halftime.
D.J. Cochran pounced on a Jeremiah King king fumble on the second play of the Eagles’ ensuing series, allowing the Golden Tornado to start at the RCB 20 just 52 seconds after taking the two-touchdown lead.
Two plays later, the Keyser advantage grew to 21-0 on Lyons’ 9-yard touchdown run.
“Keyser’s a very physical ball club. We got whipped. We put our heads down and tucked our tails and it looked like we were scared at times on the football field,” RCB coach Josh Gorrell said. “Turnovers, undiscipline, lack of focus, embarrassing in all aspects tonight. The biggest word is embarrassing.
“I thought we had more to us than this. We’ll have to regroup and try to get better. When things got physical, we ran. It’s pretty simple.”
RCB produced its only points of the night on its next drive when Jeremiah King took a handoff 16 yards to the end zone 3:59 before halftime.
But Keyser quickly went back on top by three touchdowns, needing only four plays to cover 59 yards and scoring on Lyons’ 36-yard run — his third TD in a span of just 4:29.
“I’m comfortable with about six guys rotating in running the football at different spots,” coach Biser said. “They block for each other and run the ball hard. Nobody is better than anybody else in our eyes.”
Keyser erased any thought of a Byrd comeback on the opening play of the second half as Biser fielded the kickoff and raced 92 yards to the end zone to up the lead to 35-7.
RCB struggled to put anything together offensively from that point forward and the Golden Tornado continued to pour it on.
Drae Allen scored on a 2-yard run with 5:17 left in the third quarter and Logan Proud reached the end zone from 1 yard out later in the period to make it 49-7.
“The saying is when there’s chaos, you can’t hide because it’ll find you,” Gorrell said. “We faced chaos tonight and we hid. And guess what, it found us.”
Chayse Evans’ 8-yard TD run with 1:59 finished the scoring.
Although the Golden Tornado lost to RCB a year ago in the regular season, coach Biser didn’t believe his team had any added incentive in this year’s opener.
Keyser, however, sure played like it did.
“Last year is done and gone,” coach Biser said. “We’re just focused on right now and the moment.”