SHORT GAP, W.Va. — Second-ranked Keyser dominated the first half, turned the Mineral Bowl into a runaway and walked away with county bragging rights for the eighth time in nine years with a 32-7 victory over fifth-ranked Frankfort Friday evening.
Blake Ravenscroft ran 13 times for 164 yards and two touchdowns, Danny Fife ran 15 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns, and Amonte Turner had 120 all-purpose yards for the Golden Tornado (8-1), who extended its lead in the all-time series to 24-14.
Keyser coach Sean Biser wasn’t overjoyed with his team’s second-half play, but, on a scale of 1 to 10, gave his team a perfect grade for the first.
“I’d say it would have to have been a 10,” he said of the first half. “We played very well up front early on. Both the offensive and defensive lines played really well. Our offensive line opened up some big holes and on defense we stuffed the run and got to the quarterback at times.
“A lot of our kids up front play one way, which is nice, because they go up against each other every day in practice.”
The offensive line of Max Redman, Philip Jordan, Drew Roy, Josh Napier and Iden Blizzard and ends Dakota Proud and Wes Nelson controlled the line of scrimmage the entire first half. Keyser ran for 276 yards, had 14 plays of 10-yard gains or more and faced only one third down during the 32-point first half.
The defense had three sacks, by Josh Coffman, Roy and Nelson, and held Frankfort to only 63 yards rushing, and 112 yards total.
“We played with emotion, effort and we executed well the first half. But I wasn’t too happy with the second half,’’ said Biser, who gave his team a 4 on the same scale of 1 to 10. “No problem with the effort the second half. It was just the execution. We had some penalties and had a touchdown called back. We made some big plays, but you have to finish, and we didn’t in the second half.”
It took Keyser only three plays to crack the scoreboard. After a Frankfort punt, Turner fielded a booming 45-yard punt by Josh McNeil with an over-the-shoulder catch and returned it 41 yards to the Frankfort 31. From there, Garrett Crites ran 14 yards to the Frankfort eight. Fife got it to the five, then powered his way in from there with 9:32 on the clock
Frankfort (7-2) punted again a few minutes later, with McNeil pinning Keyser at its own eight-yard line. But the Tornado went 92 yards in eight plays, with Ravenscroft scoring on a five-yard run. The yardage came in quick, big chunks, as Fife had 11- and 23-yard runs, Crites a 21-yarder, and Ravenscroft 12- and 19-yard gains during the drive.
Keyser took over at the Frankfort 48 later in the quarter and scored six plays later. This time Crites took a handoff and side-stepped two Frankfort defenders on a 19-yard run that made it 20-0 with 11:52 left in the half.
“We just came out flat again, and I don’t know why,’’ said Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman, whose team fell behind early in a 55-29 loss at Washington last week. “We made too many mistakes in the first half.
“Keyser executed very well. They are big, fast and strong, and got up on us in the first half, and took advantage of our mistakes.”
Frankfort got to near midfield on its next drive, but was forced to punt again and, again, Turner came up big, returning the kick 40 yards to the Frankfort 40.
Ravenscroft ran 20 yards to the 20, and Fife powered up the gut untouched on a 20-yard touchdown run to make it 26-0. Keyser went 80 yards in eight plays later in the half, with Ravenscroft scoring on an eight-yard run to make it 32-0 with 1:08 left in the half.
Frankfort, outgained 276-70 in the first half, played much better in every phase in the second half. After a fumble recovery at the Keyser 19 by Devin Hughes, the Falcons scored on a four-yard run by Damian Morgan on the first play of the fourth quarter and had a goal-line stand after Keyser had first-and-goal from the one.
Whiteman said there was no major adjustments, except perhaps in attitude.
“I’m proud of the kids for the way they played the second half. At halftime we challenged them to play hard and with emotion to see if we could get back into the game,’’ he said. “It’s something we can build on going into the Hampshire game, which will have playoff implications as far as us having a home game.”
“Frankfort outplayed us in the second half,” Biser admitted. “We may see them again in the playoffs. We know that they are a good team.”
Keyser ended up with a 372-112 edge in total offense.
Gage Shaffer completed 13 of 29 passes for 86 yards to lead Frankfort. McNeil punted five times for a 49-yard average and also came up just a few yards short on a 52-yard field goal attempt.
Keyser plays at Mountain Ridge and Frankfort visits Hampshire next week.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org