Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

November 24, 2012

For Keyser, bald is beautiful

For a school with three state football championships and four appearances in its rich history, 43 years is a long time to wait to get back to that potential lofty status.

On Friday afternoon, Keyser, led by ninth-year head coach Sean Biser, put an end to the state championship journey drought with a convincing 42-14 victory over the Bridgeport Indians, no stranger themselves to state championships, with six titles in seven appearances. The Indians’ first title came in 1955 (Class A) followed by championships in 1972 and 1974 (Class AAA), and 1986, 1988 and 2000 (Class AA). Bridgeport lost in the 2001 AA title game.

Keyser’s titles, under legendary coach Fred “Tack” Clark, were won in Class A in 1956 and Class AA in 1962 and 1969. The loss followed his first championship team in 1957, 14-13 to Vinson in Class A.

So coach, how does it feel to be the second bald man to take a Keyser football team to the state championship game?

“That’s right,” Biser laughed shortly after pacing the sidelines at Alumni and Friends Stadium at Tornado Alley. “To even be mentioned in the same breath as the first guy is pretty special especially for me coming from Keyser and knowing what that’s all about — knowing about Coach Clark and how influential he was and how every coach that comes to Keyser is going to be compared to Coach Clark.

“It’s very special, especially being an alum and playing at Keyser. My family played at Keyser, my kids play at Keyser so it means a lot to me.”

So how did Keyser do it?

In the regular-season meeting against Bridgeport, then rated No. 2 in the state to Keyser’s fourth-place standing, the Golden Tornado thoroughly dominated, holding the Indians to only two first downs and 33 total yards while scoring a touchdown in each quarter for a methodical 25-0 victory.

On Friday, it was early big plays that continued to be the postseason theme for the Golden Tornado, which led 14-0 after the first quarter. In three playoff games, all at home, Keyser has been up 73-0 after the first 12 minutes.

“We scored on such big plays in the first half, we didn’t really have a chance to get a rhythm going and find the one thing that was working,” Biser said.

The first two big plays belonged to junior Blake Ravenscroft. He scored on a 28-yard run on the Tornado’s first play from scrimmage and its fourth, a 73-yard highlight-reel run. He touched the ball three times in the first quarter for 102 yards.

Keyser only had the ball for 2:18 of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Cody Eversole, on his first pass attempt of the game, hit J.R. Flint on a 37-yard touchdown pass.

At halftime, Keyser led 21-0 even though it only had four first downs (three came on the scoring plays) and possessed the ball for less than a third (7:02) of the half’s 24 minutes.

“The defense played great,” Biser said. “The offense struggled a little bit in the first half. We put points on the board but they were big plays more than anything. With the adjustments we made in the second half, we were able to come out and just bash, bash, bash and ground the ball at them and then hit them with a couple of wide plays once they started sucking to the inside — that was huge.”

It didn’t look that way at first. Receiving the kick to start the second half, Ravenscroft, who finished with 243 yards on 14 carries, struck again, this time racing up the right sideline for 55 yards on the team’s fifth play, thus putting the game out of reach at 28-0.

From here, things evened out as the teams exchanged touchdowns on drives of 71 and 57 yards for Bridgeport and two 75 yarders for Keyser. The Tornado also gained a slight edge in time, holding the ball for 12:46 to the Indians’ 11:14. Keyser outgained the Indians 390-294, with a 340-199 edge in rushing.

“They did what they do well,” said Bridgeport head coach Josh Nicewarner. “They spread the wealth between 20 (Ravenscroft) and 33 (Danny Fife, who had 71 yards on 12 carries and a one-yard touchdown). They do a good job of spreading that around.

“They get so many guys to the point of attack (defensively) its just amazing and unfortunately for us, they’re probably as young or younger than we are so its probably going to make for a nice matchup next year.”

Who knows? Maybe it won’t be another 43 years before Keyser returns to the state championship.

Jeff Landes is a sportswriter for the Cumberland Times-News. He can be reached at jlandes@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Street flowers Street flowers

    Walk along Frostburg’s Main Street in the spring and summer and one can’t miss the beautiful floral arrangements that adorn the lampposts.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • President and Obamacare: Who needs Congress?

    Being a fellow from a small town like Cumberland I don’t always really understand what’s going on in Washington. But I have watched a few houses being built over the years. I even helped some with one house, but my brother fired me from that work pretty quickly, mainly because it was his house being built.

    April 22, 2014

  • Sweet Success Business Forum this evening in Frostburg

    As a member of the Frostburg Business and Professional Association (FBPA), I am pleased to inform the community of the “Sweet Success” event sponsored by the city of Frostburg and our organization.

    April 22, 2014

  • First base First base

    The idea of spending up to $7,500 for a study about the possibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area should at least be allowed to reach first base.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • You can help United Way reach its goal

    The United Way of Allegany County campaign for 2013-14 will end April 30 and to date has raised more than $430,000, which is over 86 percent of its goal. But there is still $70,000 to be raised in a very short time.

    April 21, 2014

  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo