KEYSER, W.Va. — By sending its visitors packing before they had barely unpacked, the Keyser Golden Tornado raced through Mingo Central and to today’s West Virginia Class AA state quarterfinals the way a hungry dog races to raw meat.
With the starters well rested, having played only one half in last week’s first-round victory, the second-seeded and playoff-veteran Golden Tornado (10-1) return to Alumni and Friends Stadium at Tornado Alley today, 1:30 p.m., to face the seventh-seeded Scott High Skyhawks (8-3), of Madison in Boone County, to see if they can reach the state semifinals with as much efficiency and hunger as they reached the quarterfinals.
A victory today would send the Golden Tornado to the semifinals for the first time since 2002, and to a return match-up at home with Bridgeport, which defeated Frankfort, 28-0, last night in Bridgeport. During the regular season, Keyser beat Bridgeport 25-0.
In its 61-14 first-round victory over Mingo Central, Keyser scored on its first eight possessions and nine of its first 10. The Tornado held a 40-0 lead after the first quarter, a 54-0 lead at the half by outgaining the Miners, 199-45, on its way to finishing with 348 yards, with 314 coming on the ground.
Danny Fife scored three touchdowns and rushed for 66 yards in the first half, pushing his season total to 1,042 yards and 21 touchdowns. Blake Ravenscroft, who has rushed for 925 yards and 11 touchdowns, also scored a touchdown, before sophomore Hunter Kasmier took it from there, rushing for a game-high 173 yards on 15 carries and scoring two touchdowns.
Quarterback Cody Eversole hit James Flint with a 27-yard touchdown pass and Amonte Turner returned a punt return 57 yards for a touchdown.
The Skyhawks broke not much more than a sweat themselves in advancing with a 46-16 win over Wyoming East last weekend. Robert Bias rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown, while Cameron Loftus rushed for 61 yards and added two scores on six carries.
Cody Brown completed 5 of 11 passes for 85 yards and one TD, a 29-yard hookup with Michael Belcher (five catches, 57 yards). Tyler Jude also threw a 37-yard scoring pass to Dylan Dehart. For the game, Scott rushed for 225 yards and passed for 138.
The Skyhawks, who led 25-7 at the half and 39-10 entering the fourth, forced five turnovers against the Warriors
“Most of these kids played two rounds last year, so they know what it’s like to be in the playoffs,” Keyser head coach Sean Biser said of his players and how they would prepare for this game. “They understand that every round gets tougher depending on whom you draw. They also know that we talked about Scott being the number-one team for a while before they ended up losing to Wayne. So they know it’s going to be a ball game.”
Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org