KEYSER, W.Va. — The Keyser High Golden Tornado, which has blown away its first two playoff opponents, squares off against a familiar opponent today with a trip to the Class AA football state championship game at stake.
Second-seeded Keyser (11-1), coached by Sean Biser, hosts third-seeded Bridgeport (9-2), at 1:30 p.m., at Alumni and Friends Field at Tornado Alley.
The first state semifinal of the day is a rematch of a regular-season game just five weeks ago, which Keyser won 25-0. The other semifinal is tonight, with fourth-seeded Robert C. Byrd (11-1) playing at top-seeded Wayne (12-0) at 7:30.
The semifinal winners will play for the state championship on Friday, Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m., at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Keyser’s hasn’t played in a state championship game since 1969, a 21-20 win over Winfield. Bridgeport’s last appearance in a state final was in 2001, a 21-7 loss to Poca. The Indians won the 2000 Class AA title by beating Wayne, 14-6.
Both Keyser and Bridgeport have breezed through the first and second rounds of the postseason.
The Golden Tornado routed Scott 53-8 in last week’s quarterfinal, and Mingo Central 61-14 in the first round. They’ve done much of their damage on the ground, running for 809 yards in the two games, including 491 last week against Scott.
Keyser led 40-0 at halftime and 53-0 until Scott finally scored in the final minutes. Blake Ravenscroft ran for 229 yards on only 21 carries, and Danny Fife ran 11 times for 88 yards and three touchdowns for Keyser. Fife has scored six TDs in the playoffs and has 24 for the season.
Bridgeport routed River View 54-6 in the first round and shut out Frankfort 28-0 last week.
Brett Hathaway ran 33 times for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the quarterfinal win over Frankfort. The Indians ran for 317 yards and held the Falcons to only 39.
In the Keyser-Bridgeport regular-season game, played Oct. 19 at Keyser, it was the Golden Tornado defense that stole the show. Keyser, in posting one of its four shutouts of the year, held Bridgeport to only two first downs and 33 yards of offense. The Indians managed to cross midfield only once. Bridgeport was ranked No. 2 in Class AA at the time, and Keyser was No. 4.
Fife ran for 91 yards and had two short touchdown runs. Ravenscroft broke free for a 37-yard touchdown run and Amonte Turner scored on an 11-yard dash.
During its area high eight-game winning streak, Keyser has outscored its opponents by a whopping 299-42.
The state semifinal pairings and championship game schedule is listed in today’s Scoreboard page.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org