No. 5 Keyser shuts out RCB 28-0 in season opener

Aug. 26—KEYSER, W.Va. — No. 5 Keyser started strong on both sides in the first half, opening the season with a 28-0 shutout over Robert C. Byrd (RCB) on Friday night at Alumni and Friends Field at Tornado Alley.

"We were preaching fast start, we were preaching bring the juice," Keyser head coach Derek Stephen said. "We didn't think it would be that fast, but we'll take it every single time."

The Golden Tornado's first offensive play of the season went for a touchdown, and they never looked back.

"We got a lot of young guys, and it really showed tonight," RCB head coach Austin Scott said. "We probably played five or six freshmen tonight, lots of sophomores. It's just their welcome to high school football."

After forcing a punt on the Eagles (0-0) opening drive, Keyser took over at its own 34. On the first offensive play, Jack Stanislawczyk took a jet sweep 66 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown.

"We just installed it, it was a new variation of a jet sweep," Stanislawczyk said. "I got around the edge and there was nothing but green grass to see. Great hook blocks and down blocks from Josh Shoemaker and Chase Davis. They made my job really easy."

Later in the first quarter, Stanislawczyk intercepted a pass and returned it to the Keyser 30.

"It was a good read, just right place, right time," he said. "Being out in the yard, throwing with my dad when I was little. Just see ball, catch ball."

The Golden Tornado took over and completed a 16-play, 70-yard drive, taking about six minutes off the clock. Keyser converted three fourth downs with the final one resulting in a five-yard touchdown pass from Logan Rotruck to Shoemaker.

"I thought he was good," Stephen said of Rotruck. "He was making good decisions, putting the ball where it needed to be. That's just something we can build off of."

Down 14-0 midway through the first half, the Eagles went for it on fourth down, but only got a yard when they needed seven.

"It goes back to the young guys," Scott said. "We got a lot of guys playing their first game in high school football. We had penalties that set us back. Lot of miscues, there's really no excuse."

The Tornado responded as Kaii Kingman picked up 31 yards on two plays to set up first-and-goal at the one. Rotruck scored on a keeper on the next play to increase Keyser's lead to 21-0.

After another RCB punt, the Tornado took over with 31 seconds left. On the first play of the drive, Rotruck found Davis down the right sideline who went 87 yards to the house.

"That was huge," Stephen said. "It got the momentum going, got the energy up."

After a strong first half on both sides, Keyser's offense struggled in the second half. Junior Smith picked off the Tornado on the opening drive after intermission.

"On the interception, he made the right read, just didn't put the ball placement where it needed to be," Stephen said.

On Keyser's next drive, the Tornado fumbled and the Eagles recovered. Keyser fumbled a second time in the fourth quarter.

"They competed. I can't complain about their character," Scott said. "They competed, they came out and that's what it's all about. Went out there and competed. We couldn't get it done offensively, but we shut them out in the second half. I think that shows a little guts from our guys."

After rushing for 19 yards in the first half, RCB's Latrell Jones found some rhythm as he ran for 55 yards in the second half and gave the Eagles some much needed offense.

"I think we simplified the offense a little more," Scott said. "Just trying to get what we can get. Try to be respectable, try to run the football. You can't do anything unless you run the football."

After recovering a fumble, RCB faced fourth-and-five at the Keyser 20. Jones picked up five yards on a run. After bringing out the chains, the Eagles were just short and turned it over on downs.

"We've got a new defensive coordinator, he gets his first shutout in his very first game," Stephen said. "That's huge, I didn't get mine until week four or five. Coach (Kris) Steckman had the kids ready to play."

Rotruck went 5 for 13 for 128 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Shoemaker ran five times for 75 yards and a score.

Davis caught two passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.

"They both did a great job," Stephen said of Shoemaker and Davis. "We got some guys that can rotate in, so hopefully they can do that every week. We can throw in a couple other guys and that would be great."

Jones rushed 17 times for 74 yards. He also gained 83 yards on two returns in the first half. Rylan Rock went 7 for 16 for 55 yards and an interception.

"I thought he played well, carried himself well," Scott said of Jones. "They all played hard, just young and inexperienced."

Up next for the Tornado is a road game at Hedgesville on Friday at 7 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the teams since 1992.

"It gives you something to build off of," Stephen said of the shutout. "It gives you confidence going into next week. They can do it, they've seen it. They know to put the effort in to do it again."

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @JKendallCTN.