WHEELING—Clearly the words 'Keyser' and 'Wheeling' don't mix too well.
After finishing 2012 with a 35-0 loss to Wayne in the state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium, the Golden Tornado, ranked second in Class AA, returned to the scene of the crime and again struggled, falling behind 42-6 at the half to the Wheeling Park Patriots, tabbed fifth in the larger Class AAA entering the week, and losing by a final of 45-22.
Danny Fife ran for two scores and a two-point conversion for Keyser, who lose consecutive games for the first time since October 15-21, 2011.
Keyser started well: a holding penalty on Wheeling Park forced a punt on the opening possession of the game, then KHS moved the ball into Patriots territory with the running of Danny Fife and Garrett Crites.
But Blake Ravenscroft fumbled to give the ball back to WP.
Again the Keyser defense held, forcing a punt after allowing just one yard on three plays.
Fife ran for 12 yards on first down, but was stopped for no gain on the next two plays and then gained only two yards on third-and-5 after a flag on Wheeling Park.
It took only one play for Wheeling Park to take the lead for good: quarterback Zach Phillips was flushed left, and just kept going: 71 yards, to the house.
Wheeling Park led, 7-0, with 3:22 left in the first quarter.
Ravenscroft's second fumble of the game on the next play from scrimmage was scooped up and returned 29 yards for a touchdown by Chalmer Moffett.
Keyser went three-and-out, then Park scored again on the first play of the second quarter on an 8-yard pass from Phillips to Moffett.
Wheeling Park led, 21-0, with 11:55 left in the half.
Fife returned the ensuing kickoff to the Wheeling Park 8, then, on fourth-and-goal from the 3 after Dustin Lucas had set the table with a 4-yard run, Fife burst through the center of the line for a 3-yard touchdown.
His try for the extra point was wide right: Wheeling Park led, 21-6, with 10:07 left in the half.
Savion Johnson's 43-yard run set the table for a 36-yard connection from Phillips to Eric Banks, increasing the lead to 28-6 with 8:42 left in the half.
Park added two more TD's in the half to lead 42-6 at the break.
Keyser moved the chains on an 8-yard pass from Cody Eversole to Harley Yaider, a 17-yard run by Ravenscroft, and, after a 9-yard scramble by Eversole, on a 2-yard run by Crites.
Facing fourth-and-9 from the Wheeling Park 39, a drop on a pass turned the ball over on downs.
The rest of the quarter passed without incident on the field, but the fourth quarter started with Keyser's third lost fumble of the game, giving the Patriots the ball at the KHS 22.
Page 2 of 2 - Wheeling Park tacked on three points with a field goal after a solid stand by the Keyser rush defense, extending the lead to 45-6 with 9:40 left.
Fife's return to the Wheeling Park 37 set up Keyser's second scoring drive: Crites for 12, Hunter Kasmier twice for a total of six yards, then Fife took several would-be tacklers into the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown.
Fife ran for two, cutting the deficit to 31 points, 45-14, with 7:49 left.
After a Wheeling Park three-and-out, Keyser put together an 8-play, 58-yard drive, with Eversole carrying three times for 30 yards to lead the way.
Erik Willis finished from a yard out, and Eversole ran for two to make it 45-22 with 1:20 left.
Keyser (0-1) hosts Berkeley Springs on Friday at 7:30 p.m.