By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
The Fairmont Senior football team walked out of the locker room with their heads down and headed directly for the bus.
This was back in the beginning of October. The Polar Bears boasted a perfect record and were ranked first in the state. But the Polar Bears fell in decisive fashion to Bridgeport, 37-14, prompting coach J.L. Abbott to issue a prediction.
"Our future has not been written yet,” he said on the heels of the Polar Bears’ most disappointing loss of the season. “We are a resilient bunch. ... They haven't heard the last of us."
The Polar Bears have a chance to prove their coach’s words true this postseason and reclaim the No. 1 ranking which was lost at Bridgeport. The playoff bracket has Fairmont Senior on a collision course with the Indians in week two, where the Polar Bears will need to prove that the defense is better than the one that allowed running back Anthony Bonamico to turn in one of the best rushing performances in Bridgeport High School history.
But before they do that, the Polar Bears need to get past Keyser at 7:30 p.m. today at East-West Stadium, a tall task in itself.
The Polar Bears and Golden Tornado share two common opponents: Bridgeport and Frankfort. The results of these contests may provide some insight into the game.
After dealing Fairmont Senior its first loss of the season, Bridgeport rolled past Keyser the following week, 41-0. This (more) lopsided loss to a common opponent may suggest that the Polar Bears have an edge, as does their No. 7 ranking compared with Golden Tornado’s No. 10 ranking.
But while the Indians were running up the score on Keyser, Fairmont Senior was in the middle of a 21-6 loss to Frankfort. The Polar Bears hope the result against this common opponent isn’t the more telling one, as Keyser stomped Frankfort, 42-3 in week 10.
“Like we told the kids, in the playoffs there are no slouches,” Abbott said after Fairmont Senior defeated East Fairmont for its fourth straight win after the two mid-season losses.
Like Bridgeport, Keyser relies heavily upon the running game. This season the Golden Tornado has racked up more that 3,300 rushing yards but just 446 passing yards.
The Golden Tornado uses a variety of backs to get the job done. Danny Fife (872 yards and 11 touchdowns) got the bulk of the carries, but it was actually the quarterback, Cody Eversole, who led the team with 894 rushing yards to go along with 10 touchdowns.
Blake Ravenscrol (701 yards and 6 touchdowns) and Garrett Crites (466 yards and 6 touchdowns) will also get touches on offense.
Stopping, or at least slowing down, these backs will go a long way toward helping the Polar Bears advance, not to mention proving Abbott’s prediction correct.
“You can't be satisfied,” FSHS quarterback Austin Norman said. “Our work is not done.”
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