By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
It was business as usual for Fairmont Senior as it hosted Keyser at East-West Stadium Friday night. The Polar Bears were able to ride a strong first half to a 49-28 victory over the Golden Tornado in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
Austin Norman and Neil Scherich got things clicking early, and the Polar Bears never looked back.
After senior Luke Hrapchak put Fairmont Senior on the board first with a 13-yard rumble, Norman threw four first-half touchdown passes to put the Polar Bears on top 42-8 at the break.
Two of those passes were to Scherich for scores.
Keyser, which was without its top running back Danny Fife, couldn’t seem to get things going on the ground in the first half.
While some large bursts were there, the Fairmont Senior defense seemed to stifle any and everything coming its way.
The defense, led by Hrapchak in the middle, allowed 140 yards of total offense in the first half to Fairmont Senior’s 378.
The second half saw the Polar Bears slow things down after they lost Norman on a play in the third quarter.
The senior quarterback was hit in the backfield and was taken from the field via ambulance with an ankle injury.
Despite the loss of their quarterback, and a push by the Keyser offense, Fairmont Senior hung on for a 21-point victory.
With the win, the Polar Bears will advance to play Bridgeport, which made short work of Roane County, on the road next week in the second round of the playoffs.