Sun Valley holds off Kennett, 21-13
10/04/2016 01:03PM ● Published by Richard Gaw
Nothing -- not even the blue and white pageantry of a Homecoming, the enthusiasm of students and alumni, or the brassy bombast of a marching band -- could hold back the persistent, misty rain that fell last Friday evening at Kennett High School.
The only hope of redemption through the condensation would have been in the form of a strong Blue Demons performance on the slick turf, but that too washed out the Homecoming enthusiasm, as Kennett fell to visiting Sun Valley, 21-13, in Ches-Mont League football play.
With early-season victories over Chichester, Twin Valley and Octorara, head Coach Doug Langley's squad went into their Oct. 30 game with a respectable 3-2 record, which put them in thicket of the Ches-Mont American Division. Quarterback Jake Dilcher had two positives in the team's offensive arsenal – the rushing of Myles Robinson and Connor Hyzny, and the receiving of Kerry Tomasetti and Dominic D'Angelo – but by the end of the first half against Sun Valley, little evidence of these weapons were seen.
On its second possession of the game, Sun Valley, led by quarterback Gabe Boccella, recovered a punt on its own 32-yard line and marched up the field for a 14-snap possession that finished with a 13-yard rollout pass by Boccella to Quentin West with 2:41 left in the first quarter. Sun Valley's drive ate up much of the first quarter clock, giving Kennett just two tries at scoring.
Beginning the second quarter, Kennett had the ball on the Sun Valley 38-yard line when, on fourth-and-one, Robinson ran for a first down, but the drive was squashed when Dilcher was then sacked for a 17-yard loss.
Following a deflected punt, Sun Valley inherited the ball at midfield and, on his first snap, Boccella hit receiver Ishy Ahmad with a perfect strike over the middle for a 48-yard score with 10:22 left in the first half.
Down two scores, Kennett began its first touchdown drive on its own 35-yard line. A pass to Tomasetti moved the chains to the 44-yard line, and on the next play, Kilcher found receiver Drake McNamara over the middle for the catch. McNamara then bobbled the ball, regained it and ran through several tackle attempts to the Sun Valley 30-yard line. After three incomplete passes, Dilcher found D'Angelo on fourth-and-ten for the Blue Demons first score with 9:10 remaining in the first half.
The dent Kennett made in Sun Valley's lead was very short-lived, however, as Boccella engineered a 75-yard drive, which included a 34-yard pass to tight end James Gines that moved the ball to the eight yard line. A carry by West moved the ball to the one-yard line and, with four minutes remaining in the half, Boccella deflected tacklers on his way to Sun Valley's third touchdown to send the Vanguards into halftime with a 21-7 lead.
Hyzny, who had not carried the ball at all during the first half, gained 17 yards on the first snap of the second half, which moved Kennett to the Sun Valley 47-yard line. His next two carries gained five and seven yards, respectively, and suddenly, the Blue Demons found themselves in the thick of a potential comeback. On first-and-ten with 10 minutes left in the third quarter and rolling out on Sun Valley's 35-yard line, Dilcher found Robinson, who made a spectacular catch in the end zone over a defender for the touchdown. Although the extra-point attempt failed, Kennett found themselves a score and change away from the lead.
Although the defensive corps of Giovanni Cortes, Neil Erickson, Josh Ploener and Hyzny kept Sun Valley scoreless in the second half, the Kennett offense could not capitalize on its opportunities. On fourth-and-16 with 5:21 left in the game, Dilcher found D'Angelo in the end zone for what appeared to be a 25-yard score, but D'Angelo was ruled out of bounds. With the ball on its own 15-yard line with just over two minutes remaining, Dilcher found Tomasetti for an 11-yard gain, but on fourth-and-ten with 1:30 left, Dilcher was sacked, ending its final scoring threat.
With the loss, Kennett fell to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Ches-Mont American, and faces Bayard Rustin (2-4 overall) in West Chester on Oct. 8. Sun Valley (5-1 overall, 2-1 in the Ches-Mont American) will host Octorara on Oct. 7.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.