ASTON >> Break out the champagne.
For the first time in 10 seasons, the Sun Valley football team is unbeaten after the first three weeks of the season.
That became official Friday night in the stifling heat at Sun Valley when junior running back Charlie Wendling rushed for three touchdowns to help push the Vanguards past Upper Merion, 32-22 Friday night.
Wendling rushed for touchdowns of 40, 1 and 4 yards as the Vanguards scored on their first possession and never looked back.
“We just want to win, that’s what we want to do.” Wendling said. “We’re just taking it a week at a time.”
The Vanguards didn’t piddle around Friday. They scored on their first drive, with Wendling busting off a 40-yard touchdown run, and the Vanguards didn’t bother to check the rearview.
“That first drive was just what we wanted to do, run the ball down their throats,” Wendling added.
But the home team wasn’t through.
Quarterback Gabe Boccella found James Gines for a second score. And while the Vikings would close to 12-7, the Vanguards kept pressing.
Just before the half expired, running back Quentin West scored from six yards out, and the home team carried a 19-7 lead into the break.
“(Sun Valley) did just what we saw on tape,” Upper Merion coach Harold Smith said. “But give them credit, the executed.”
The Vikings made things interesting late in the third quarter when Mark Picariello’s 2-yard plough up the middle pulled the visitors to within 19-14.
But the Vanguards owned the fourth quarter.
They answered Upper Merion’s score with one of their own, when the running of Wendling and West, and key passes of 17 and 14 yards, got the Vanguards close enough for a 1-yard Wendling bust up the gut to restore the two-score cushion.
Then after the Vanguards defense swarmed to stop the Vikings on fourth-and-1 from the Upper Merion 38, Wendling scored again with 3:32 left to put the game on ice.
“We’re excited about every game,” Vanguards coach Ray Gionta said. “Winning a game is a big thing for us.
“But we’ll move on. We’ve got Oxford next week to start our Ches-Mont schedule.”
Next week is next week, but Gionta wasn’t about to forget this one.
“We weren’t hitting on all cylinders,” he said, “but we still found a way to win the game.”
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