ASTON >> Sun Valley head coach Ray Gionta has seen a lot of football during his tenure at both Marple Newtown and now with the Vanguards. He’s also seen his share of strong, individual performances from various players but he may have finally seen the best, courtesy of wide receiver Ishy Ahmad
Ahmad caught six passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns along with a kickoff return for a score as Sun Valley dismantled Octorara, 51-6, Friday night in a Chest-Mont League matchup.
Ahmad caught two passes from quarterback Gabe Boccella on the Vanguards’ opening drive, including a 47-yard score. On the ensuing possession, he hauled in a 29-yarder for his second touchdown.
Octorara began working its way back into the game on a flea-flicker pass from wideout Cade Dalton to Brandon Garver for a 66-yard touchdown to make to pull with 13-6 with 45 seconds to play in the first quarter. But Ahmad took the ensuing kickoff 86 yards to halt the Braves’ momentum.
Gionta was in awe by his receiver’s performance.
“First of all, Ahmad, I’ve never seen a performance like that from someone I’ve coached. That was just a phenomenal game,” said Gionta, whose team tallied 454 yards of total offense to the Braves’ 191.
The receiver who starts opposite Ahmad, Caliph Jones, also put up a dominant game rushing for touchdowns of 25 and 75 yards. The junior feels when he and Ahmad have individual games like they did against the Braves, it makes things easier on their teammates.
“It gives us a boost and helps us get better as a whole,” Jones said. “It builds chemistry with each other, and pumps up the crowd to give us more energy.”
After Garver’s touchdown, Octorara (1-6 overall, 0-3 league) either punted or turned the ball over on every drive thereafter. The Braves were limited to just 64 yards on the ground, but did see Garver gain 106 yards on four catches. Octorara head coach Jed King said Sun Valley (6-1, 3-1) was a good team to measure his against but mounting losses have really worn on them.
“I feel like right now we still have to set an identity for ourselves,” King said. “They know that if we get down and put our heads down, it’s going to end up the way it did.”
Ahmad also made an impact on defense, recording a fumble recovery and a tackle for loss. The senior was pleased with his team’s win but feels the Vanguards have not yet reached their peak.
“I feel like we’re doing great but I don’t feel like we have played as good as we can play,” Ahmad said.