ASTON >> With a nickname like “Julz,” your game better have a little pizzazz.
Sun Valley’s Julian “Julz” Kelly has no worries in that department. As Octorara found out the hard way Friday night, the do-it-all junior has the ability to back up his flashy handle.
Kelly ran for four touchdowns and amassed 298 all-purpose yards as the Vanguards started fast and never looked back in a 49-21 Ches-Mont League romp over the visiting Braves.
“That No. 5 is a special player,” Octorara coach Jed King said. “Holy … we’re like, ‘Tackle him.’ He made like 20 guys miss every time.”
No, the Braves weren’t playing with more than the 11 allotted per side, it just seemed like Kelly made that many defenders miss each time he touched the football. He carried the ball seven times for 153 yards, and scored on runs of 30, 31, 48 and 36 yards. Kelly also had five receptions for 91 yards, returned two kicks for 54 yards and punted once for 31 yards as the Vanguards (4-3 overall, 2-2 Ches-Mont League) piled up 475 yards of total offense.
The first TD run was a thing of beauty. Kelly left several defenders sprawled on the field and he juked and danced his way into the end zone. His final score featured a stiff-arm any NFL player would envy.
Don’t ask him how he does it, though. When he sees himself on film he has the same reaction the fans do when they see him live.
“As I’m doing it I don’t even realize what I’m doing,” Kelly said. “When I see it later, it’s pretty awesome.”
It was the same for his final TD.
“I can’t wait to watch that one, either,” Kelly said. “My friends and teammates were telling me how cool it was. I didn’t realize what I did.”
“People are finding out about Julz,” Sun Valley coach Greg “Bubba” Bernhardt said. “He’s a heck of a player. He’s so versatile. He does everything. He can run the ball and catch it. We run him out of the wildcat. And when he gets in space, he makes people miss.”
Kelly may have been the one to finish off the Braves, but it was running back Caliph Jones and the defense that helped the Vanguards to jump out to a 14-0 lead. Jones scored the first of his two touchdowns on a two-yard run. That came one play after a 43-yard hookup between Kelly and quarterback Anthony Ellis.
One play after defensive end Jarred Creegan pounced on the first of his two fumble recoveries, Jones took a pass from Ellis 66 yards for a score. Jones finished with impressive numbers, too. He ran for 121 yards on 19 carries and finished with 187 all-purpose yards.
Ellis connected on 12 of 17 passes for 200 yards and directed that offense that amassed nearly 500 totals yards. The offensive line that paved the way for Kelly and Jones to run for a combined 274 yards, and gave up just one sack.
The defense also came up big. Octorara (2-5, 0-4) had 74 yards, three first downs and a touchdown after its first two possessions. The Braves managed just 124 yards, five first downs and one score the final nine times it had the football.
No one, though, shined brighter than the young man called ‘Julz’ by his teammates.
“He was unbelievable, but I wasn’t surprised,” Jones said of Kelly. “I expected that from him and tonight he showed what he can do.”