Sabree spearheads defense in win for Sun Valley

ATGLEN >> Sun Valley’s offense warmed up in the second half after a mundane first 24 minutes to knock off reeling Octorara, 28-6, in a Ches-Mont League American Division football contest Friday.

“We came out and did what we needed to do in the second half,” Sun Valley coach Ray Gionta said. “We made some adjustments and the kids executed well. It gave us a ‘W’ and though it’s just number two, we build on this and try to get a couple more.”

Sun Valley (2-5, 1-2) received the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards on seven plays. The march was capped by Ryan Kester’s 7-yard run for the early lead.

But Sun Valley would only manage another 112 yards of offense in the half, and twice failed to convert on fourth-and-short.

One of those stops saw the Braves taking over on their 36. Facing a fourth-and-three, Scotty Burridge broke loose for a 57-yard run to the end zone. The Braves failed to convert the point after and trailed, 7-6.

“Our defense played great,” said Gionta. “That was the best defensive game we’ve had all year. Our two inside backers, Bobby Koons and Charlie Wendling played great and Wali Sabree was all over the place making plays.”

Sabree had three of the Vanguards’ five sacks, with Wendling and Tim Brooks contributing one each. While the defense pitched a shutout, the Sun Valley running game picked up the pace and added three second-half scores — two by quarterback Gabe Boccella — and a second from Kester.

Kester led all rushers with 152 yards on 17 carries, with Caliph Jones adding 88 yards on 11 carries and Boccella notching 78 yards on just five carries.

For Octorara, Burridge finished the night with 75 yards on 12 carries, while quarterback Trent Pawling completed 4 of 9 passes for 43 yards.

Octorara (0-7, 0-3) is still looking for its first win on the season.

“The kids played hard for four quarters and we were still in it late,” said Octorara coach Jedd King. “We missed our opportunities, sure, but they played their hearts out. Credit Sun Valley, they had some big boys in the middle clogging things up, and number 10 (Sabree) is just an animal. We just couldn’t get out running game going. We’ve got three weeks left, and we’ve just got to keep putting in the effort and keep trying to get better each week.”

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