ASTON — Sun Valley coach Greg Bernhardt had already committed to going for the potential game-winning two point conversion earlier on the drive.
That part was easy.
His play call seemed easy enough as well, and the answer he got in the huddle during a timeout left no trace of second guessing.
“We knew we were going for it,” Bernhardt said. “I had a play in mind so I asked the guys if they wanted to run this play or just give it to Julz (Kelly). I asked Julz if he wanted the rock and he said, ‘absolutely.’ That kid is unreal.”
Despite everyone in the stadium knowing Kelly was getting the ball, the senior running back stayed true to form for the night and proved unstoppable.
He not only gave the Vanguard their first and only lead, but moments later stripped West Chester East’s Joey Wileczek to ultimately ice the game in what ended as classic Ches-Mont League crossover game.
Friday at home, Sun Valley won, 50-49, and Kelly did about as much to impact a game as a player could.
Not only did he carry the ball 27 times for 175 yards and four touchdowns, but he caught two passes for 60 yards, returned a kick 78 yards for a score, passed for a two-point conversion, ran for the winning two-pointer and forced a fumble.
“Number five (Kelly) is a different breed,” Sun Valley quarterback Anthony Ellis said.
The Vikings came in at 3-0 and got off to a fast start when Michael Gray picked off a pass and ran it 53 yards for an opening score in the first minute.
Ryan Cassidy threw touchdowns to Kyle Cichanowsky and Joey Wileczek in the second quarter to give East (3-1) a 21-14 lead.
The third quarter was pure mayhem.
East took 14-point leads twice on long touchdown passes from Cassidy to John Wileczek and Gray, only to see those leads evaporate seemingly every time Kelly touched the ball.
“The kid is unreal,” East coach Scott Stephen said. “He’s an absolute dynamic football player. We talked about it all week about how a six-yard gain can turn into a 60-yard gain real quick.”
East reclaimed the lead when Pierre Marchant broke a 65-yard run and had a great opportunity to establish some momentum, but Sun Valley (3-1) stole it with another big play.
On a third-and-19 from the Vanguard 38, Ellis found a wide-open Dayon Belgrave behind the defense to tie the game at 42 with 37 seconds left in the third.
“Our motto coming in was to keep punching,” Bernhardt said. “However many punches (East) threw, we were gonna throw one more.”
The Vikings had another swing early in the fourth when they drove right down the field, 63 yards in seven plays, to grab the lead with Marchant’s second TD.
The Vikings picked off Ellis for the third time on the night on the ensuing drive, but Sun Valley stopped East a yard short to force a punt and got the ball back 57 yards away.
The Vanguards marched right down the field. Kelly took a direct snap and handed it to Lance Stone, who raced off-tackle for an 11-yard score, setting up the dramatic two-point attempt.
“When we got down we had confidence we could come back and get to the end zone,” Kelly said. “The offensive line did an amazing job getting us where we wanted to go.”
John Wileczek returned Sun Valley’s kick 36 yards to the Vanguard 39, but Kelly’s strip led to Demiree Sutton’s second fumble recovery of the night. Ellis used a quarterback sneak to convert a fourth-and-one at the East 44 to end East’s hopes.
“We challenged the kids come back and overcome it and the fact that we were able to keep coming back proves to us that now we did it,” Bernhardt said. “Now we know how to do it. We had to get over that hump.”
East will take on Avon Grove next week with a sour taste in its mouth.
“It’s all about how we respond,” Stephen said. “The three wins we had prior to his game don’t define our season and this loss doesn’t define our season. We still have six games left and it’s all about how we respond after our first setback.”
Sun Valley 50, West Chester East 49
West Chester East 7 14 21 7 – 49
Sun Valley 0 14 28 8 – 50
WCE- Gray 53 interception return (Dooley kick)
SV- Kelly 1 run (Whittington kick)
WCE- Cichanowsky 22 pass from Cassidy (Dooley kick)
SV- Kelly 3 run (Whittington kick)
WCE- Joey Wileczek 25 pass from Cassidy (Dooley kick)
WCE- John Wileczek 58 pass from Cassidy (Dooley kick)
SV- Kelly 1 run (kick failed)
WCE- Gray 65 pass from Cassidy (Dooley kick)
SV- Kelly 78 kick return (Stone from Kelly)
SV- Kelly 25 run (Whittington kick)
WCE- Marchant 65 run (Dooley kick)
SV- Belgrave 62 pass from Ellis (Whittington kick)
WCE- Marchant 5 run (Dooley kick)
SV- Stone 11 run (Kelly run)
First downs 8 20
Yards rushing 28-251 49-310
Yards passing 187 150
Total yards 438 460
Passing 7-12-1 6-11-3
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Punts-avg. 2-35 1-15
Penalties-yds 6-45 9-69
Rushing: Phoenixville — West Chester East — Marchant 11-138, TD; Cichanowsky 10-57; John Wileczek 2-34; Cassidy 1-11; Joey Wileczek 4-11. Sun Valley — Kelly 27-175, 4 TDs; Ellis 12-78; Stone 9-58, TD; team 1-(-1).
Passing: West Chester East — Cassidy 7-12, 187 yards, 4 TDs, INT. Sun Valley — Ellis 6-11, 150 yards, TD, 3 INTs.
Receiving: West Chester East — John Wileczek 2-67, TD; Gray 1-65, TD; Joey Wileczek 2-27, TD; Cichanowsky 1-22, TD; Warner 1-5. Sun Valley — Belgrave 4-91, TD; Kelly 2-60
Interceptions: West Chester East — Gray, Montgomery, John Wileczek. Sun Valley — Stone