Chandler, Sun Valley run by Pottstown


POTTSTOWN – Juwan Chandler looked like the kid on Christmas morning who’d gotten everything on his wish list.

In truth the Sun Valley senior burner, who’d missed all of his junior campaign with an Achilles injury, couldn’t have asked for anything more than he received in Sun Valley’s eason-opening 34-14 nonleague demolition of Pottstown Saturday afternoon at Grigg Memorial Field.

“I was just so excited to get back out here,” said Chandler. “I couldn’t wait.”

Chandler made up for lost time with a highlight-reel caliber performance that included a 48-yard touchdown reception from sophomore Gabe Boccella and a dazzling 27-yard sprint to the house that put the Vanguards in front to stay at 14-7 with 5:12 left in the first half.

All told, Chandler contributed 124 yards (76 rushing) from scrimmage on just 7 touches, highlighting a performance that featured a slew of big plays from Sun Valley under first-year coach Ray Gionta.

“We have some really good athletes,” said Chandler. “Our guys were coming off the ball well, providing a lot of lanes for us to run. It’s all about team for us. We’re not thinking about ourselves. Hopefully, this is going to be a show.”

The show had other headline performers, including Mike Fisher (98 rushing yards), Kijana Gordon (42-yard TD run, 90 rushing yards) and the lights-out linebacker tandem of Bryan Meehan and Bobby Kuhns – who unofficially combined for 19 tackles.

Sun Valley also showed a penchant for forcing turnovers, collecting a pair of fumbles and recovering an onside kick to supplement an offense that posted 367 total yards.

“We don’t have a personality yet,” said Gionta, who went 65-55 over the previous 11 seasons at Marple Newtown and has 40 years of coaching experience – including stints at Boyertown and St. Pius X in the PAC-10, where Pottstown resides. “We’re just trying to figure it out. We’re excited about winning a football game. Now we’re tied with half the teams in America.”

On the other side of that equation is Pottstown second-year coach Don Grinstead, who had seen many of these Vanguards before when he coached on the Middle School staff at Great Valley.

“They made a lot of big plays and have some really good athletes,” Grinstead said of an offense that had 8 plays of 20 yards or more. “The turnovers put the defense in a bad position. We need to get better in all areas and find some consistency.”

The Trojans got touchdown runs of 63 and 19 yards from slick southpaw quarterback Gary Wise, the second cutting the deficit to 21-14 with 1:02 left in the third quarter.

But Sun Valley was not going to let this one get away. The Vanguards responded to the touchdown with a 7-play, 63-yard scoring drive that was capped by Steve Okoorian’s two-yard dash off tackle. Boccella closed the scoring with a perfect 22-yard scoring strike to Steve Taylor midway through the fourth quarter.

“We’re trying to teach the kids to play fundamental football,” Gionta said. “We have five kids that have never played football before, so we’re trying to keep things simple. We have some good skill kids. Juwan had a big day. He’s shifty, explosive and fast.”

Sun Valley 34, Pottstown 14

Sun Valley   6 15 0 13 – 34

Pottstown   7   0 7   0 – 14

PT – G. Wise 63 run (Diamond kick) 2:51

SV – Chandler 48 pass from Boccella (kick failed) 1:13

SV – Chandler 27 run (Cusumano pass from Boccella) 5:12

SV – Gordon 42 run (Cusumano kick)

PT – G. Wise 19 run (Diamond kick) 1:02

SV – Okoorian 2 run (kick failed) 9:46

SV – Taylor 22 pass from Boccella (Cusumano kick) 5:58


Sun Valley Pottstown
14 First downs 11
297 Rushing yards 277
70 Passing yards -8
367 Total Yards 269
2-4-0 Passes C-A-I 2-10-0
4-1 Fumbles-lost 4-3
4-32 Penalties-yards 5-25
5-26.2 Punts-average 4-29.3



Sun Valley: Fisher 13-98; Gordon 6-90, TD; Chandler 6-76, TD; Meehan 2-23; Okoorian 5-13, TD; West 1-11; Boccella 4-(-14).

Pottstown: B. Wise 19-127; G. Wise 19-110, 2 TD; Tinson 4-40.


Sun Valley: Boccella 2-4-0, 70, 2 TDs.

Pottstown: G. Wise 2-10-0, -8.


Sun Valley: Chandler 1-48, TD; Taylor 1-22, TD.

Pottstown: Tinson 1-(-6), B. Wise 1-(-2).

Sacks: Pottstown – Humma.


Show Buttons
Hide Buttons