This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website and the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website.
ASTON — It was the Kijana Gordon and the offensive line show for Sun Valley as they racked up 353 yards — all on the ground — to come out on top in a shootout against Kennett, 38-27 Friday night in a Ches-Mont League American Division contest.
“Kijana had a great game,” said Sun Valley head coach Ray Gionta. “He’s a kid who we moved into that position a couple weeks ago. It has taken him a little bit of time to figure out where the holes are and how to play that position and how to run the ball from that position. I think he figured it out tonight.”
He more than figured it out against Kennett as he carried the ball 31 times for an incredible 285 yards and six touchdowns.
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In fact, every single touchdown from Sun Valley (1-2, 2-3) came from Gordon, including two massive runs of 61 and 68 yards in the second quarter.
“It’s the biggest I’ve ever had, but the line did most of it,”Gordon said. “It’s all them. Give all them the credit.”
No matter who gets the credit, one thing is for sure: Kennett (1-2, 1-4) couldn’t find a single way to stop Gordon.
“The problem was their skilled players were a little bit too much for our defense to handle,” said Kennett head coach Scott Green. “When they’re running the ball like that, it’s tough to stop them. We didn’t have the offense on the field much in the second half and we have to clean some of that up if we’re going to be successful this year.”
The Blue Demons were able to hold off Sun Valley in the first quarter, forcing two punts.
But suddenly things began to shift when Gordon broke free for a 61-yard touchdown 20 seconds into the second quarter for Sun Valley’s first score in four games.
“It felt good because we didn’t score any points in the last three weeks,” Gordon said. “It definitely felt good getting on the scoreboard.”
Suddenly, the game turned into a shootout between two teams looking to get their second win on the season.
“I thought we had a good game plan together offensively,” Green said. “The kids worked hard. Everybody is out here trying their hardest and doing their best. We had some injuries that we tried to overcome and their talent was just better than ours tonight.”
The two teams battled back-and-forth, with the lead switching hand six times and almost turning into a “whatever you can do, I can do better.”
In the last six minutes of the third quarter, both teams scored on each of their drives, compiling four touchdowns between them.
In fact, Gordon supplied both Sun Valley scores while Kennett quarterback Nick Dunlevy did the same.
Though Dunlevy didn’t complete a pass until Kennett’s final drive in the game, he did lead his team with his own two feet, holding onto the ball 23 times for 161 yards.
“When Nick goes, the offense goes and tonight was one of those nights,” Green said. “We game planned for that. We’re not surprised by that, but he’s definitely a big part of our offense.”
The big turning point in the game came late in the fourth when, faced with a fourth-and-5 on their own 20 and trailing by five, Green had his team go for the first down.
“I knew the game was in that down,” he said. “I just felt that we had a hard time stopping their fullback and I thought if we were going to win this game, we needed to make a play.”
Unfortunately for Kennett, Sun Valley’s defense stood tall and forced an incomplete pass.
“(Green) did what he thought he had to do to win the football game,” Gionta said. “He’s not here to keep the score close. He knows how to win. That was it. They had to try and win the game.”
After stopping the Blue Demons, Sun Valley came out on their next possession and sealed the win with another touchdown, putting the score our of reach and leaving Kennett without enough time.
“The defense did enough when they had to,” Gionta said. “(Kennett is) a well-coached team. Scott Green does a fabulous job. He’s a great coach. It’s bittersweet beating them and beating him.”