CHESTER — Sun Valley coach Jim Grugan loved the way his offense was able to mix the run and the pass together to score five touchdowns in a 34-0 nonconference win over Chester. For him, though, the true stars of the show Saturday afternoon were his defensive players.
The Vanguards held the Clippers to 59 yards of offense and forced three fumbles.
"You've got to give it to our defense, our defense played well,' he said. "We're not very big, but they just keep running to the ball and they're doing a great job on that side of the ball now.'
The Vanguards (2-0) got things started right with a touchdown on the opening drive. T.J. Mancini was hit by a Chester player as he attempted to punt the ball away after a three-and-out, which gave Sun Valley a fresh set of downs. Mancini then led his offense down the field and capped the drive with his first touchdown throw of the day — this one for 15 yards to Ryan Riddle — to get the Vanguards on the board, 7-0.
Mancini's other touchdown, a 9-yard strike to Nate Cusumano, was the final score of the game. Riddle also added a 3-yard touchdown on the ground.
Chester (0-2) wasn't able to get much going all afternoon. The offense's first two drives resulted in lost fumbles, and even when the Clippers kept the ball, Sun Valley wasn't giving them much room to work with. Grugan had his team practice crowding the line all week and even though Chester came out in a more compact set than in last week's game against Henderson, the defense still knew who to watch.
"We watched film a lot so we kind of knew what they were going to run,' defensive back Kijana Gordon said. "We just got prepared for it.'
Gordon had a terrific day on offense as well. He reeled in a 34-yard reception that set up the third touchdown of the day, a 1-yard run by Brandon Williams. Gordon paced the ground game as well, rushing for 104 yards on seven carries with the bulk of the yards coming on a touchdown run from 70 yards out.
Chester coach Chuck Crews said his team is plenty athletic and can play good football, but mistakes like three fumbles and six penalties are tough for any team to overcome.
"It's a mental aspect,' he said. "The talent is here, but we've got to stay focused all the time.'