No. 10 ranked Portage Central tops NilesPublished 12:26am Saturday, September 19, 2009
By SCOTT NOVAK
Niles Daily Star
The Niles varsity football team may have thought they were seeing double Friday night against Portage Central.
But actually, it was just Spencer Munson all over the field.
Munson ran for 120-plus yards in the opening have and scored both of the Mustangs touchdown to help lead Portage Central to a 42-8 Big 16 Conference non-divisional victory.
The lopsided final score probably doesn’t tell the entire story as the Niles defense kept the Vikings in the game until a Munson interception, one of three he had in the second half, turned the tide in the fourth quarter.
Munson scored on runs of 4- and 61-yards in the first half, but his interception return to the Niles 1-yard line early in the final quarter ended all hope the Vikings had of getting back into the contest.
Niles held Portage Central, ranked No. 10 in Division 2, to just 14 points in the opening 24 minutes of play.
The Vikings (1-3) then came out and scored on its first possession of the second half to cut the lead to 14-8.
Myles Busby hauled in a Cameron Sly 24-yard touchdown pass and then David Garner ran in the 2-point conversion to make it a one-score game.
But behind the legwork of Munson, quarterback Jeremy Renda and Dan Leighty, the Mustangs drove the ball down the field and regained a two-touchdown advantage.
Leighty capped the nice drive with a 2-yard run to make it 21-8 with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter.
Neither team threatened to score in the final five minutes of the third quarter and Portage Central (4-0) turned the tide to start the fourth.
After Munson’s 45-yard interception return, he got the ball from Renda and scored from a yard out with little resistance.
To cap his sensational evening, Munson picked off another Sly pass and raced 47-yards untouched for another score to put the Mustangs up 35-8.
Cody Stace capped the scoring with just 22 seconds left with a 20-yard run through the middle for the Niles defense.
Sly, who returned at starting quarterback for the first time since dislocating his shoulder, finished the night 11-of-27 for 140 yards and three interceptions.
Busby caught four of those passes for 78 yards, while Garner had three receptions for 44 yards.
But in the end, Niles coach Dan Brawley needed his two standout wide receivers to make more of an impact.
“Offensively we made some things happen down the field,” Brawley said. “I tell you what, those two kids on the outside (Busby and Garner) are as good as anybody around there is no doubt. They made some plays tonight, but they have to make several plays for us to be successful.
“Our offensive line did a heckuva job up front and they gave Cameron time he needs. They gave him all the time he needed to do what he had to do and I thought he threw some good balls. I thought Cameron played pretty decent,” he added.
Ricky Briand and Hugh Hatcher both were credited with fumble recoveries for the Vikings, who also got 23 tackles from Cal Poehlman.
Munson finished with 145 yards on 18 carries.
Portage Central 7 7 7 21 – 42
Niles 0 0 8 0 – 8
PC – Spencer Munson 4 run (Patrick Drabik kick)
PC – Munson 61 run (Drabik kick)
N – Myles Busby 24 pass from Cameron Sly (David Garner run)
PC – Dan Leighty 2 run (Drabik kick)
PC – Munson 1 run (Drabik kick)
PC – Munson 47 interception return (Drabik kick)
PC – Cody Stace 20 run (Drabik kick)