Niles snaps three-game losing streakPublished 12:23am Saturday, September 26, 2009
MATTAWAN – The Niles varsity football team snapped a three-game losing streak Friday night by scoring early and often against host Mattawan.
The Vikings (2-3, 1-2) scored at least one touchdown in every quarter to take a 39-19 Big 16 Conference West Division victory over the Wildcats.
Cameron Sly connected with David Garner for three touchdowns and ran for another as Niles rolled up 365 yards in total offense.
Sly connected with Garner on touchdown passes of 61-, 35- and 7-yards.
Sly’s 1-yard touchdown run opened the scoring for the Vikings in the first quarter.
Mattawan actually led 7-6 after one period of play as Addison Webb scored on a 16-yard run and Kyle Hillsburg added the extra point.
Niles outscored the Wildcats 8-6 in the second quarter to lead 14-13 at halftime.
“We did some good things,” Niles coach Dan Brawley said. “We had a couple more opportunities and didn’t make good on them, but we didn’t hang our heads. Our ground game finally came around and that allowed us to use some play action passing.”
After Zach Moore gave Mattawan a 13-6 lead with a 20-yard run, Sly hit Garner for a 61-yard bomb to put the Vikings back out in front 14-13 after the conversion run was good.
A blocked field goal attempt at the end of the half also gave the Vikings a spark that they carried over into the third quarter.
In the second half it was all Niles as the Vikings scored twice in both quarters to pull away from the Wildcats.
Kevin Gross scored on a 1-yard run to make it 20-13 and then Garner and Sly hooked up again, this time for a 35-yard touchdown as the Vikings extended their advantage to 26-13.
Mattawan cut the lead to 26-19 with a 1-yard run by Webb.
“Defensively, we gave up yards, but we were able to force some turnovers and made some key stops,” Brawley said.
In the final quarter, Garner caught his third touchdown pass from Sly, this one from 7-yards out.
Aaron Davis capped the scoring with a 41-yard scamper.
The Vikings finished with 247 yards rushing, led by Davis’ 107 yards on 13 carries.
Sly was 7-of-12 for 121 yards on the night. Garner’s five receptions netted him 97 yards receiving.
“If you are going to occupy four guys on our two, we have to be able to run the football and we did. Our offensive line did a nice job tonight,” Brawley said. “When you can run the ball, then play action comes open. And when we can get single coverage on David, then we are going to be able to get him the ball and let him make plays.”
Mattawan actually outrushed the Vikings by a yard (248-247), but only managed 43 yards through the air on 3-of-6 passing.
Garner completed a big night by also intercepting a pass.
Nathan Drapper had a pair of fumble recoveries for the Vikings, who also got a fumble recovery from Bryan Evans.
Mattawan (0-5, 0-3 West Division) got two fumble recoveries from Alec Hastings and one from Erik Celeski.
The Vikings are back on the road again next Friday as they travel to Stevensville to take on arch rival Lakeshore.
Niles 6 8 12 13 – 39
Mattawan 7 6 6 0 – 19
N – Cameron Sly 1 run (kick blocked)
M – Addison Webb 16 run (Kyle Hillsburg)
M – Zach Moore 20 run (kick blocked)
N – David Garner 61 pass from Sly (run good)
N – Kevin Gross 1 run (kick fails)
N – Garner 35 pass from Sly (pass failed)
M – Webb 1 run (kick failed)
N – Garner 7 pass from Sly (Gross kick)
N – Davis 41 run (kick blocked)