Lancers nip VikingsPublished 1:06am Saturday, October 3, 2009
STEVENSVILLE – It was a heartbreaking finish for the Niles Vikings Friday night as Lakeshore rallied from a 20-13 halftime deficit and used a safety with 2:21 remaining in the contest to pull out the victory.
The Lancers recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a 21-20 Big 16 Conference West Division victory.
The safety allowed Lakeshore to escape with the win and to rebound from its first loss of the season.
“We have been right there so many times against so many good football teams,” Niles coach Dan Brawley said. “We made mistakes at the end of the game and the end of the first half and against a good team, you can’t make mistakes because they are going to make you pay.”
Niles built up the early lead, but was unable to score in the second half allowing the Lancers to come back.
Cameron Sly put the Vikings on the board first as he called his own number from a yard out.
David Garner ran in the 2-point conversion and Niles led 8-0.
Lakeshore trimmed the lead to 8-7 when Eric Lemon scored from a yard out and Zane Metz hit the extra point.
It was all Niles from there in the opening half.
“Tonight I thought we put a good game plan together both offensively and defensively,” Brawley said. “I thought we could go right at them and we did. We ran the ball well in the first half and we definitely won the batlte up front on both sides of the ball.”
The Vikings scored on the ensuing kickoff when Garner fielded the ball at the 11-yard line and raced to the end zone.
Niles attempted a 2-point pass on the conversion, but it was no good.
The lead reached 20-7 with 8:28 remaining in the first half when Davis scored on a 1-yard run. This time Niles tried to run in the 2-point conversion, but was unsuccessful.
Lakeshore cut the lead to 20-13 with less than a minute to go in the first half when Lemon tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Devon Bailey. The kick, however, was no good and the Lancers trailed by seven heading to the locker room.
“That was huge,” Brawley said. “That was a big play for them. Before the game I told the kids that things are going to go good for us at times and bad for us at times. When things go bad you cannot hang your heads and you have to play through them and that’s what we did. When the offense sputtered the defense picked us up.”
Niles was unable to find the end zone in the final 24 minutes, but played well on defense throughout the rest of the game.
Lakeshore finally closed to with a point with 2:22 to play in the third quarter as Nick Adams scored from 7-yards out. The extra point attempt was missed yet again, but the Lancers were in a position to pull out the victory.
Just when it looked like the Vikings were going to stave off the rally, Lakeshore was able to come up with one more big play to pick up the win.
“The second half we didn’t move the ball as well and we had a couple of penalties that really hurt us,” Brawley commented. “Those mistakes you just can’t have against a good team like Lakeshore.”
Niles finished the night with 216 yards in total offense, while Lakeshore netted 297 yards.
The Vikings ran for 210 yards, but were only able to compete 1-of-5 passing attempts for six yards.
The Lancers had 195 yards on the ground and another 102 yards via the airwaves on 9-of-16 passes.
Both teams had two interceptions.
Sly led the Vikings in rushing with 77 yards on 11 carries. Gross finished with 47 yards on 13 totes.
Adams rushed for 70 yards to pace Lakeshore.
Cal Poehlman led Niles in tackles with 14. Kevin Gross had 11 stops. Garner and Juan Anthony Gonzalez both picked up interceptions.
Niles will take on Portage Northern next Friday night for its Homecoming game.
Niles 14 6 0 0 – 20
Lakeshore 7 6 6 2 – 21
N – Cameron Sly 1 run (David Garner run)
L – Eric Lemon 1 run (Zane Metz kick)
N – Garner 89 kick off return (pass fails)
N – Aaron Davis 1 run (run fails)
L – Devon Bailey 4 pass from Lemon (kick fails)
L – Nick Adams 7 run (kick fails)
L – Safety