Portage Northern beats Niles on HomecomingPublished 12:24am Saturday, October 10, 2009
By STEVE MORRISON
Niles Daily Star
Not much seemed to work for the Niles Vikings, not even the scoreboard would operate, Friday as the Portage Northern Huskies’ Ben Hutchins scored five touchdowns leading them to a 47-14 romp over the Niles Vikings. The rainstorm abated before the contest began, and a Homecoming crowd had some reason for optimism as the Viking defense held the Huskies to only 13 first half points.
The trouble was that the Vikings couldn’t answer with any points of their own. Niles speedsters, quarterback Cameron Sly and receiver David Garner were held in check by Portage Northern. Sly was able to complete only 3-of-8 passes, in the half, for a total of 20 yards, while being intercepted at two critical times.
On their first possession of the game, after Sly’s fourth down punt, the Huskies marched 62 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. Northern’s Antonio Hutchins fumbled at the goal line, but, as usual, Niles bad luck continued as the ball ended up being recovered in the end zone by offensive lineman Alex Rogers for a 6-0 Huskies lead. The point after kick by John Pfund was off the mark.
Ricky Briand returned the following kickoff for Niles to their 27-yard line. Sly completed an 18-yard pass on third down to Jordan Potthoff to keep the drive alive. A 4-yard run Shawn Holland and a 5-yard dash by Aaron Davis helped the Vikings to two more first downs. Sly scrambled to get 14 yards down the right sideline for another first and ten. Three plays later, with Niles threatening to even the score, Sly lost 12 yards on a fumble, which he recovered. The next play was a back-breaker. Sly’s pass was intercepted by Portage Northern’s Evan Shinar at the 5-yard line.
Niles forced a Northern punt in the next Huskies’ possession. On third down, Sly gained nine to get a first down, but two plays later he was intercepted again. This time it was Huskies linebacker Matt Hoff, who returned the ball 50-yards to the Niles 15, before he was brought down. Ben Hutchins took the ball on the next play and swept around left end for a second Northern tally. Pfund added the extra point for a 13-0 lead for the visitors. Niles’ Austin Parks contributed a great play to knock down a long pass by Northern quarterback Jack Livingston, and Niles took over on downs. That’s the way the half ended.
Ben Hutchins had rolled for his second touchdown on an 8- yard burst and a 20-0 Huskies lead to start the third quarter. Then Sly went to work. He found David Garner open tossing a 69-yard touchdown pass and getting Niles on the scoreboard, even though it was invisible.
Portage Northern tacked on two more scores, a 46-yard explosion by Antonio Hutchins and a 45-yard aerial from Livingston to Ben Hutchins to stretch the lead 34 -7.
One more highlight flashed as Sly connected again with the fleet-footed Garner for a 67-yard scoring pass with 2:55 left in the third quarter. It was a beautiful toss as Garner broke free through the secondary and settled under the perfectly thrown ball by Sly.
Ben Hutchins added two more runs for paydirt on runs of ten and nine yards in the fourth quarter.
“We made too many mistakes. We’re just not consistent,” commented Niles Coach Dan Brawley after the game. “We look like world-beaters on one play, and then we’re missing tackles and fumbling on the next (ones).”It’s about consistency,” he added disappointedly. “That’s what good football teams do. They’re consistent on every play. That’s what we have to do.”
Portage Northern is 6-1, while Niles falls to 2-5.
PN – Alex Rogers, fumble recovery in end zone, kick failed
PN – Ben Hutchins, 15 run, John Pfund kick
PN – Ben Hutchins, 8 run, Pfund kick
N – Cameron Sly, 69 pass to David Garner, Sly kick
PN – Antonio Hutchins, 40 run, Pfund kick
PN – Jack Livingston, 45 pass to Ben Hutchins, Pfund kick
N – Sly, 67 pass to David Garner, Sly kick
PN – Ben Hutchins, 10 run, Pfund kick
PN – Ben Hutchins, 9 run, kick blocked