Vikings open with 41-18 rout of Gull LakePublished 2:01am Saturday, August 25, 2012
RICHLAND – The scoreboard may have read that visiting Niles handed Gull Lake a 41-18 Big 16 Conference non-divisional loss, but that’s not what new Niles coach Antwon Jones saw.
He saw a team that fumbled the ball four times and committed numerous personal foul penalties. To say the least, he was not happy.
“That’s not the type of football we’ll play,” Jones said. “That’s old Niles football and I’m not having it.”
Jones did see a team that threw for more than 300 yards and a defense that held Gull Lake to 12 points until the final minutes of the game when it was trailing 41-12.
Senior quarterback Cole Clemens threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a score as the Vikings rebounded from a pair of first half deficits to take a 14-12 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Gull Lake got on the scoreboard first as Alex Meade split the Niles defense and scored from 5-yards out. Niles was able to block the extra point attempt and keep the damage to just six points.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Vikings took the ball and went 79 yards to take a 7-6 lead when Clemens called his own number from the 1-yard line.
Two plays in the drive, a 40-yard Clemens pass to Jesse Jordan and a 17-yard run by Anthony Bice set up the season’s first score.
Gull Lake, playing in its first official Big 16 football game and its new turf field, reclaimed the lead on an 8-yard pass from Ryan Mutchler to Meade. Again the kick was no good the Blue Devils led just 12-7.
A 16-play, 61-yard drive just before halftime gave the Vikings the lead for good.
Clemens completed seven passes on the drive, including a 21-yard scoring strike to Fritzel Findeisen, who was falling down as he hauled in the pass.
There was only one score in the third quarter, but it allowed Niles to extend its advance to 21-12.
Clemens threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Bice to give the Vikings some breathing room as it headed into the final quarter.
Niles (1-0) would score three more times in the game’s final 12 minutes, including two more touchdown passes from Clemens. He hit Ra’Quon Glenn with a 9-yard score and Bice for a 28-yard touchdown.
Findeisen raced through the heart of the Blue Devil defense to score the middle touchdown of the fourth quarter for the Vikings.
Gull Lake was able to briefly cut the lead to 35-18 when back-up quarterback Tyler VanderMolen connected with Zac Caldwell from 16 yards out.
VanderMolen replaced starter Mutchler at the start of the second half after he separated his shoulder late in the second quarter.
Niles’ defense limited Gull Lake to 166 yards in total offense. Findeisen had an interception for the Vikings, who dropped three other potential picks. Sean Craig also recorded an interception.
“We have got to improve,” Jones said. “We have the potential to be good, but we are not good right now. We will produce a better performance this Thursday.”
The Vikings open the home portion of their schedule Thursday night against Coldwater, which was defeated by Mattawan 34-0.
Niles 0 14 7 20 – 41
Gull Lake 6 6 0 6 – 18
GL – Alex Meade 5 run (kick blocked)
N – Cole Clemens 1 run (Ryan Casey kick)
GL – Meade 8 pass from Ryan Mutchler (kick failed)
N – Fritzel Findeisen 21 pass from Clemens (Casey kick)
N – Anthony Bice 27 pass from Clemens (Casey kick)
N – Findeisen 27 run (Casey kick)
N – Ra’Quon Glenn 9 pass from Clemens (Casey kick)
GL – Zac Caldwell 16 pass from Tyler VanderMolen (pass failed)
N – Bice 28 pass from Clements (kick failed)