Lakeshore’s Mike Adams (1) reacts to Niles’ Athony Thar’s fumble recovery on the opening drive Friday night. The Lancers rallied to beat the Vikings 37-21. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

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Lakeshore rallies to beat Niles 37-21

Published 11:51pm Friday, September 21, 2012

With half the season done and a 3-2 record, Niles first-year football coach Antwon Jones knows his team is still a work in progress.

Following the Vikings’ 37-21 loss to arch rival Lakeshore in which Niles was shutout in the second half, Jones said his team needs to learn how to finish.

“We’re making strides, but we need to learn how to finish,” he said following the game.

Jones went on to point out that in the second half some of the early season things that hurt the Vikings had returned. Things like dropped balls, giving up big plays against the run and penalties.

“Like I said, we’re making strides we just got to learn to finish,” Jones said. “We had a couple of people with like six penalties. What can you say? We tried to rotate them out and get someone else in there to play and not make the mental errors.”

Niles went toe-to-toe with the Lancers through the first two quarters and ended up taking a 21-19 lead into halftime.

After Anthony Thar recovered a Lakeshore fumble at the Lancers’ 26-yard line, Cole Clemens hooked up with Darek Bullock-Mills for a 15-yard touchdown that gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead after Ryan Casey’s kick.

That seemed to wake up the Lakeshore offense, which went 76 yards in 11 plays, but was forced to settle for a 21-yard Tyler Whitwam field goal after the Niles defense stiffened.

The Vikings responded with a nine play, 74 yard drive that ended when Clemens hit Fritzel Findeisen in the middle of the field and the running back raced 45 yards to the end zone to make it 14-3 with 9:40 to play in the first half.

Like two heavyweight boxers throwing repetitive body shots, Lakeshore roared back down the field and cut the lead to 14-9 when Harold Wiggins hauled in a Johnny Nate 9-yard touchdown toss to cap a eight-play, 63-yard drive.

Not to be outdone, Niles took the ensuing kickoff and marched right back down the field to extend its advantage to 21-9.

This time the Vikings used seven plays to cover 75 yards, scoring on a five-yard pass from Clemens to Findeisen.

It was all Lakeshore from there.

The Lancers cut the lead to 21-16 when Zak Drake scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Nate. Whitwam’s second field goal of the half, this one from 22 yards, cut the gap to 21-19 just before halftime.

Lakeshore scored three more times in the second half and 28 unanswered points overall to remain undefeated and move to 5-0 on the year.

“Obviously we made some plays, you know, we got a little bit of pressure there, broke on the ball a little bit and tackles a little bit better,” Lakeshore coach Denny Dock said. “We played a little bit better and when we got the lead we got a little momentum going.”

Wiggins caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Nate, who finished the game 12-of-19 for 193 yards and the three scores, to make it 25-21 after three quarters.

Lakeshore finished off the Vikings by grinding it out in the final quarter, scoring on a 10-yard run by Drake and an 18-yard run by Zach Ellis.

The Lancers finished the night with 277 yards rushing and 471 yards in total offense.

Wiggins had eight catches for 152 yards and the two touchdowns. Ellis led Lakeshore in rushing with 96 yards, while Nate added 78 and Mike Adams 68.

Niles had 323 yards in total offense, led by Clemens who was 20-of-36 for 259 and three touchdowns. Anthoney Bice led the rushing attack with 34 yards.

Sean Craig led the Vikings defensively with 10 tackles. Athony Thar had nine tackles. Alec Landon had a fumble recovery for Niles.

“It’s a building process and we’re not there year,” Jones said. “It’s frustrating. You always hope for a faster turnaround. It is what it is and you have to just keep plugging along. We’ve still got some games left. We showed when we’re clicking we’re a pretty good team. We just gotta learn to finish. That’s where at right now.”

 

Lakeshore 3 16 6 12 – 37

Niles 7 14 0 0 – 21

N – Darek Bullock-Mills 15 pass from Cole Clemens (Ryan Casey kick)

L – Tyler Whitwam 21 field goal

N – Fritzel Findeisen 45 pass from Clemens (Casey kick)

L – Harold Wiggins 9 pass from Johnny Nate (kick failed)

N – Findeisen 5 pass from Clemens (Casey kick)

L – Zak Drake 23 pass from Nate (Whitwam kick)

L – Whitwam 22 field goal

L – Wiggins 39 pass from Nate (pass failed)

L – Drake 10 run (kick blocked)

L – Zach Ellis 18 run (kick failed)

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