Another batch of new players should help Niles football team

Published 1:15 pm Monday, August 18, 2003

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- It seems like Niles coach Dave Janicki always gets some unexpected help during the offseason.
Part of it is luck, but part of it has to do with the success he has had in his three years as the head coach of the Niles High School varsity football team.
In 2000, his second season at Niles, Janicki benefited greatly when Jason Jankoviak decided to quit soccer and join the football team for the first time in his high school career. Jankoviak wound up leading the Vikings in rushing and leading them to a 7-2 regular season record and a playoff berth.
In 2001, another crop of new players joined the football squad. Brooks Bonner and Ryne Dowling, a pair of 6-foot-4 receivers better known for their basketball and baseball skills, helped Niles to a 6-3 record and a second straight playoff berth.
This offseason was no different as Janicki received the good news of several transfer students coming to Niles and the return of a senior who did not play football last season.
Dane Ford, a 6-foot-2 senior, has impressed the Niles coaching staff early in official practices.
Janicki sees Ford as a possible replacement for Bonner and Dowling, but is also considering him at one of the defensive back positions.
Niles will also benefit from a group of transfer students who could make a huge impact this season.
James Edwards came to Niles from Cassopolis during the 2002-03 school year and was a standout in wrestling and track and field.
Janicki sees Edwards, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, as a possible defensive lineman and running back.
Nick Merrick comes to Niles from Edwardsburg's 2002 playoff team. The 6-2, 235-pound lineman will give the Vikings some added size on both sides of the ball.
Tyler Yost is another transfer student that has Janicki excited. He came to Niles from a high school in Colorado along with his younger brother. At 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds, Janicki is looking for Yost to play outside linebacker and running back.
Greg Hammond, who transferred to Niles from Brandywine, is also expected to fight for a spot at tight end and special teams.
Add these new faces to the already-successful Niles football program and Janicki seems to have all the right ingredients for another exciting season.