Jones rushes for 241 yards, four touchdowns in Niles win

Published 2:34 pm Saturday, August 30, 2003

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
MATTAWAN -- It only took three plays for Lonnie Jones to break free, and once he did, Mattawan had a hard time keeping up.
Jones, a senior running back on the Niles varsity football team, rushed for 241 yards and four touchdowns as the Vikings smothered Mattawan 34-14 in the season opener Friday night.
After forcing Mattawan to punt on the opening possession, Niles took over at the Wildcats' 34-yard line. On third-and-five, Jones found an opening and cruised 27 yards for the first score.
Rob Schuelke recovered two fumbles to keep the Niles offense on the field for most of the first quarter, and the time of possession paid off.
Karyce Pulliam scored from four yards out and James carried in the two-point conversion with 6:24 left in the first quarter.
Following a short Mattawan drive and punt, the Vikings took possession at their own 34-yard line. On first down Jones took off for a 66-yard touchdown and gave Niles a 20-0 lead with 1:25 left in the opening period.
In the second quarter the Wildcats began to move the ball a bit more and finally scored with 2:18 to go before halftime, making the score 20-7 at the half.
On Niles' opening possession of the first half, Jones finished a 79-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown run and then carried in the two-point conversion to increase the lead to 28-7.
Mattawan answered with a three-yard touchdown by Larry Pease to shore up the deficit to 28-14.
The Vikings put the game out of reach for good when Jones broke free for a 13-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and Marcus Lawshea kicked the extra point.
Lawshea later added a 28-yard field goal to get Niles to its final lead of 34-14.
Jones was one of three Vikings to be left lying on the field after a play in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Stacy Caskey and reserve running back Alex Robinson also suffered injuries.
Caskey and Jones were having trouble with muscle cramps and Robinson's injury seemed to be a bit more serious.
The Niles defense impressed Janicki as it forced four turnovers. James Edwards recovered a fumble and Dane Ford intercepted a pass in the second half.
Janicki was unable to pick out one player who stood out, but was pleased nonetheless.
The Viking defense also had four sacks of Mattawan quarterback Nate Chucta, one each for Caskey, Schuelke, Edwards and Paul Bella.
Niles quarterback Jason Rutkowske, making his varsity debut, finished 4-of-10 for 28 passing yards with no interceptions.
The Vikings return to action next Friday night at Battle Creek Harper Creek. Kickoff is schedule for 7:30 p.m.