BCC stops Niles streak
By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Battle Creek Central lengthened its regular season winning streak to 21 games, ending the Niles football team's perfect start to the 2003 season with a 30-14 victory Friday night.
The Bearcats did not have a single offensive possession in the third quarter, but that is when they turned a close ballgame into a decisive victory. Evan McCoy covered 196 yards and scored two touchdowns without the Bearcats' offense ever stepping on the field.
Niles, trailing 12-7 at halftime, looked to take the lead early in the third quarter with first-and-goal at the seven-yard line. On third-and-goal, however, McCoy picked off a pass from Jason Rutkowske at the goal line and returned the ball 100 yards for a touchdown.
The Vikings answered with a nine-play, 67-yard drive that ended with Stacy Caskey's six-yard touchdown run and Marcus Lawshea's extra point, cutting the lead to 18-14.
McCoy struck again, however, as he returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for another touchdown, giving Battle Creek Central a 24-14 lead with 1:28 left in the third quarter.
Niles was unable to move the ball on its next possession and Lawshea punted the ball 43 yards to the Bearcats' four-yard line.
It took Battle Creek Central just six plays, including a 76-yard carry by Michael McClenney, to score again, this time on an eight-yard pass from Casey Bess to McClenney. Battle Creek's 30-14 lead held up the rest of the way.
The Bearcats scored the first touchdown of the game, after both teams punted twice, when McClenney capped off a 90-yard drive with his six-yard touchdown run.
Niles took its only lead of the game when Lonnie Jones completed a 76-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run and Lawshea kicked the extra point for a 7-6 advantage.
The lead didn't last long, however, as Bubba Harris scored on a nine-yard touchdown run on the Bearcats' next possession.
Battle Creek Central did not score an extra point or make good on a two-point conversion the entire night. Niles blocked three Bearcat punt attempts in the first half.
McClenney finished the night with 12 carries for 163 yards. Harris covered 84 yards on 16 carries and Bess completed 4-of-9 passes for 115 yards.
Jones carried the ball 28 times for 160 yards to lead the Vikings' offensive attack. Jones is now averaging almost 243 rushing yards per game and has scored eight touchdowns. Rutkowske completed 13-of-26 passes for 127 yards and two interceptions.
Niles finished with 318 total yards on offense while the Bearcats covered 361 yards on offense.
The Vikings host Battle Creek Lakeview next Friday night.