Niles football program finding success even in the offseason

Published 4:12 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Success, leadership, academics.
Those three words have come to be a fitting description of the Niles High School football program in the past four years.
On the heels of the varsity team's third straight State Playoff berth and first ever playoff victory, the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association sent several postseason awards to Niles.
While all the awards reflect the excellence the Vikings have achieved on and off the field, one award in particular serves as a testimony to the high standards head coach Dave Janicki and his staff are striving for.
Niles was one of only five football programs in the state to be honored with the Steve Spicer Leadership award, an honor bestowed on football programs which display outstanding leadership training on and off the field.
Because of Niles players' involvement in activities such as academic programs, community service and groups such as the Drug Free Players, the coaches association picked the Vikings as one of the state's top teams in terms of leadership training.
In addition to the Spicer award, the Niles varsity team received its fourth straight Academic All-State honor, but for the first time was named to the First Team.
The team's top 11 players combined for a grade point average of 3.926.
A pair of individual awards were also given to members of the Niles football program. Junior varsity coach Steve Grayson received one of the coaches association's Assistant Coach of the Year awards and senior defensive end Rob Schuelke earned Academic All-State Honorable Mention.
Grayson directed the junior varsity to a record of 5-3-1 during the 2003 season, which helped the Niles program reach a level of success it hasn't seen in some time.
Schuelke is still undecided about his choice of colleges, but with his high level of academic success and his football abilities, his future looks bright.