After giving up 260 rushing yards to Mattawan, Niles looks for a hard-nosed attitude on defense

Published 12:36 am Thursday, September 2, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
After Niles gave up 260 rushing yards to Mattawan in the season opener, head coach Dave Janicki said his team must focus on two things to win Friday against Harper Creek - attitude and fundamentals.
Whatever his team does, Janicki said they can't have another performance like Friday's loss.
Before the season began, Janicki stressed that his team is going to have to play tough this year because of a lack of size. He said he didn't see that hard-nosed quality against Mattawan, nor did he see the communication he wants from his players.
Though the Vikings gave up 260 yards rushing in its first game, Janicki wasn't upset with the defense. Instead, he was upset with his players' poor tackling.
While Mattawan's offensive line opened up big holes for its running backs, Niles defenders did a good job of closing in on the runners. Too many times, Janicki said, the Vikings would miss tackles and allow the rushers to gain extra yards.
As far as fundamentals go, Janicki said his team must also limit the turnovers that hurt the Vikings on Friday.
Two of Mattawan's touchdowns came following a fumble recovery and interception. The third Wildcat score came after Niles turned the ball over after failing to convert a fourth-and-one.
Janicki said Harper Creek is going to be a tough game because the Beavers exhibit the toughness and communication that he wants Niles to have. Harper Creek showed that toughness last week by beating Battle Creek Central, a team Janicki called a periennial power house in the Big 16.