Niles begins its divisional schedule with hopes of knocking off Lakeshore

Published 2:43 am Thursday, September 23, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Even though Niles is 0-4, its worst start under Dave Janicki, the fifth-year head coach is optimistic heading into Lakeshore on Friday.
The Vikings are winless on the season, but all four losses have come to non-divisional opponents. Therefore, Niles still has a chance to win the West Division.
Niles' first chance to rebound from the slow start comes against the Lancers, who Janicki and his team consider a big rival.
The Vikings and Lakeshore have split the past four regular season games, each going 2-2. The two teams faced off for the divisional title last season, with the Lancers prevailing 37-21 in a game Janicki said was closer than the score indicated..
One of Niles' keys to earning its first victory, Janicki said, is maintaining the rushing game, something the Vikings have struggled to do this season.
Janicki said he saw glimpses of effective running in Niles' 48-20 loss at Lakeview on Friday. He said the Vikings ran the ball well on their first drive.
In that drive, Niles ran the ball everytime and scored one of its three touchdowns. As Lakeview pulled ahead, however, the Vikings were forced to abandon the running game and start passing.
In order to run the ball, then, the Vikings' defense must keep them from falling behind at Lakeshore.
On defense, Niles has had trouble stopping the rush. Janicki has insisted that its not the defensive scheme that isn't working, its the fundamentals. Many times, he said, players will get to the ball-carrier, but do a poor job tackling.