Still searching for a victory

Published 3:25 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Niles head coach Dave Janicki knew that with the loss of several key players from last year's roster that this season would be a challenge. But never dreamed it would be this tough.
Still searcing for their first win, the Vikings face a Benton Harbor team at home Friday that Janicki called the most athletic team Niles will face all year. Friday's game is also Homecoming for Niles.
The Tigers are led by their versatile quarterback Joique Bell. Last week, Bell torched Dowagiac for 364 total yards and four touchdowns.
Bell isn't just a threat in the air, however. Against Dowagiac, he threw a touchdown pass, ran for two more and returned a kickoff 92 yards for a score.
Benton Harbor is 2-3 overall, but with Friday's 41-0 blowout of the Chieftains, the Tigers are 1-0 in the SMAC West Division.
Against Lakeshore last week, Niles did anything but contain the Lancers in a 38-20 loss. Lakeshore, like Benton Harbor, has a good athletic quarterback in Shaine Tierney.
Tierney took advantage of Niles' secondary, passing for 150 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half. Janicki said his defense needs to stop Bell the way they didn't stop Tierney.
To be successful, the Vikings also need more scoring on Friday. While they scored 20 points against Lakeshore, all those points came in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand.
Janicki said he was pleased with the way his entire team played in that fourth quarter, but Niles needs to play with the same conviction throughout the game.
To spice up the offense, the Vikings will change the offense a bit Friday night. They will use a three wide receiver set, but still keep two running backs in the backfield.
Janicki said this formation gives quarterback Nick Etzcorn more options to throw to, offers more blocking from the two backs and spreads the defense to open up the field.