Benton Harbor picks up first victory

Published 4:29 am Saturday, October 16, 2010

Niles’ Ronnie Jones tries to turn a short pass up field Friday night. Jones had six catches for 53 yards. (Daily Star photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Niles’ Ronnie Jones tries to turn a short pass up field Friday night. Jones had six catches for 53 yards. (Daily Star photo/SCOTT NOVAK)


Niles Daily Star

Niles fans may have been thinking Benton Harbor quarterback Latrell Pryor looked more like Ohio State’s Terrell Pryor after Friday night’s performance.

The junior signal caller scored three touchdowns and threw for another as the Tigers upended host Niles 40-28 for Benton Harbor’s first victory of the season.

Niles (3-5) may have gotten off to a better start, but the Tigers rolled up 20 points in the second quarter to take a 20-13 advantage into the locker room and the belief they could beat the Vikings.

“I told the guys, don’t look at that record and think a thing because they are talented,” Niles coach Dan Brawley said. “We had a chance to put them away early and we didn’t do it. I told them if you give them a chance to hang around and go into halftime up, they are going to fight. They want to get a win and they smelled a win and they worked hard tonight. They believed they could do it and they came into our place and got a win.”

Niles struck first, scoring the first of two special team touchdowns.

Quintin Irby returned a punt, which was blocked by Rodney Applewhite 13 yards for a score with 10.1 seconds remaining on the first quarter clock.

It was all Benton Harbor in the second quarter as the Tigers outscored the Vikings 20-6.

Dayshun Spears scored from seven yards out to cut the lead to 7-6 after Niles blocked the extra point.

Niles would take a 13-6 lead just a shade under two minutes later when Cole Clemens connected with Ronnie Jones on a 20-yard touchdown pass.

Benton Harbor bounced right back as Pryor called his own number and raced 27-yards on the quarterback keeper to make it a 14-13 after Emanuel Shepard scored on the 2-point conversion run.

The Tigers upped their advantage to 20-13 when Pryor scored again, this time from one yard out with 50.2 seconds left in the opening half.

Niles came out and recovered an on-side kick, marched the ball down inside the 1-yard line but failed to score.

The Vikings pinned Benton Harbor deep in their own end on its ensuing drive and when the punt snap was fumbled in the end zone, Applewhite recovered it to put Niles up 21-10 as Logan Harpanau tossed a conversion pass to Brandon Partee on the fake extra point.

The Tigers would not let the Vikings build on their momentum and took the ball quickly down the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown when Pryor on a scramble found Matthew Thomas in the back of the end zone for a 2-yard scoring pass.

The play that put the Vikings away, however, came with 11:09 to play in the contest.

Spears broke loose on a 36-yard run to give Benton harbor a double digit advantage at 32-21.

Niles didn’t quit and cut the lead down to five points on its next possession when Justin Potthoff raced down the right sideline 40 yards for a score with 8:10 to play. Dustin Wright’s kick was good and the lead was just 32-28.

But on this night the Tigers were not to be denied that first victory.

Benton Harbor used a big run by Spears to set up Pryor for his third and final touchdown with a 29-yard run with 1:24 to play. Shepard finished the scoring with the 2-point conversion.

Clemens ended the night for the Vikings 8-of-14 for 96 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Jones had six catches for 53 yards and the score.

On the ground, Partee had 82 yards on 24 carries, while Potthoff finished with 54 yards on seven totes.

Applewhite led the defensive effort with eight tackles, including five solo stops. Jordan Potthoff also had five solo tackles.

The Vikings will now regroup and try to finish the 2010 season with a victory as they head to Kalamazoo to face Loy Norrix on Friday night.

Benton Harbor 0 20 6 14 – 40

Niles 7 6 8 7 – 28

N – Quintin Irby 13 yard blocked punt return (Dustin Wright kick)

BH – Dayshun Spears 7 run (kick blocked)

N – Ronnie Jones 20 pass from Cole Clemens (kick fails)

BH – Latrell Pryor 27 run (Emanuel Shepard run)

BH – Pryor 1 run (pass fails)

N – Rodney Applewhite recovered muff punt (Brandon Partee pass from Logan Harpanau

BH – Matthew Thomas 2 pass from Pryor (pass fails)

BH – Spears 36 run (pass fails)

N – Justin Potthoff 40 run (Wright kick)

BH – Pryor 29 run (Shepard run)