Vikings fall to Gull Lake 24-19

Published 8:06 am Saturday, October 18, 2014

Niles’ Joe Avance turns the ball up field against Gull Lake Friday night. (Leader photo/File)

Niles’ Joe Avance turns the ball up field against Gull Lake Friday night. (Leader photo/File)

Whatever magical playmaking abilities aided the Niles Vikings football program in its incredible upset of the St. Joe Bears last week completely vanished for the first three and a half quarters of its 24-19 homecoming loss to Gull Lake Friday night.

The Vikings’ offense was only able to muster a measly 16 yards total offense through the game’s first 36 minutes. When compared to Gull Lake’s stat line, 259 yards total offense (all of which came on the ground), it shouldn’t be a strain on one’s mind to figure out how this game got away from Niles.

Niles coach Antwon Jones certainly wasn’t vexed as to why his team suffered their first home-loss of the season.

“We couldn’t make a play anywhere really. We couldn’t catch the ball, throw the ball, run the ball, tackle or block anyone. We were terrible,” he said.

Despite the inconsistant play that plagued the Vikings for a majority of the game, they seemed to catch fire in the dying embers of the game.

Sophomore quarterback Alex Harpenau hooked up with Sean Craig (1 yard), Joe Avance (53 yards) and Adam Langmeyer (3 yards) for touchdowns and Niles scored 19 unanswered points in the game’s final 10 minutes.

After the Vikings’ David Kennedy recovered an onside kick with 30 seconds left to play, Niles actually came within 25 yards of pulling off the most miraculous comeback in school history.

But alas, it was not meant to be, as a Harpenau pass on fourth-and-10 from the Blue Devil’s 25-yard line fell harmlessly to the ground as time expired.

In the end, Gull Lake (3-5) finished with a 314 to 227 advantage in the offensive yardage column.

The loss was made all the more painful for Niles, as it denied the Vikings (5-3) a chance to clinch their first MHSAA playoff berth since the 2003 season.

In a case of symmetrical irony, Niles will now have to beat the team that ended its playoff run in 2003 to make the playoffs this year — Lakeshore.

With a year’s worth of bragging rights, and a trip to the playoffs, on the line, the Vikings will take on their long-time rival Lancers, next Friday in Niles at 7 p.m.


Gull Lake               6               11              0                 7 – 24

Niles                        0               0               0               19 – 19

GL – TJ Haase 35 run (kick failed)

GL – Haase 15 run (2-pt conversion good)

GL – Ryan Loney 32 field goal

GL – Seth Eldridge 21 pass to Louis Remynse (Loney kick)

N – Alex Harpenau 1 pass to Sean Craig (conversion failed)

N – Harpenau 53 pass to Joe Avance (conversion failed)

N – Harpenau 3 pass to Adam Langmeyer (Josh Dayhuff kick)