Niles beats Fairfield to improve to 3-0
Published 6:58 pm Sunday, September 11, 2016
BENTON, Ind. — With Fairfield moving down the field on Niles late in Friday’s interstate football matchup, senior nose guard Brenden Hall crashed through on fourth down to sack the Falcon quarterback.
It was a fitting exclamation point to a 35-12 road win for Niles (3-0).
A tenacious defensive effort and an efficient offensive display helped lead the Vikings.
“We started off rough,” Hall said, referring to a touchdown yielded to Fairfield on the game’s opening drive. “Towards the end, we started to pull it along together. We ended tough and that’s what it’s all about. We worked hard and played our best.”
The scouting report on the Falcons helped Niles defenders throw the hosts for several lost yardage plays, particularly in the second half. The Vikings led 21-12 at the break.
“One of our keys was how they lined up in their splits (on the offensive line) and we took advantage of that,” Hall said. “That’s how was capitalized.”
Hall said he thought it was the best defensive outing of Niles’ three games (the Vikes also beat Kalamazoo Loy Norrix 40-19 and Mattawan 20-15).
“We did a lot of nice things defensively,” Niles coach Joe Sassano said. “We had some shining moments the first three weeks. We had a good defensive gameplan.”
While Fairfield did complete several passes on bubble screens, the Vikings did not let the Falcons rack up too many yards and stiffened most of the time.
Sassano did see his team have the opportunity to have a knockout punch earlier in the game.
“But we’ve got to finish,” Sassano said. “We had them on the ropes. We did not take care of the ball at the end of the first half (turning it over on an interception near midfield). That’s unacceptable. To my mind, we should have been up 28-6 at halftime.”
Mitchell Findeisen (86 yards) and Cameron Haines (82) sliced and powered for most of the Vikings’ rushing totals and scored two touchdowns apiece. Niles gained 118 of 178 ground yards in the second half and had all of its 130 passing yards in the first two periods.
Seniors Abijah Goodson and Camron Canniff came away with interceptions to turned into Viking scoring drives.
Niles goes to Portage Northern and Fairfield visits West Noble Friday, Sept. 16.
NILES 35, FAIRFIELD 12
Niles 7 14 14 0 – 35
Fairfield 6 6 0 0 – 12
F – Cordell Hofer 9 pass from Zac Lantz (kick failed), 7:02.
N – Cameron Haines 13 run (Mauricio Aguirre kick), 3:17.
N – Mitchell Findeisen 7 run (Aguirre kick), 9:49.
N – Haines 19 pass from Alex Harpenau (Aguirre kick), 3:51.
F – Hofer 11 pass from Lantz (run failed), :16.3.
N – Haines 4 run (Aguirre kick), 7:43.
N – Findeisen 8 run (Aguirre kick), 2:56.
Varsity records: Niles 3-0, Fairfield 1-3.