Niles comes up short against Three Rivers

Published 7:49 pm Saturday, September 17, 2022

THREE RIVERS — It is not how you start, but how you finish.

Visiting Niles may have scored first, but Three Rivers put the final points on the board to defeat the Vikings 27-21 in a Wolverine Conference clash Friday night.

After Julian Means-Flewellen staked Niles to a 7-0 lead in the opening quarter, Three Rivers scored three straight times to take a 21-7 lead with 3:24 remaining in the first half.

Niles was able to tie the score at 21-21 with back-to-back scores in the final 3:21 of the second quarter.

Sam Rucker cut the Wildcats’ lead to 21-14 with an 82-yard touchdown return, while Paul Hess picked off a Caleb Quake pass on Three Rivers’ ensuing possession and returned it for the final score of the first half.

The only touchdown of the final 24 minutes came with 6:34 to play in the third quarter when Quake called his own number and scored on a 16-yard run to make it 27-21.

Three Rivers (3-1, 1-1 Wolverine) outgained Niles (1-3, 0-2 Wolverine) 244-150.

Quake was 15-of-26 for 156 yards throwing with the three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions, while he was also the Wildcats’ leading rusher with 54 yards on 16 carries and the game-winning touchdown.

Means-Flewellen finished the game with 75 yards on 14 carries. Hess added 36 yards on 11 carries. Niles attempted just three passes, completing one for eight yards.

The Vikings will face Vicksburg, which dropped a 10-7 decision to Wolverine Conference leader Edwardsburg, in St. Joseph Friday night.