Niles football shuts down Vicksburg 50-0

Published 1:23 pm Saturday, September 30, 2023

NILES — The Niles football team continued its winning ways against visiting Vicksburg Friday night.

The Vikings beat the Bulldogs 50-0 under the glow of the harvest moon. Niles led 43-0 at halftime and 50-0 after three quarters. While the game was a dominant performance on both sides of the ball, head coach Scot Shaw was not sure what sort of performance he was going to get from his team heading into the game.

“We had a really strange week of practice,” he said. “Monday’s was not very good. Tuesday was in the rain and we had to go inside and then for a little bit and watch film; Wednesday was good and yesterday was okay but it was just strange the way it worked out. We started the game out really good offensively and defensively and making sure that we took care of the ball and different things. We always talk about it and we got off to a fast start.”

Quarterback Talon Brawley completed 3-of-3 passes for 100 yards and two touchdown passes, both to Brenden Olsen on catches of 22 and 64 yards. Olsen caught three passes for a career-high 100 yards.

On the ground, Julian Means-Flewellen had a game-high 106 yards on seven carries, including a 55-yard touchdown run. Paul Hess had 11 carries for 81 yards and three first-half touchdown runs, Sam Rucker tallied 74 yards on six carries and one touchdown (35 yards) and Brawley added five carries for 48 yards on the ground.

Alex Van Sweden led Vicksburg with 16 carries for 56 yards and quarterback Hunter Bell completed 4-of-17 passes for 17 yards and one interception.

Teams have struggled all season defending a Niles flexbone offense averaging 48 points per game. The Vikings have scored 50-plus points in four consecutive games, the school’s best mark according to records dating back to 1950. For Shaw and the Vikings, having a receiver like Olsen who can take the top off of a defense is an asset.

“We were getting stung a little bit by their safety working his way down, trying to get involved in the run game,” Shaw said. “So we just ran that post (route) behind him and he makes a lot of plays. He just had a great night.”

Not to be outdone by the offense, the Niles defense is giving up an average of 8.6 points per game, which is on pace to be the best mark since the 1984 outfit gave up 9 points per game.

Alex Cole led Niles with nine tackles and one interception on the night while Jaden Ivery and Paul Hess had seven tackles apiece.

Niles will host Edwardsburg (3-3) at 7 p.m. Friday night in homecoming action. The Vikings are currently tied atop the Wolverine Conference standings with undefeated Paw Paw, which defeated Edwardsburg 35-0 at Edwardsburg.

“We’re going to approach it the way we always do,” Shaw said. “We’ll want to find a way to stop that Wing-T but Paw Paw did tonight. We’ll take a look at that film and see where we are and what we can do. Just like always it’s on to the next one and they happen to be the next one.”