Tigers stayin’ alive
Howland retains playoff chances
NILES — Needing a win to keep its slim playoff hopes alive, the Howland Tigers (5-3, 2-1) got what they needed Thursday night, rolling over winless Niles, 42-3, in an All-American Conference Red Tier game.
Niles (0-8, 0-4 AAC Red) scored first with a couple of long runs by running back Robbie Savin which helped the Red Dragons set up a 37-yard field goal by Chase Sudzina for a 3-0 lead.
“We were looking pass all week and they came out and ran it,” Howland coach Dominic Menendez said about Niles’ first drive. “That caught the defense off guard to start. We made the right adjustments and our guys played hard.”
After Niles got down the field, it only gained 109 more yards for the game.
Turnovers helped the Tigers build their lead. Running back Jackson Deemer got Howland on the board with an 8-yard touchdown run for a 7-3 lead.
“It was awesome to be able to run with some great holes,” Deemer said. “I just did my job. Exactly what coach says in practice is to do your job. They (Howland’s offensive line) got their blocks and they gave me holes. Most of the time, I didn’t have to do too much.”
Deemer ran for 226 yards on just 16 attempts and scored three times.
Howland capitalized off of Niles miscues in the first half, scoring 14 points off turnovers. First, it was a fumble return by Juwuan Dean for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Deemer scored two touchdowns in the first half. After a bad pass by Niles quarterback Jordan Soda that fell into Howland arms, the Tigers continued to score. Six plays later, Keyshawn Busch scored from three yards out. Howland led 28-3 at halftime.
“Against a great team like that, you just can’t do it,” Niles coach Brian Shaner said about two first-half turnovers. “We gotta learn how to do the little things right. It just seems to be that black cloud. We have two games to fix it and we are going to work hard to fix it.”
Niles’ lone bright spot was Savin who had 15 carries for 99 yards.
Deemer scored his third touchdown of the game with 6:04 left in the third quarter for a 35-3 lead. Without quarterback Samari Dean this week, Howland threw just two passes, completing both for 17 yards. It had 377 total rushing yards on the night.
With 8:18 left in the game, Howland offensive lineman Noah Bell scored from 1 yard out for a 42-3 finish.
The Tigers stood 12th in Division III, Region 9 heading into the week and closes with home games against Canfield (7-0) and Akron East (6-1).