Red Dragons earn first win
NILES — Lightning may have delayed the All-American Conference White Tier contest between Niles and Lakeview Friday night, but it was Niles that brought the thunder. The Red Dragons burned Lakeview by the score of 48-7 to get its first win of the season.
Niles (1-4, 1-2) controlled the game in every facet. From the defensive side of the ball, the Red Dragons held Lakeview (1-4, 0-2) to only one score, and an interception. Niles did it on special teams with two blocked punts, and they pummeled Lakeview from the offensive side of the ball with 338 total yards of offense.
“We are sticking together,” Niles junior Kyle Lundgren said. “We had a great week of practice. We want to show the community what we can do. Our record doesn’t show it, but we want to get back the the (Niles) tradition.”
Lundgren gave his best effort to start restoring the tradition of Niles football. After his Red Dragons held Lakeview to negative yards on its first drive, the special teams were able to make their mark with a blocked punt. Lundgren found himself landing on top of the ball for his team’s first score.
“(Robert) Savin got through,” Lundgren said. “All of the credit goes to him. He went in to scoop it, and didn’t. I did.”
Lundgren did a little of everything Friday night, as he added an interception and a reception on offense as well.
“(I) stick with teammates,” Lundgren said. “Thanks to my teammates. I play my game, do my job, and trust my teammates.”
Niles jumped out to a huge lead, and went in at the half, up 41-7. Savin led the Red Dragons with 123 yard on the ground in the half, and tacked on a score. Quarterback Zack Leonard also had a major hand in the domination of the Bulldog defense. Leonard’s three touchdown passes more or less sealed the victory prior to halftime.
“We had great balance,” Niles coach Jim Parry said. “The RPO (run-pass option) game was working well. Our quarterback was making great decisions, and for once he had a little bit of time to throw. I thought our kids did an excellent job.”
Lakeview was able to answer the blocked punt early in the first quarter with a 65-yard drive. Tony Crish bulled his way into the end zone for the only score on the night for the Bulldogs.
“We more or less shot ourselves in the foot,” Lakeview coach Tom Pavlansky said. “That’s not taking anything from Niles, because they are well coached, that’s for sure.
The thunder that Niles brought defensively was a bend but don’t break, physical boom.
“We finally stepped it up tonight,” Parry said. “We don’t tackle that great at times. Typically we were the team turning the ball over, but tonight we get the blocked punt, and get some turnovers. We really kept the pace.”