The Red Dragons took advantage of the Bulldogs' mistakes for their first win.
By SAL MARINO
CORTLAND -- The Niles High football team had to hold off a second-half rally by Lakeview to win its first game of the season 10-7 Friday at Don Richards Field.
"We were fortunate to win," Niles coach Bill Bohren said.
"I thought Lakeview played well. We missed too many assignments, and if we are to get better, we will have to execute better if we are going to win."
It was Niles taking the early lead.
With the ball on the Lakeview 40, Kevin Rigby's pass was intercepted by Eric Ashburn of Niles, who returned it to the Bulldog 30.
"We made too many mistakes to beat Niles," Lakeview coach Tom Pavlansky said.
"We played hard and better than we did last week, and we played together," he said. "We had a great week of practice. We are young, but our kids had great confidence in this game."
After a Niles first down, the Bulldogs' defense set in, holding Niles to a fourth-and-4 at the Lakeview 9.
Sullivan connects: Senior kicker Bill Sullivan kicked a 26-yard field goal for a 3-0 Niles lead, still in the first quarter.
The Red Dragons scored again in the second quarter. Eric Ashburn returned a Lakeview punt 30 yards to the Niles 45.
Ten plays later, Niles tallied its touchdown when Lou Viglio picked up a fumble and scored for the Red Dragons from 1 yard away.
A Sullivan conversion made it 10-0 at the break.
After falling behind, the Bulldogs struck back, going 66 yards and fumbled into the end zone late in the second quarter.
The second half belonged to Lakeview. In the third period, on its own 38, Lakeview traveled 62 yards in seven plays with Rigby scoring from 2 yards out.
Two big plays in the drive were a Rigby pass to Jeremiah Biehl for 12 yards and a first down, and another Rigby pass to Andrew Mascioli for 37 yards.
That completion carried down to the Niles 9.
Two plays later, Rigby scored and Mike Megyesi kicked the conversion.
Lakeview (0-2) had more yards (216 to 158), but Niles (1-1) out-rushed the Bulldogs 143-110.
Rigby was five-for-14 passing for 106 yards.
Viglio led Niles with 65 yards rushing, while Matt White had 63.
Pete Brister led Lakeview with 51 yards on the ground.
"In the second half, we made many adjustments and the kids made great improvements," Pavlansky said.