Nate Ganyard became the Dragons all-time leading
scorer with 2 TDs.
By STEVE RUMAN
NILES — On a warm and muggy night at Bo Rein Stadium, the visiting Lakeview Bulldogs provided plenty of bark but no bite. As a result, the Niles McKinley Red Dragons lifted their record to 3-0 with a hard-fought 17-0 non-conference win.
Senior running back Nate Ganyard led the Niles offensive attack with 122 yards on 23 carries while scoring a pair of touchdowns. Ganyard now sits alone as the all-time leading scorer in Red Dragons football history. He entered the night tied with Matt Estes with 264 career points.
However, Ganyard and the rest of his Niles teammates had to fight hard for what they earned. The Lakeview (1-2) offense put together a number of long drives, but it was never able to finish them off with points.
“Our defense bent, but it didn’t break,” said Niles coach Tim Johnson. “It made some mistakes, which we weren’t happy about, but at the same time, when push came to shove, the kids did what they had to do. I know this, we beat a very good and very well-coached football team tonight.”
Following its first possession which ended with an interception, Lakeview put together consecutive drives of 10, 17 and 14 plays. Two of the drives ended on failed fourth-down conversion attempts, while a third ended with a missed field goal. The Dogs’ final drive of eight-plays also ended with a missed field goal.
Rosenberger has big night
Senior Danny Rosenberger had a big night for the Red Dragons. In addition to pulling in a pair of interceptions, Rosenberger made a key open-field tackle to keep the Bulldogs out of the end zone. He also hauled in a 39-yard pass from Vince Melillo (6-of-9, 95 yards) to set up Niles’ second score.
“Danny’s one of our smurfs,” Johnson said. “We have a bunch of smurfs on this team who have a ton of heart, and Danny certainly ranks with the best of them.”
Ben Moody led Lakeview with 41 rushing yards on 14 carries, while Justin Clark completed eight-of-12 passes for 73 yards.
Rosenberger’s first interception occurred just two plays into the contest, and it gave Niles possession at its own 49. Following a steady dose of Ganyard, the Red Dragons’ drive ended with a Nick Liste 28-yard field goal.
Liste keeps Bulldogs in check
Liste continually kept the Bulldogs kick return team in check, as all of his kickoffs found the end zone.
After Niles stopped Lakeview on a fourth-and-three attempt on the Bulldogs’ second possession, the Red Dragons put together a seven play, 57-yard drive which was capped with Ganyard’s record-setting TD.
With Niles leading 10-0 at halftime, both teams battled through a scoreless third period. The Red Dragons’ victory was then sealed when they put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive midway through the final stanza.
“I’m quite disappointed, but I’m extremely proud of the effort put out by our kids,” said Lakeview coach Tom Pavlansky. “Our kids were excited about this challenge. They played well, but we have to get better, and we know it.
“I know this. I’d put our non-conference schedule up against any team in our league. We got beat by a great team tonight, and I gotta believe they [Niles] will wake up tomorrow a bit sore.”