GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – In a game that saw over 50 combined points put on the board in the second quarter, the Niles Red Dragons held on to win a shootout, 50-41 over rival Girard Thursday night.
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The Dragons jumped on the Indians with two quick scores to open the game. Steven Mintz ran in the first score of the season for the Dragons to make it 7-0. Joe Lewis then recovered a fumble for a touchdown to make it 13-0 with 4:11 left in the 1st quarter.
Girard closed the gap to 13-7 with 11:48 in the 2nd when Mark Waid connected with Collin Harden for a 17 yard score. Then, a school-record-setting 90 yard fumble return for a TD by Harden with 9:32 left gave the Indians their first lead. A third consecutive touchdown in the second quarter for Girard, this time a run by Jacob Ryser, extended that lead to 21-13 with 5:58 left in the first half to cap a six minute flurry.
Niles QB Tyler Srbinovich’s TD pass to Marlon Pearson stopped the Girard run of touchdowns and tied the game at 21-21.
Girard’s would score their fourth touchdown of the second quarter with 4:04 left when Waid scampered 15 yards for a score, and put the Indians back in the lead 28-21.
Srbinovich and Pearson hooked up again for the Dragons with 2:17 left in the half – and after the two point conversion, the Dragons re-took the lead 29-28. The duo would find each other one more time before the half for their 3rd TD connection to give Niles a 36-28 lead.
Girard came out of the gates in the second half on fire again, driving the ball all the way down to the Niles one yard line. But, the Dragons would hold the score at 36-28 when Rich Limonji recovered an Indian fumble just outside the goal line.
The Indians would find their way back into Dragons territory on the following possession, and Waid would run another touchdown in with 4:03 left in the 3rd quarter to cut the lead to 36-35.
The Dragons though, could not let a quarter go by without getting a touchdown of thier own on the board. Srbinovich’s fourth TD pass of the game came by way of Tre Martin with two minutes left in the third quarter to extend the lead again, this time to 43-35.
The Indians would again find the endzone, capping a 9 play drive with Waid hitting Ryser for a 28 yard score to cut the lead to 43-41 in the fourth quarter. The two point conversion was no good.
Niles would not lay off the gas pedal though, and Srbinovich would score his fifth and final TD of the game, this time a rush from 10 yards out with 4:47 left to put Niles ahead for good 50-41.
Girard is now 0-4 since 2012 in their home openers while Niles is 6-0 in their past six openers on the road.
Niles (1-0) will travel to Poland to take on the Bulldogs next week. Girard (0-1) will continue their home stand against Hubbard.