GIRARD, Ohio (WYTV) – Girard finished the contest by outscoring Niles, 33-10, in the game’s final 30 minutes to secure their 47-24 victory. The Indians’ quarterback Mark Waid accounted for 5 touchdowns and two-point conversion. Over the course of their final seven games a year ago, Girard scored an average of 37.7 points.
The Indians’ defense stopped a surging-Niles offense by forcing a fumble which Nick Malito came up at their 18-yard line. Seven plays later, Mark Waid connected with Michael Belcik on a 39-yard touchdown strike to give the Indians a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter (5:44).
Following a Girard punt late in the first quarter, the Red Dragons only needed 4 plays to tie the game at 7. Nate Fowler caught a 77-yard pass from Jordan Soda with 45 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
The Indians raced down the field 59-yards on 8-plays culminating with Waid’s 4-yard scamper to give Girard a 7-point advantage (14-7).
Back we go, Niles heads 55-yards down the field with Soda connecting with Jason Johns on a 5-yard score with just over 8 minutes to play in the half.
Sophomore AJ Clardy put the Indians inside the red zone on a long run. He finished the drive with a one-yard score to give Girard a six-point advantage with under 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Girard’s Aidan Warga intercepted an errant pass by Niles and returned the pick back to the Niles’ 7-yard line. Three plays later, Waid found Anthony Backus on an 8-yard scoring pass followed up by a two-point conversion to double up Niles (28-14).
Freshman Chase Sudzina booted through the uprights a 43-yard field goal as time expired to close the Girard lead to 28-17. A big play on the drive was a fourth down catch by Johns at the 12-yard line which allowed the Dragons a chance to kick the field goal at the end of the first half.
The Girard Indians began the second half just how the first half went. Waid tossed a 50-yard strike to Backus to extend the Indians’ advantage to 17-points (34-17).
Just in the fourth quarter, Niles’ Robby Savin broke a 60-yard run to pay dirt to close the gap to 34-24.
With 8:31 remaining, Girard’s Waid scores for the fifth time (3 passing, 2 rushing) on a 9-yard run to post a 98-yard drive.
Girard scored their seventh and final touchdown of the game on Clardy’s second score. This time from 35-yards away to give the Indians a 47-24 advantage.
Niles had defeated Girard in four of their previous five meetings before tonight.
G – Michael Belcik, 39-yard TD catch from Mark Waid (G 7-0, 5:44)
N – Nate Fowler, 77-yard TD catch from Jordan Soda (T 7-7, 0:45)
G – Mark Waid, 4-yard TD run (G 14-7, 10:25)
N – Jason Johns, 5-yard TD catch from Jordan Soda (T 14-14, 8:20)
G – AJ Clardy, 1-yard TD run (G 20-14, 5:39)
G – Anthony Backus, 8-yard TD catch from Mark Waid (G 28-14, 3:21)
N – Chase Sudzina, 43-yard FG (G 28-17, 0:00)
G – Anthony Backus, 50-yard TD catch from Mark Waid (G 34-17, 11:03)
N – Robby Savin, 60-yard TD run (G 34-24, 11:00)
G – Mark Waid, 9-yard TD run (G 40-24, 8:31)
G – AJ Clardy, 35-yard TD run (G 47-24, 2:58)
Niles (0-1) will visit Poland in week two. Girard (1-0) will host Hubbard.