Wolves Survive Vikings; First Time in Six Years

By Rebecca Yun

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The new stadium lights seemed blinding in contrast to the remnants from Hurricane Isaac that loomed overhead in the dismal skies overlooking Basrak Field this past Saturday as the football team took on Niles North on home turf. Many spectators donned neon-colored ponchos, while most of the others wore hoodies. Fans from North and West alike appeared giddy from excitement as the final minutes before the annual cross-town game flew by. Players from both teams practiced passing before the game started, and North’s team even did a few jumping jacks before gathering together and bellowing out a chant of sorts.

After the coin toss, it was declared that Niles North would receive and West would play defense. Right from the get go, a Viking was tackled, giving insight to how well the game would go in favor of the Wolves. Within the first few minutes of the game, sophomore Tommy Galanopoulos sent the football into the hands of junior Andew Mihulet, who ran it near the goal line but was tackled before he could score a touchdown. By the time three minutes had passed, Niles West was already up by seven points and North seemed like they needed to step up their game. A touchdown was scored by senior Jake Glotzer and with less than two-and-a-half minutes left in the first quarter, West was up 21 to zero.

Second quarter was marred by a multitude of penalties, and it seemed like the referee’s infamous little yellow flag was thrown every few minutes, whether it be due to unsportsmanlike conduct or an illegal procedure. Niles West was definitely well ahead of North, but there were too many penalties holding the guys back from dominating the field. Spectators everywhere groaned each time the flag was heaved upwards, and people were becoming impatient with all of the penalty calls. It didn’t seem like the Wolves had improved on their run-in with penalties from the previous week’s game against Westinghouse.

Niles North finally scored a little over five minutes into the second quarter and the score was 23-7 in favor of the Wolves. Soon after, senior Connor Lee’s punt was blocked by the Vikings, who scored another touchdown. By the end of the second quarter, the score was a close 23-21, still in favor of Niles West.

The score had not changed well into the third quarter, and valiant efforts were made by the Wolves to try and score another touchdown. After what seemed like forever,  a pass from Galanopoulos into the arms of senior Tommy Williams propelled the team closer to victory, as Williams was tackled at the 30-yard line. Senior quarterback Mike McGivern passed to Mihulet, who ran into the endzone, and at last, Niles West was up 30-21. The last few minutes of the game included a time-out call and a penalty towards the Vikings, and their final drive was ended by an interception by Williams. In the end, the traveling trophy was hoisted high above the heads of the Wolves, and the cheering from the Niles West bleachers was near-deafening.

“I think the game went pretty well. Our offense really played a big role in getting the job done in winning the game and the defense did a tremendous job in putting Niles North in their place. During the second quarter, we made little mental errors but we were not worried because later on in the game we knew we would get back on track and correct our mistakes. As a team, we made it our goal to bring the trophy back to its rightful home at Niles West, [and] as a senior I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said senior linebacker James Williams.

Senior Jeremy Metz agreed.

“I thought the game went well, but there is lots of room for improvement,” he said.