Lions fall to Niles North

As football stadiums go, there’s surely nothing wrong with Niles North’s facility in Skokie.

But it’s not Soldier Field, and maybe that explains the letdown that did in the Leo Lions on their visit to Niles North on Friday, Sept. 1.

Still basking in the glow of a victory over Lane Tech in their first Soldier Field appearance since 1974 on Aug. 25, the Lions came out flat against Niles North and paid the price. They fell behind 17-0 in the first quarter, then rallied to make a game of it behind the passing of junior quarterback Darryl Ousley.

But Niles North was able to hit a big play each time Leo seriously challenged and registered a 38-26 victory, leaving the Lions with a 1-1 record heading into their Catholic League opener against Hope Academy at Altgelt Park on Friday, Sept. 8.

“The lesson from this game is you’ve got to come ready to play every night,” Coach Mike Holmes said. “I hope we learned it.”

Trailing throughout the game, the Lions were forced to play catch-up, and Ousley was up to the challenge, completing 12 of 26 passes for 233 yards and connecting on TD throws to Keyshaun Douglas, Dechaun Anderson and sophomore Tobias Sample. Douglas scored a second touchdown on a 56-yard punt return.

Ousley also gained 68 yards on 13 rushes, while Antoine Wheeler had 48 yards on seven carries.

Hope Academy, a private, independent charter school, is new to the Catholic League this year. The frosh-soph game kicks off at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity at approximately 7:30.

Altgeld Park is located at 515 S. Washtenaw on the city’s Near West Side.