In the 65-28 win, Gardner found the end zone six times and broke Niles’ single-game rushing record with 471 yards on 29 carries. Gardner broke the 34-year school record of 345 yards previously held by Ron Ritz.
“I was just sitting on the sidelines in the third quarter I scored in. They’re like, ‘Oh, you have the record now,'” Gardner. “I was like, wow, I didn’t even realize.”
Gardner said he is no stranger to dominating the trenches.
“It’s just, it’s all the work I put in,” Gardner said. “That’s what I got out of it. God blessed me with that.”
Gardner is now Niles’ all-time leading rusher and scorer in school history.
Niles head coach Jim Parry said Gardner deserves all the praise.
“You go through that Girard game, you say, boy, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performance like that, and then for him to turn around and do that again,” Parry said. “It was one for the ages, for sure.”
But, Gardner said he knows to thank the linemen up front.
“All across my old line, they did all the work for me,” Gardner said. “They just gave me the holes and I just went.”
Niles offensive lineman Carter Waldron said he loves getting gritty in the trenches for Gardner.
“I love the momentum. It’s hard to get tired when you’re that excited,” Waldron said. “When my running backs make a good run and I could just get to run down the field, getting excited with my team.”
Gardner has 795 yards in the past two games, 32 touchdowns this season and over 2,200 yards rushing.
Gardner said he can’t wait to see the lights for week 12.
“It means the world to me,” Gardner said. “These guys put the work in, I get all the credit for it, but I know they get all the credit from me.”
#7 Niles (7-4) will play at #2 Mentor Lake Catholic (9-2) on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.