Two of the teams I have been covering will collide in week 5. On one side we have the 1-3 (1-0) Chelsea Bulldogs who won their first game of the season last week by a big score of 43-18. They got their star running back Berkley Edwards going and they are hoping to continue their success.
On the other side we have the 1-3 (1-0) Adrian Maples who also won their first game last week big 48-7. This week these two teams will collide as both try for their second victory of the season and keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Chelsea offense has looked good in two of their games; the first was week 1 against the Jackson Lumen Christi Titans and the other was their last game against the Ypsilanti Phoenix. They were outscored in the first game and in the latter; they defeated them by big margin. The big part in both of those games was that Edwards was given running lanes and he took advantage of them. Their other two games though has not been the case. The line couldn’t get him space and the defenses kept him in check.
The Maple offense has had similar problems. In week 1 they went up big at halftime against the Carleton Airport Jets and saw their lead erased as they ended up losing that game 25-24. Their game against the Saline Hornets saw another second half collapse as they could not stop the high powered offense of Saline who scored 34 points after the break. Their only win was against the Dexter Dreadnaughts and they kept the pressure on for a full game and came away with a big win.
Here is where both teams have struggled this year, on defense. The Bulldogs have been outscored by their opponents 90-132 and they are giving up 33 points per game. Their defense has not been able to stop anyone besides Ypsilanti this year. They have yet to show they can stop what a team does best. The Titans wanted to run the ball and they did. When they played the East Lansing Trojans, they wanted to air it out and did for a lot of success. This could give them problems since Adrian wants to run the ball, but they have had some success through the air.
Adrian has also had similar problems with their defense. In their blow out defeat by the hands of the Fenton Tigers, their quarterback had little problem finding open receivers. Saline could move the ball through the air and the ground against the Maples, but I believe that was situation where their passing game was picking them apart, they tried to make adjustments and the Hornets took advantage on the ground. Adrian has been fairly tough in the run defense department this season, it has been passing teams who have hurt them and their running games have been opened up because of it.
Last year these two teams actually played twice, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs. The first game saw Chelsea win 37-13 at home. In that game Edwards rushed for 105 yards on 21 carries and he caught a pass for 11 yards. In the second game, the Maples won on the road 34-14. Edwards had another big game rushing the ball 18 times for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns.
These are two different teams this year though. Both teams have different starting quarterbacks. Both teams are also not as good as they were last year. My keys to the game for Chelsea to win are to get the ball to Edwards and give him some blocks. If he can get into the open, they will have a chance. Their defense is going to need to stop the run this week since Adrian doesn’t have a great passer like last year.
For Adrian, they need to get the running game going with Isaac Gradeless. If they can do that and put pressure on that Bulldog defense, I think it will in turn give them an opportunity to throw the ball. On defense it is simple, stop Edwards. This team has struggled when he isn’t rushing well and forcing Chelsea to pass has led to turnovers.
My prediction for this game is that Edwards will again struggle, as well Chelsea. The game is being played in Adrian which will give the Maples a better chance. I think this game will be 27-13 Adrian, if Edwards can’t get going that is. If he does, it will be much closer, but I still think the Maples are little bit better than the Bulldogs.
This game will be played September 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Michener Elementary School in Adrian, Michigan.