The 2-3 (2-0) Chelsea Bulldogs needed conference play to start to get rolling. They have won back-to-back games against the Ypsilanti Phoenix and the Adrian Maples. They will now travel to Ypsilanti to play the 4-1 (1-1) Lincoln Railsplitters and stay in the thick of the Southeastern Conference White title as they continue to ride their running back Berkley Edwards. The Railsplitters are a tough team though and try to contain him.
Lincoln opened up their season with 3 straight road games. The first one was against the Belleville Tigers. The Railsplitters in that game put up 20 points in the first quarter and added 14 throughout the rest of the game to coast to a 34-21 victory. Lincoln’s quarterback Javin Kilgo completed 11 of his 24 passes for 119 yards with a touchdown. They were helped out by rushing the ball as a team for 159 yards. They also added a blocked punt, an interception and 3 fumble recoveries to the effort.
The second was in Ann Arbor against the Huron River Rats. In this game they put up 35 points through the first 3 quarters of play and Huron scored 14 in the 4th giving the Railsplitters the 35-14 victory. Kilgo threw 13 passes and completed 8 of them for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. Their defense again was outstanding recording 12 sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception in the rout.
The final game of this stretch was also in Ann Arbor when they played the Skyline Eagles. Lincoln poured it on early and Skyline tried to keep up, but they just didn’t have enough firepower. The final score of that game was 51-29. Kilgo went 10 for 15 for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns. They also added 297 yards rushing with 4 touchdowns. The defense also added 6 sacks, a pick and fumble recovery.
Lincoln’s only loss of the season came at home against the Tecumseh Indians. The Indians did to the Railsplitters what they like to do to other teams. They went up 21-7 at half and added 20 more to their lead to make it 41-14. Kilgo was outdueled in that game by Tecumseh’s Ben Dreslinski and their defense made more plays than Lincoln’s.
Their game last week was a blow out victory over the Dexter Dreadnaughts.
Chelsea is going to have a very difficult time this week. Their defense is going to have their hands full with what Lincoln likes to do. They throw the ball very well with Kilgo and he doesn’t throw a lot of interceptions. They also use a group of running backs to move the ball which having that balanced attack will be a lot of pressure on the Bulldogs. The key I am seeing for the Bulldogs to stay in it will be to get turnovers, but that it is going to be tough to guess what they are doing on every play since they can mix up the pass and run so well.
The Bulldog’s key on offense is usually getting Edwards running room, but I think it is more important for Logan Brown to be efficient in the passing game to help him out. They are a running team and with a back like Edwards, you can understand why, but with the defense that Lincoln is bringing, it won’t be enough. The offensive line is going to need to open up holes against Lincoln’s tough defensive line and keep their quarterback upright, which is going to be a very difficult task as well. The Railsplitters also get a lot of turnovers, which could become an even bigger problem with how relentless this defense is. They like to get teams down to abandoned the running game and let their line pin their ears back and get sacks. It also forces hurried throws which can turn into interceptions and fumbles. If the line can open holes and protect Brown, they have a small chance.
Last year was played at Lincoln and Chelsea scored the 20-7 victory. In that game, Edwards ran for 118 yards on 22 carries with a touchdown.
I don’t see that happening this year. Chelsea is not as good as they were last year and I think the Railsplitters are a lot better. I think they have too much on the offensive side of the ball and a defense that is going to shut down the Bulldogs. I think the score is going to be similar to ones that they have played this season. My prediction is that the Railsplitters win 35-14.
This game will be played at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 28 at Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan.