high school football: Chelsea pulls away in second half to top Lincoln in AnnArbor.com Game of the Week
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
There's been more to this Chelsea football resurgence than just one player.
But Berkley Edwards rushing for 200 yards a game has been a big part of it.
Edwards ran for 226 and four touchdowns on 33 carries, including 168 yards in the second half, as Chelsea pulled away from Lincoln in a 41-20 win. The win is the Bulldogs' third straight after starting the season 0-3.
The performance came after a 208-yard performance last week against Adrian, including a go-ahead touchdown.
"I haven't seen him up until the last couple of weeks run with the kind of passion that he's running with right now," Chelsea coach Brad Bush said of Edwards. "He's really doing a great job."
The win keeps the Bulldogs' hope for an automatic playoff bid alive -- the Buldogs have been to the playoffs for 13 straight years.
Lincoln falls to 4-2 (2-2 SEC White) on the year. Friday marked Chelsea's 15th straight win in the series.
Chelsea, at 3-1 in SEC White play, is likely one win away from a league title. The Bulldogs face Tecumseh (6-0, 4-0 SEC White) next Friday, and close out the league slate with winless Dexter.
"Our goal is to win the league," Bush said. "We knew if we could beat these guys, you don't count Dexter as a win, but we feel like we should beat those guys, so if we beat Tecumseh next week we win the league again."
After the two teams went into halftime tied, Chelsea (3-3, 3-1 SEC White) scored on consecutive drives to start the second half. Edwards totaled 104 yards on those drives.
On the opening drive of the second half, Chelsea drove 65 yards on seven plays. Six of those plays were Edwards rushes, totaling 61 yards. The finale was a 27-yard run in which Edwards sliced through the middle of the Railsplitters defense for a go-ahead score.
After a short Lincoln drive, Chelsea took over at its own 30 yard line and went 70 yards for another score. Edwards racked up 43 yards on that drive, setting up a fade pass from quarterback Logan Brown to Kyle Koseck 20 yards for the score.
The game continued Edwards' trend of increasing his rushing load as the game goes on. In the second half alone, Edwards had 19 rushes for 168 yards.
"As the game progresses, I get looser, I get more of a feel for the game," Edwards said.
Chelsea's 266 total rushing yards opened the door for Brown to go 7-for-7 for 71 yards and a touchdown.
For Lincoln, quarterback Javin Kilgo was 9-for-15 for 128 yards and a touchdown. Tyree Waller had five catches for 85 yards and Dalauren Roberson had 67 yards rushing.
After rushing for more than 1,500 yards last year as a junior, Edwards, a senior with multiple Big Ten offers, had hit an early season swoon, going for 157 yards in three games (including one against Ypsilanti where the margin of victory limited his carries.)
After challenging state powers Jackson Lumen Christi and East Lansing in the first two weeks, the low point came in a 53-20 loss to Temperance Bedford, in which Edwards had 20 yards.
But the Bulldogs didn't let it break their season.
"We kept climbing, stayed together as a team," Edwards said. "We could have went a lot of ways, we could have broke up and said we're just going to hang it up. But we stayed together."
On Friday, Lincoln matched Chelsea's offense in the first half, but the Railsplitters were unable to notch a second half score until 3:59 left in the game, as the Chelsea defense buckled down.
After Chelsea struck first in the first quarter, Lincoln scored two second-quarter touchdowns to take the lead. Chelsea scored late in the first half to tie it before pulling away early in the third.
Both teams took advantage of short fields to notch touchdowns in the first half, thanks largely to special teams miscues. Chelsea scored on drives of 31 yards and 40 yards and Lincoln scored on a 43-yard drive and a 53-yard drive.
After Lincoln went ahead on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Kilgo to E.J. Shaah on a tipped ball, Chelsea returned the ensuing kickoff down to the Lincoln 40-yard-line.
Chelsea scored again in six plays, including back-to-back 14-yard runs from Edwards, gave Chelsea the game-tying score with 37 seconds left in the first half.