Lincoln stalls in the second half, falls to Wyandotte Roosevelt 28-21
Jeff Sainlar | AnnArbor.com
WYANDOTTE -- For a program making its first trip to the postseason, the Lincoln High School football team didn’t act like a group just happy to be there against Wyandotte Roosevelt on Friday night.
Lincoln led for the majority of the game against the seventh-ranked team in Division 2, but came just short of regaining that lead on the game's final play and lost, 28-21.
Down seven points with 2:18 left in the game, the Railsplitters took advantage of a short field, Roosevelt penalties and some well-run plays and stood at the 5-yard-line with 7 seconds left and no time outs.
Senior quarterback T.J. O’Bryan took a shotgun snap, rolled right and -- when he failed to find a receiver -- took off for the end zone.
O’Bryan was stopped 2 yards short of the goal line and Lincoln was stopped short of a shot at its first playoff win in school history.
“I’m very proud of this team and what they’ve accomplished," Lincoln coach Chris Westfall said. "Our program is headed in the right direction and I think its set up for sustainable success.”
Lincoln wasn't shaken by the big stage, scoring on its opening drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead early on. Lincoln's touchdown was set up by a 65-yard screen pass to George Miller, who would cap off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with 9:08 left in the first quarter.
After going three-and-out and fumbling on their next two drives, the Railsplitters again found the end zone through the air when O’Bryan connected with sophomore Dalauren Roberson on third-and-long while facing an all out blitz from Roosevelt.
Lincoln's final score of the half, and the game, was set up by a mishandled punt that Lincoln recovered at the Roosevelt 29-yard-line. Working with a short field, Miller scored on a 12-yard run to put Lincoln ahead 21-10 at the half.
Lincoln had a chance to add to its lead, after recovering a fumble on the Roosevelt 21-yard-line with 1:08 left in the second quarter, but missed a 30-yard field goal attempt.
Despite the 11-point deficit, Roosevelt never shied from its clock-control ground attack. The Bears commitment to the run began to wear down Lincoln’s defense and kept the Splitter offense off the field and out of rhythm.
Roosevelt took its first lead of the game in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard pass to Edge Jelsomeno from Kevin Matejko.
The Railsplitters had a chance to regain the lead midway through the fourth with a first-and-goal from the 8-yard-line, but were driven out of field goal range by a sack and penalty.
After Roosevelt ate up most of the clock with its ensuing drive, the Lincoln defense allowed the Bears to score with 2:18 left in order to get the ball back with enough time to try to answer.
The strategy worked, but fell just short on the final play.