(Chelsea Update would like to thank Todd Ortbring for both the photos and this game story.)
After back-to-back lopsided victories, the JV football team knew they were going to have their hands full with a talented Lincoln team that visited Jerry Neihuas Field on Thursday, Sept. 27.
The game turned out to be just as it was billed with the Bulldogs prevailing with a hard fought 28-20 win.
The home squad found themselves down early in this contest after a 53-yard Railsplitter first quarter touchdown. The Dawgs stopped the extra point attempt leaving the score 6-0. Chelsea quickly responded with a scoring drive of its own, capped by an 18-yard score from running back Ty Nelson. Cam Starkey covered the three yards for a successful two-point conversion putting the home team on top 8-6, with just over four minutes left in the quarter.
The defenses took over for the next several series until Lincoln hit pay dirt again midway through the second quarter after an interception return to the Bulldog 1-yard line. One play and a two-point conversion later and Lincoln was back on top, 14-8.
But once again, the Bulldogs responded, marching down the field, through the air and on the ground. Chelsea scored on a pass from Starkey to Jeremy Policht. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time, as Policht caught the pass after the intended receiver tipped the ball, to a Lincoln defender, who then tipped it into the hands of Policht standing alone in the back of the end zone. With that, the score was tied 14-14.
On the following Splitter possession, Kolton Savery pounced on a Lincoln fumble to kill a drive.
Aside from one long scoring play, the Bulldog defense did a good job of containing the talented skill players from Lincoln. Defensive backs Garrett Farmer and Ryan O’Quinn broke up several pass attempts – including one on the final play of the half at the Chelsea two-yard line.
Chelsea took the second half kick-off and drove methodically down the field until Starkey hit Kenny McDowell on a perfect 31-yard pitch and catch for the score. Nelson added the two-points for a 22-14 Bulldog lead. But it was a lead that did not last long.
Lincoln scored on a long pass play of its own just two minutes later, but failed on the PAT leaving the score, 22-20.
The Bulldogs final score came early in the fourth quarter, when Nelson burst around end and rambled 48 yards for his second score of the night. The talented back rushed 20 times for 108 yards on the night. From that point on, it was the Dawg defense that took over the game, stopping Lincoln drives time-after-time. The defense made it difficult for Lincoln’s QB to get any rhythm. The secondary had tight coverage on the receivers while the defensive line put constant pressure on the Railsplitter QB all night.
Grant Ortbring dropped the QB three times for a loss while linebackers Mason Bailey, Jacob Rhodes, Scott Moore, Bryan Evans and Ben Whitesall stuffed the Splitters running game.
Lincoln’s final drive was stopped on downs after Farmer knocked down two consecutive pass attempts in the end zone. Chelsea took over on its 25-yard line and from there, the home team ran out the clock for the victory.
On offense, QB Starkey completed 10 of 15 passes for 75 yards. His favorite targets were McDowell, Jacob Dobberstein and Daniel Lindauer. Opening holes up front for the offense were Paul Heck (making his first start), Tony Nicol, Jacob Gaken, Alonzo Taylor and Michael Smith.
Leading the defensive charge were the linebacking group, lead by Moore, Rhodes, and Bailey, who also had a QB sack. Other leaders on defense were Farmer, Ryan Eisley, (making his first start on defense), Colin Steinhauer and Ortbring. Also contributing with tackles were Dobberstein, Savery, Smith, Evans and Whitesall.
The Bulldogs hit the road Thursday to take on an undefeated Tecumseh team. Kick-off is 7 p.m.
A speedy recovery goes out to Tim Johnson who missed the game due to an injury.