Who: Pinckney at Ypsilanti Lincoln
When: 7 p.m.
Broadcast: 6:50 p.m. on the Livingston Post. Click here for the link.
Last year: Pinckney was 7-2, Lincoln 4-5
All-time: Series tied 10-10; Lincoln has a losing record against every other opponent in 10 or more meetings except for Dexter
Last time: Pinckney won 29-12 in 1999
NEW KIDS IN TOWN
Pinckney coach Rod Beaton has emphasized this point with his team: “I told the kids: Listen. Everybody in this league is going to give you their best shot. We’re the new guys, and they’ll give us everyhting we can handle right off the bat, and we have to be ready to handle that.” Pinckney returned to the Southeastern Conference after re-joining the old KVC for the 2000 season.
The Railsplitters and Pirates have been on similar trajectories. Both struggled mightily in the 2000s; from 2001-09 Lincoln won just five games, two of those in 2009. But both made the playoffs in 2011 and have been much improved since then. “They’re a good football team,” Beaton says. “They have some very dynamic players there, and they’re very, very well coached. We’ve got our hands full. We definitely do.”
For the Pirates, all but one game this season (against South Lyon in Week 4) is against a team they’ve never seen before, for all intents and purposes. “It’s definitely different, because we know a lot of the kids on Brighton, Hartland and Howell,” senior Nick Cain said. “We were looking forward to going up against them. But now we’re in a new league, and we don’t know any of these kids. We might know of some of them. But we’ve been playing against Brighton since the first grade.”
It’s much the same for the coaches, who knew what KLAA teams were going to bring on a given night, for the most part. “You’re a little blind,” Beaton said. “You prepare the best you can with what you may know. But you can’t chase ghosts. You take your best educated guess from what you’ve seen on film, prepare for that, and adjust accordingly.”
“Definitely,” Beaton says with a chuckle. “But I’m very happy with how things have gone so far, the way the kids have worked, the way the coaches have worked to get us into this position and ready to go. It’s still very unnerving until kickoff on Friday.”
“It’s going in not knowing what to expect,” Cain said. “But if we stick with the game plan, I think we should be just fine.”