CHELSEA — For the Pinckney football team, Friday’s game at Chelsea was the worst in w0ulda-coulda-shoulda.
The Pirates scored on their first possession and held the Bulldogs at bay until midway through the fourth quarter, when the wheels fell off.
First, a fake punt on fourth and 1 at midfield failed when Levi Collins, who rushed for 105 yards on the night, was dropped for a loss of two.
Three plays later, a Chelsea offense that had been stymied most of the night found it footing when quarterback Thomas Steele threw a 33-yard scoring pass to Aiden Chisholm.
Then, on the ensuing kickoff, Alex Wasyl saw the ball bounce off his shoulder pads. He picked it up, lost a couple of yards and fumbled again. The Pirates recovered on their own 8.
Three plays later, on fourth and 7, misfortune struck again when Collins shanked a punt that went just 13 yards, to the Pinckney 24. The defense held, but Cullen Lindsey hit a 32-yard field got for what turn out to be the winning points in a 10-7 Pirates loss.
Asked if he thought if it was a game that got away, Pinckney coach Rod Beaton paused. “A little bit, he said. “Coming in we knew that if we didn’t take are of things and keep them around, that they would do something in the end. A couple things didn’t go our way and at the end, we didn’t get it done.”
The loss took the shine out of a mostly sterling performance by the Pirates (1-1 Southeastern Conference and overall), who throttled the Chelsea offense most of the night.
“In the end, it came down to two-platoon,” said Alex Wasyl, who had six receptions for 33 yards, two carries for 22 yards and threw a 28-yard pass while also playing on defense and special teams. “They had fresh people on offense and defense switching back and forth, while we had nine people starting and going both ways.”
But the late errors, and the resulting field position, was as important a factor in the loss.
Chelsea coach Brad Bush was impressed.
“Do I feel like we stole one, a little bit? Yeah,” he said. “That’s a good team, that’s a really good team … and they can play with a lot of people. That’s a really good team.”
Among the standouts were Jacob Price, who kept Chelsea defensive end Ronnie Buford, a Western Michigan commit, at bay most of the evening.
That, in turn, allowed Pinckney quarterback Jack Wurzer to operate the Pirates offense.
“He had a real big night,” Wurzer said of Price. “I’m real proud of him. He’s a three-year varsity kid (as a junior), and he’s got a bright future.”
Chelsea (2-0, 1-0), which rolled past Milan in week 1, didn’t allow an opening kick return for a touchdown, as Lincoln did last week, but the Bulldogs were stunned by the Pirates on their first drive. Pinckney drove 59 yards in nine plays, capped off by Collins’ 1-yard scoring plunge to make it 1-0.
The only other Pinckney scoring opportunity came in the second quarter, when the Pirates lined up for a field goal, but a bad snap forced Mikey Antal to run, and the Bulldogs tackled him for a 5-yard loss and took over the ball.
“I felt after that first drive our defense caught up to the speed of the game and we played pretty good defensively,” Bush said.
The Pirates manhandled Chelsea runners at times, allowing jus 66 yards rushing.
“It took 44 minutes, but they got us in the end,” Wasyl said. “You just know you were close, where if one play goes your way, it’s a completely different outcome.”
Instead, the Pirates return to practice on Monday with a bitter taste in their mouths.
“They may be a little angry,” Beaton said, “and hopefully we can translate that into a solid performance against a very good (Ypsilanti) team next week.
“I told the kids I couldn’t ask for anything more,” he continued. “It was a great performance all around, and I’m super proud of my kids. But, at the end of the day, we didn’t finish.”