It’s hard to win football games down 32 points at halftime.
Skyline football found that out the hard way Friday night, falling to Ypsilanti Lincoln 39-7 in the regular season finale after falling behind Lincoln 32-0.
Skyline’s inability to stop Lincoln’s run proved fatal. Railsplitters’ running back Jorden Collier led the attack with 181 yards on 24 carries, with 163 yards coming in the first half.
After a quick three-and-out on offense to start the game, Lincoln’s ground game went to work, pounding the ball down to the Eagles’ 13-yard line. Skyline forced Lincoln’s offense into fourth-and-10 after a holding penalty, but Lincoln quarterback Trey Richey found receiver JT Mackson wide open for a first down at the Eagles’ 2-yard line.
Collier scored his first of three touchdowns on the next play, giving the Railsplitters a 7-0 lead with 7:57 remaining in the first quarter.
Lincoln’s offense struck again after Skyline was forced to punt. A 35-yard touchdown pass from Richey to Jaylen Thompson capped a 5 play, 50-yard scoring drive to increase the Railsplitters’ lead to 13-0 with 3:01 remaining in the first quarter.
Skyline’s offense, meanwhile, was unable to move the ball consistently and was plagued by mistakes. Down 26-0 after Lincoln added two touchdowns in the early stages of the second quarter, Skyline had its best chance to get back in the game after recovering a muffed punt in Lincoln territory.
The scoring chance was wasted after Skyline quarterback Addison Taylor-Coquillard over threw an open receiver in the end zone on third down and then was intercepted by Lincoln’s Jalen McCoy on fourth down.
Lincoln added another touchdown in the final minutes of the first half with a 7 play, 85-yard scoring drive capped off with a touchdown from Collier to stretch its lead to 32-0.
Skyline, looking for answers offensively, experimented with three different players taking snaps at quarterback in the second half. One of the three, Jordan Wilson, provided a spark for the Eagles with a touchdown run from a wildcat formation, taking a direct snap 28 yards up a hole in the left side to pull Skyline to within 32-7 in the opening minute of the second half.
Skyline looked to have momentum and a chance to make things interesting after Wilson stopped Collier on a fake punt the following possession. Skyline drove the ball into Lincoln territory, but was unable to generate points after a deep pass for Wilson fell incomplete on fourth down.
Overall, it was a much better second half for the Eagles, particularly defensively, but they were unable to climb out of the massive hole they left themselves in the first half. Lincoln added a late touchdown with a 23-yard run from David Cook with 10:35 remaining in the game to effectively seal the game.
Skyline (1-4) now will turn its attention to the MHSAA state playoffs for the first time since its inaugural season in 2010. The MHSAA is expanding the playoffs from the traditional 256-team format to a 512-team field to accommodate teams losing games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Skyline’s opponent is unknown, but it will likely open the playoffs on the road next Friday against a high seed.