Chelsea Players celebrate their first ever Regional Championship
Friday the 13th is believed to bad luck for many but it was anything but for the Chelsea Bulldogs as they traveled to Allen Park for the Division 3 Regional Championship. It was a cold, blustery night but that didn’t keep the Bulldog faithful from filling up the visitors stands.
On the first play of the game Allen Park tried an onside kick to catch the Bulldogs by surprise. But Bulldog senior linebacker Zach Bennett played heads up and fell on the ball to give the Bulldogs great starting field position. “We were ready for it, we worked on it this week, we were prepared,” said Senior Captain Ryan Stasiak. “It was great coverage by Bennett.”
Chelsea took over at their own 47 and in 10 plays moved the ball rather well as Jacob Somodi finished the drive with a 3 yard touchdown run. After the Jaguars took over on offense the Bulldogs defense forced a punt. The Bulldogs took over and were moving the ball on the ground when Senior running back Jacob Grob lost the ball and the Jaguars recovered inside the Bulldogs red zone. But there were no heads hung low, no disparaging words, as the defense took the field to prove to the doubters why the Bulldogs belonged here. Allen Park, a predominantly running team, moved the ball down near the goal line. But the Bulldogs defense held strong when on a 4th and 2 they stood up the Jaguars quarterback, Antonio Mangiapane, and dog piled him keeping him short of the first down and forcing a turnover on downs. Starting at their own 4 yard line after a few short passes it was Grob getting another chance to carry. As the big offensive line opened up a hole for him, the 5 foot 7 inch speedster followed his blocks and flew down the field 66 yards to paydirt to put the Bulldogs up by two touchdowns. That is where it would stay at the half as the Jaguars were having a hard time solving the Bulldog defense.
In the third quarter the Bulldogs recovered a bobbled kickoff return to set them up in Jaguars territory. Junior quarterback Jack Bush capped off the 5 play, 28 yard drive with a 3 yard touchdown run. The Jaguars still could not solve the defense as they had to keep punting the ball. Their kicking strategy was to keep the ball out of the hands of Chelsea’s dangerous return duo of Cam Cooper and Bailey Edwards, so most of their punts went out of bounds. It was then Chelsea again as Bush aired the ball out in the 3rd quarter for a 36 yard pass to Jacob Scheese to put the Bulldogs up by 4 touchdowns. On the first play of the 4th quarter it was Bush to Scheese again for another touchdown pass and a Bulldogs 35-0 lead.
It was at that point in the game with a running clock, that Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush emptied his sidelines and put every player that was in uniform out on the field to play. It was a very classy move on his part. It gave every player an opportunity to be a big part of this historic moment as well as give the valuable play off experience.
As the clock wound down it was Chelsea with it’s first Regional Championship ever, with a big 35-12 victory over a very young and talented Allen Park team. The players were all celebrating with the trophy getting pictures, sharing hugs, and even a few tears of joy.
“We’ve had so many teams in this spot, good teams, and we haven’t been able to get to the finals,” Bush said. “It was (losses to) Farmington Harrison, Inskter with Devin Gardner – I’m proud of just not these guys but all the guys that have played here because we finally have broken through.”
Jack Bush said the win felt good, but the team is still focused on its goal of winning a state title.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, the first time in school history – something we dreamed about from the beginning,” Bush said. “Now we have to get one more to get to Ford Field.”
Bush had a career game as he threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-20 passing and added 11 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Bush has really matured and developed as a quarterback as the season progressed. In these playoffs he has shown that he is a leader and has played better as the playoffs roll along. Grob led the Bulldogs with 74 yards rushing on five carries, which included his 66-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Scheese had four catches for 67 yards and two scores, while senior Bailey Edwardshad five catches for 87 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball it was All Conference Trevor Kingsley leading the way with 6 tackles and 2 sacks on the night. All Conference defensive end Quinn Kelly had 4 tackles and a sack.
Chelsea will take on undefeated Coldwater at 1 P.M. Saturday the 21st at Jackson Witthington Stadium.
Senior Jacob Grob breaks a tackle on his 66 yard touchdown run