Bailey Edwards about to grab one of his two touchdowns on the day
After a day delay due to the severe winter storm that hit Saturday in the Jackson area, Chelsea met undefeated Coldwater for the first time ever. It was also the first team either team had made it this far into the playoffs. On Sunday afternoon, after the Jackson Public Schools did a great job of clearing the field and the stands, the last two teams fighting for a trip to the state championship game met on the frozen tundra of Withington Stadium.
Chelsea won the coin toss and deferred and started on defense and after a good kickoff from Junior Christopher Roush the battle began. Coldwater came into the game with much confidence with a high octane running game playing a power wing offense and averaging over 30 points scored a game. But they didn’t count on the Chelsea defense which stifled them right away and forced a 3 and out.
After a weak punt the Bulldogs took over on offense and drove right down the field with good ball control, with Junior Quarterback Jack Bush running it in on the keeper to put Chelsea up. On the ensuing kickoff the Cardinals fumbled and Chelsea recovered and one play later it was a Bush pass to Noah Van Reesema for a 30 yard score and from there Chelsea never looked back or let up.
The Chelsea defense made many big stops as it has all year, forcing several 3 and outs and coming up big with some 4th down stops. Coldwater could not get the push needed up front against a strong defensive line anchored by All Conference and 2015 Ann Arbor News Defensive Player of the Year award winner Ty McTaggart.
In the second quarter it was Bush finding All Conference Senior Bailey Edwards a duo of touchdown passes to give Chelsea a resounding 28-0 lead at the half. It also left a chilled Cardinal fan base in a state of shock.
Chelsea took the kickoff in the third quarter and Bush again tossed a beautiful 35 yard touchdown pass to Van Reesema to put Chelsea up 35-0 and to begin the running clock, per MHSAA rules.
At that point it was very obvious that Chelsea was going to the championship game as the standing room only Bulldog fans were chanting Ford Field. Head coach Brad Bush once again, with grace and class, never one to run up a score, began to make substitutions to give a lot of the younger guys a chance to play and those that don’t get as much playing time more opportunity.
Coldwater’s only score in the game was late in the fourth quarter when they recovered a fumble in Bulldog territory and drove it in to score.
“It was really special,” said Chelsea coach Brad Bush. of the game “It takes a lot of effort from a lot of people to run a football program the way we try to.”
As he addressed his players as is custom after each game, he told them ” I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys ever. You’re gonna live the dream next week, we got one more to play. But….we’re gonna play 14″.
Quarterback Bush finished nearly perfect on the day with 11 of 12 passing with 194 yards, 4 touchdowns and scoring one himself. Trey Seitz was the team leader in rushing with 9 carries for 45 yards. Van Reesema had 4 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns, while Edwards finished the day with 6 catches, 94 yards, and two td’s of his own.
Leading the defense was Ryan Stasiak with 4 tackles, 4 assists, Trevor Kingsley with 4 tackles 1 assist, Caden Murphy, 3 tackles 2 assist, and Jordan Haber 2 tackles 2 assist.
Chelsea will play Saturday night at 7:30 at Ford Field against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, who are 6 time state champions including last year.
Cash Shegan makes a big stop against Coldwater