It was the legendary Alabama Head Coach Bear Bryant that said, “Offense wins game, Defense wins championships.” And the Chelsea Bulldogs have proven that all season long against some very highly ranked, high scoring offenses. At one point in the season the Bulldogs defense went 22 quarters without giving up a point, 5 and a half games. In the playoffs against their opponents that were averaging almost 35 points scored a game, the defense has given up an average of 10 points a game, and most of those points were given up late in the game. And they have faced some really good competition.
The defensive front 7 is led by All Conference and Ann Arbor Area best defensive player of the year Ty McTaggart. Also up front are All Conference players Trevor Kingsley and Quinn Kelly. Not only is the Chelsea defense big, but they have a lot of speed and a good nose for the ball. They play as one solid unit.
“Our defense is definitely a tight knit group,” Senior Defensive End Kingsley said about his defense this season. “We focused on something every coach said every week which was “Do your job”. We really bought into that and we trusted each other knowing that the other 10 guys on the field were going to do their jobs. There’s no real way to describe the brotherhood we have, we just knew it was there. Every time we were on the field we could look at each other with out saying anything and we would know we had each other’s back. We play with more enthusiasm than I could’ve ever imagined and it’s not just enthusiasm for yourself it was for everyone. We understood playing together which made the brotherhood the strongest.”
This team has grown up together on and off the field over many years. There is no real way to describe the brotherhood. They all come from different areas of the city, different walks of life, but all have the common bond. To do the jobs they are assigned.
“We are a brotherhood, we have each others backs no matter what. We know we can trust each other out there,” Junior Defensive Tackle Cash Shegan stated as he and his father unloaded 2,000 pound hay rolls for their horses on a cold afternoon. “I’m so excited for this game. I’m anxious. I can’t wait, I’m ready to go. Go dogs,.” Shegan said as he smiled.
“This is going to be a good game,” Junior Defensive tackle Kyle Bell stated. “They’re a good team (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s). But our defense is strong and ready and we’re a good team too and we are very confident.” Then Kyle started talking about Ty McTaggart and how he was selected defensive player of the year. That’s how this team is. There are no big egos, no one trying to achieve big statistics. Each one will name another as who they feel is the best player on the team.
“Saturday’s game is going to be a great challenge, OLSM is a very talented team,” Senior linebacker Caden Murphy said. “Our defense has worked well together all year. We have a good understanding of each other and we are excited for a good challenge. The atmosphere Saturday is going to be exciting and nothing like we have been involved in before which will be very cool.”
Many pundits have not given Chelsea much credit to even get this far. They have claimed inexperience, can’t compete with the offenses, can’t stop the run, and many other reasons. But each and every week Chelsea has proved them wrong. And all the so called “expert sports analyst” this week have them losing to OLSM, and in many of their picks they have them getting blown out.
“That’s okay, they can say what they want, we don’t pay attention to any of that,” said Senior Defensive End Quinn Kelly. “We do our talking on the field. We do what our coaches say and we only worry about our team and our play. We are a brotherhood and will go out Saturday and do what we do best.”
The Bulldogs take on the Eaglets Saturday night at 7:30 at Ford Field. Tickets are available at the gate for $10, cash only. Chelsea will be on the north side of the field, the visitors side.