Chelsea is a very quaint city of roughly 5,100 people located about 15 miles west of Ann Arbor. It is full of friendly people, a vast array of eclectic shops and restaurants, and many parks and lakes. It is a very warm and inviting community and if you are new from out of town you are accepted right away because once you embrace the blue and gold colors of the Bulldogs, the school’s mascot, then you too are a Chelsea Bulldog.
Highlighting the community are the Chelsea schools. They are very diverse, educational learning facilities, especially the High School which is voted every year in the top 20 schools of Michigan and in the top 700 in the nation! Their test scores are some of the highest in the state, along with their college readiness, and proficiency in reading and math. Along with the pride they feel of high educational values they have much pride in the athletics.
Chelsea can be known as a city of championships. They have achieved many, many championships in all sports over the years. Just this fall sports season alone the first year Field Hockey team won the Division 1 regular season championship and went to the State Championship game. The volleyball team won the SEC Conference Title, the Girls Cross Country team won the Conference Title, the soccer team won Conference, the boys Tennis won, and the Swim and Dive team finished eighth place in states. And the Football team will be at Ford Field in Detroit Saturday evening to take on Orchard Lake St. Mary’s for the Division 3 Championship.
Although Chelsea Football has won championships in the past, they have never made it this far in the the modern playoff era. And this is a great group of kids and the whole area supports them. You will not see this team throw fits, or throw helmets. If they make a mistake, they shake it off and learn from it and move forward. You will not see them arguing, cussing, or calling out other players in a negative way. You will not see them breaking team rules or slacking in their studies. They do not skip school, they do not start fights, they do not break the law. Many on the team are member s of National Honor Society and on honor roll. You will not see them padding their own statistics. You will however, see them helping each other, encouraging each other, supporting each other as a brotherhood. When you watch Chelsea football, you see a complete team with no weaknesses of great young men. And that comes from coaching and parenting!
“My husband and I have had all three of our sons grow up being part of Chelsea and the Bulldog Experience,” said Senior Defensive lineman Quinn Kelly’s mother Christine. “The coaching and mentoring here goes above and beyond. My boys have learned many positive things especially dedication and hard work and how rewarding the payoff can be. The lessons they have learned here will last them a lifetime.”
That is very much the general consensus of the community and team parents, past and present. There is much pride and respect in the sports programs of Chelsea, and right now especially in the football program. The fans have poured into opposing team’s stadiums outnumbering the home teams on many occasions, even in the playoffs. They are loyal. They sit in the freezing cold, in the snow, and they travel far to do it. And the faithful fans are very thrilled and excited for this team.
“Many of the seniors’ parents have been impressed with this group of boys for quite some time,” stated Johnny Packard, Senior lineman Jay Packard’s father. “We kept seeing many of the same boys since Chelsea’s U8 Rec Leagues (baseball, basketball, flag football…). They were good, athletic and talented. But it was that undefeated freshmen year that the talk began: these guys are something special, a real team, they really care about each other, having fun and celebrating each other’s accomplishments,” Packard continued. “They were fun to watch. Then they got broken up. Some of the boys got taken up to varsity. That JV squad was still good but the parents were chomping at the bit , waiting for their senior year. And here it is. WOW! Everything we hoped for and then some. They are out there again having fun and celebrating each other’s accomplishments. These are a great group of kids, all 70 something of them. The kind of kids you can’t help but be proud of, regardless of their accomplishments. But what a great accomplishment; making it to Ford Field and accomplishing the goal of play 14”
#Play 14 is the manta of the team beginning last summer. It refers to the number of games a team must play to get to the championship game. And these players, their fans, and parents are living the dream. They are playing 14.
“This is a great group of young men, you’ll never find any better,” Mike Shegan, father of Junior Defensive Tackle Cash Shegan proudly proclaimed. “These kids deserve this, they’ve earned it and I can’t be more proud of them.”
“This is very exciting for the whole community,” Jerry Kingsley, father of Senior Defensive End Trevor Kingsley said. “I especially like how Coach (Head Coach Brad Bush) has made it about the team. They’ve done a great job and this is a big learning experience in many ways that they’ll always remember.”
The whole city is proud, even non football fans. They are planning to line the streets Saturday at 4 p.m. as the team buses carrying the players drive through the city. The school sold out of tickets in one day, 2,000 tickets! And local businesses Advanced Dental Group and Steele Heating and Cooling gave away free tickets to all the Juniors and Seniors. Many more people will be travelling Saturday in droves proudly wearing their blue and gold and hoping to watch a great team of excellent young men put the positive finishing touches on a storybook season.