Chelsea gave their fans a big gift at their homecoming as they finished undefeated in the SEC White Division for the first time since 2012.
The Bulldogs beat a tough Ypsilanti team 42-18 in front of a packed house of Chelsea fans.
The Grizzlies gave the Bulldogs quite a fight as both teams struggled early on to move the ball. But with just a little over 2 minutes left in the first quarter, Jack Bush scrambled while receiver Cam Cooper was able to break free all alone in the right side of the end zone to catch Bush’s perfect pass for the first score of the game.
Ypsilanti came back and drove down the field in 13 plays covering 96 yards and scored on a Garvin Grout 29-yard pass to Jalen Allen but the kick by Carlos Gomez was wide left.
On the ensuing kickoff, it was Cooper shedding defenders and making great moves as he showed off his speed and jetted in for a big 85-yard touchdown by the Bulldogs.
With time running out in the first half, the Grizzlies were able to capitalize and punch it in, but on the 2-point conversion, the pass was broken up, giving the Bulldogs a 14-12 lead at the half.
“I thought Ypsilanti outplayed us in the first half,” Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush said. “We haven’t been in a close game at halftime since the River Rouge game, so I was happy with how our kids responded in the second half.”
After a great performance from the Pride of Chelsea band and an extended halftime where the fans got to see Ellie Doman crowned homecoming queen, the teams again took the field. Chelsea had deferred after winning the coin toss so they received.
After a very poor kickoff set the Bulldogs up at midfield, Bush dropped back and hit a flying Cooper down the right side of the field where he pulled in the well thrown ball and sprinted into the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown.
With only 15 seconds gone in the half the Bulldogs had distanced their lead.
After another defensive stop, the Bulldogs drove down the field mixing up the run and pass before Gus Reynolds fought to get in the end zone on the left side of the field behind his blockers finishing the 8-play drive with a 3 yard score.
But the Grizzlies may have been down but not out as Grout connected with Christopher Willis for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Again, the lack of a good kicking game hurt as they tried to convert on the two point conversion and failed.
It was all Bulldogs after that as Reynolds would score his second rushing touchdown of the night and 12th of the year from 5 yards out.
After a half hour delay due to lightning, Bush finished the Bulldog scoring for the night on a pass to Bryce Jubenville, who made an excellent diving catch in the right endzone for his first touchdown of the season and first varsity touchdown of his career.
Jared Hansen would cap off the night by picking off the Grizzlies Grout with his first interception as a varsity player.
“I was just surprised,” said an excited, smiling Hansen. “I played the coverage right and I saw it right there and as I jumped in front of him (Grizzly receiver) I kind of bobbled it and thought I was going to drop it. But I held on and took off running.”
Bush would finish on the night with 142 yards passing and 3-touchdown passes. Cooper had his first 100 yard rushing night of the season on only 7 carries and led receivers with 69 yards on 4 catches.
“I thought Bush and Cooper played well tonight,” Bush said. “Ypsilanti likes to load the box so we threw it a lot, and I thought we did it pretty well.”
The Chelsea defense once again stepped up big as they held the Grizzlies to only 4 yards rushing the entire game and forcing 3 turnovers. Travis Frazier and Drew Anstead had a sack each while Hansen, Thomas Steele, and Patrick Bertoni each had an interception. It was Bertoni’s 4th pick of the season. Chris Roush led the defense with 8 total tackles while Bertoni had 7.
The 7-0 Bulldogs travel next Friday to Monroe for a 7 p.m.