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Chelsea’s Ronnie Buford Announces College Commitment

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Chelsea Bulldog Ronnie Buford picks off a pass in his junior season

The Chelsea High School football team has produced yet another great young athlete to commit to a Division 1 college as Junior Ronnie Buford announced that he has officially committed to Western Michigan University (WMU) to continue his football career.

Ronnie has committed to the Broncos as a defensive end, where he excelled for the 11-1 Bulldogs team in 2016. The 6 foot 4 inch Buford also excels on the basketball court where he and his Bulldog teammates won the Districts in their division last season.  Buford moved recently to Chelsea from Ann Arbor where he was the starting quarterback for Skyline, but he was moved to defensive end for the Bulldogs where they could take advantage of his size and speed.

“The adjustment from offense to defense wasn’t a real big deal to me,” Ronnie stated. “It was a smooth transition because I understood both offensive and defensive schemes and learned quickly what my coaches were teaching me.”

Many colleges noticed Ronnie’s play in his first year on defense and were interested in him and he and his family visited many of them to get a feel for the community and check out the academics to see if the fit was right for him. Ronnie took his time and with the help of his loving family, friends, and coaches finally decided on his gridiron home for the 2018 season.

“The decision was hard, yet easy. We went to many places but when we went to WMU I just knew I wanted to be a Bronco after the first unofficial visit,” Ronnie stated. “As soon as I stepped foot on the Bronco’s football field,  I just had this feeling that I had at no other visit! It was a confirmation feeling like I belonged there.”

Ronnie also gives much credit to the WMU coaches for making him and his family feel comfortable on their visit.

“They treated me and my family so nice,” Ronnie said. “They were extremely good to my little brother and I could tell this was a great, solid family organization like Chelsea football is. And that’s what I’m all about, family.”

Ronnie plans to major in Business and get a minor in civil engineering while enjoying all the community of Kalamazoo and WMU have to offer. Ronnie is the son of Willie Buford, and Shallis and Laura Mask.

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Chelsea Student-Athletes Make History

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Senior Jack Bush poses with the Chelsea basketball district championship trophy

Chelsea High School is known for its academics. It was recently listed by the U.S. News as the 7th ranked school in the state of Michigan, the only public school to crack the top 10. That’s an excellent ranking since there are over 1,500 high schools in Michigan. Nationally it was listed number 554 out of almost 40,000 high schools! The student body of Chelsea have a 56% ranking in Advanced Placement classes and have very high test scores. Not too shabby for a town of just over 5,000 people.

But academics isn’t all Chelsea is about. They put a good focus on athletics and encourage all students to participate and many of the students will play more than 1 sport. The athletic department is strong and solid and many students go on to earn sports scholarships for Division 1 schools,  and some even have gone on to play professional sports.

This year, a few students have done something that hasn’t been done in quite a while and is very rare for most student athletes. Jack Bush, Hunter Neff, Quinn Starkey, Thomas Steele, and Alex Vasquez have all etched their names in the Chelsea record books as they are among the few student-athletes in the long history of Chelsea sports that have won 3 district championships in one year!

Bush was the starting quarterback for Chelsea the past couple seasons and was a key element of leading the Bulldogs to the MHSAA Class B state championship in 2015. He also started for the basketball team and this year’s baseball team which just clinched a district title last Saturday. Bush will attend Hope College in the fall where he will look to carry on his illustrious football career.

Neff was a part of this years football, and baseball team, and was called up for the districts in basketball.

Starkey played on the basketball team, the baseball team, and was called up for the Districts in football.

Steele was the Bulldogs leading rusher in football last season as well as winning a district championship with the Bulldogs hockey team. He also will be on the field looking for a regional title in baseball, after sealing up a district championship last weekend.

Vasquez starred at end for the Bulldogs football team this past season and was also a part of the state championship runner-ups in 2015. He used his size and strength to help the Bulldogs win districts not only on the gridiron, but on the basketball court, and for this year’s baseball team. Vasquez will be taking his talents to Michigan State University in the fall.

The Bulldogs baseball team will head to Carleton-Airport on June 10th where they will be taking on the South Lyon East Cougars and will be looking to win the regional playoff and help bring more hardware to Chelsea, the city of champions.

 

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Jackson Christian’s Thomas Miller Sets New Rebound Record

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Jackson Christian’s Thomas Miller outjumps everyone for a rebound

It was a big night For Jackson Christian’s big man Thomas Miller. He achieved something he had dreamed of since he started to play roundball at JCS. And he knew it was coming. He could feel it. And with time running out on the road against North Adams Jerome, Thomas leaped above the other players and dragged down the ball breaking the Royals rebound record in a game with 27, breaking Max Walz’s old record.

“The last time out against North Adams I was close to breaking the record,” an elated Miller stated. “So tonight I had a feeling I could do it and was going to try as hard as I could. That was my goal and it feels good to do it.”

Miller, who stands 6 feet 5inches tall, not only rebounds but blocks shots and can score. Against North Adams he put up 18 points to go with his 27 boards. The former record holder Walz gave a shout out to Thomas on twitter for breaking his record. The state all time record is 49 by Jerry Stuart of Perry set in 1970. Miller’s record puts him in the top 30 of the state all time with some good company including former NBA stars Jesse Campbell & Spencer Haywood.

“I was really hoping and trying to break the school record this year, my senior year. I can’t even explain how excited I was to break it,” Miller happily said. “But it’s also weird knowing I broke a school record. I thank my teammates and especially my dad and my girlfriend Katie. They really encouraged me to work hard and to go for it.”

Miller and the Royals  season isn’t even close to being over yet so there is a chance he can get out on the court and break his own record.

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Chelsea Loses Heartbreaker In Regional Finals In Overtime 42-40

 

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Chelsea’s Cam Cooper beats his defender and makes a big catch for a Bulldog first down

 

With a chill in the air and in front of a packed home crowd, Chelsea was playing in it’s third Regional Final in a row, this year facing off against the undefeated 11-0 Edwardsburg Eddies in a battle of unbeaten teams. The Eddies came into the game ranked as the number 2 team in the state playing a power wing t offense and featuring a defense that had 5 shutouts and was only averaging giving up less than 6 points a game. The most points they had given up all year was 20 in their divisional final game.

But they had never played a Chelsea team like this. It was their first and only challenge of the season. They had two score leads twice in the game but the resilient Bulldogs never gave up and kept fighting back forcing the game into overtime. But the Bulldogs came up just inches short and fell 42-40 in overtime bringing an end to their outstanding season, finishing the year 11-1.

The Eddies struck first with their ball control offense taking almost half of the first quarter to score. It became apparent on the ensuing kickoff that they wanted to keep the ball out of the Bulldogs Cam Cooper’s hands as they short kicked it away from him. They didn’t realize though that Chelsea is full of weapons as Aaron McDaniel’s fielded the ball for a nice return setting the Bulldogs up with good field position. The Bulldogs moved the ball downfield rather easily with a mix of short passes and runs before quarterback Jack Bush hit Bryce Jubenville in the left side of the end zone for a 5-yard score.

In the second quarter though it was all Edwardsburg as they drove downfield twice to take a big 22-7 lead.

With only a minute to go in the half after another short kick off, Bush and his boys went into action. With a few good runs by Gus Reynolds and with only 22 seconds left Bush completed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Steele who had a defender all over him but he managed to rip the ball from him and hold on for the score. The two-point conversion was no good and Chelsea went into the halftime down 22-13.

The Eddies would receive the ball first in the second half and drove 78 yards to build a bigger gap between the two teams. But the Bulldogs came right back and in less than two minutes later it was Bush hitting Steele over the middle where he would sprint into the end zone for a 28-yard score. With a Chris Roush extra point, it brought the Bulldogs within 8 with plenty of time left in the game.

After a big fourth down stop made by the Chelsea defense, it only took one exciting play to get the Bulldogs even closer in the score as Bush hit the outstanding Cooper for a short pass. Cooper out ran and out dodged every defender juking by everyone for a 58-yard touchdown bringing the Bulldogs within two points. The Eddies were reeling, not being used to a team that played so well against them, not being used to a team that scored this many points, and was holding them well below their season average of 45 points scored per game.

The Eddies would score again but the defense would stop them on the two point conversion keeping the Bulldogs with good chances as they were only down by 8.

Time would be a big factor as the Bulldogs took over late in the fourth quarter. With just over 2 minutes to drive over 60 yards for the tying score, the Bulldogs buckled down and went to work. They knew time was running out on their spectacular season and they didn’t want it to end in any way. Bush was perfect on the final drive as he hit Cooper over the middle on a big pass play and then another one to Hunter Neff. A few mix of great runs by Steele & Reynolds had the Bulldogs close to the end zone. With one minute and 28 seconds left to go, Bush took the snap from his center Connor Christian and rolled right looking to the end zone. With no receiver open and under heavy pressure, Bush was able to use his strength to avoid tacklers and took off running for the blue and gold endzone. He ran down the field on the right side and powered his way to the end zone bringing the Bulldogs within 2 points of tying the game.

As the Bulldog faithful let out a raucous roar of joy, the Bulldogs lined up for the critical two-point conversion. The first try was broken up but a defender was hanging all over the receiver Steele and was called for pass interference, giving the Bulldogs an even closer attempt. Whenever Chelsea needs a couple extra yards on a big play it’s Bush who puts his head down on the quarterback keeper and he’s never failed. And this time was no different as he plowed his way into the end zone tying the game up at 34.

After another great Roush kickoff and a great defensive stand, it was clear the Eddies would play for overtime as they had only thrown the ball 3 times in the game and were unsure of their passing game against the Bulldogs defensive backfield.

Chelsea won the coin toss and deferred to play defense. The Eddies scored and converted the two-point conversion. Now it was the Bulldogs turn.

Bush hit Jubenville on the right side as he made a spectacular diving catch at the edge of the end zone but held onto the ball. But the two-point conversion came up just inches short for the Bulldogs ending their great season in an exciting yet dismal fashion.

As Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush gathered his team as he does after every game, he told them “how proud he was of them”.

“This was a great football team,” Bush stated. “They made one more play than we did. But you competed like a champion and did everything right. Every guy here should feel good, we did everything good and everything right. When you walk off that field you all know you gave everything you have. I couldn’t be prouder of you”

To the 26 seniors, who in three years are the winningest team in Chelsea football history he said a very heartfelt “thank you”.

Chelsea was led by Bush who was 18 for 28 with a whopping 234 yards and 5 touchdown passes. Reynolds had 78 yards on the ground on 12 carries while Cooper had 7 receptions for 109 yards and Steele finished with 75 yards on only 4 catches.

The Bulldog defense was led by Patrick Bertoni and Drew Anstead who both finished with 13 total tackles, while Cole Septer had 8, Cal Barrett had 7, and Ronnie Buford, Owen Nikischer, and Chris Roush each had 6 total tackles. Barrett also had a fumble recovery. Travis Frazier got a sack giving him a team leading 10 1/2 on the season. Anstead finished the season with the team lead in total tackles with 61.

Chelsea finished the year at 11-1 and will be bringing back 41 underclassmen next year.

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Chelsea Football Hoping For District Title Threepeat

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His number may have changed this year (54) but Chelsea’s Cash Shegan still hits hard and makes plays. Here he is in the 2015 Semi Final game against Coldwater. 

It’s a rematch of last year’s Division 3 semifinal game, which the Chelsea Bulldogs defeated the Coldwater Cardinals 35-7, as the Cardinals (8-2) fly into Chelsea (10-0) no doubt seeking a bit of vengeance for last year’s big defeat. The victory sent Chelsea to the state finals at Ford Field in Detroit while the loss sent the Cardinals home. Things will be quite a bit different between the two teams, though.

The first major difference will be the weather. Unlike last year’s game, which had to be delayed a day because of one of the worst blizzards in years, this year’s playoff game will be played in what the weatherman predicts to be sunny and about 50 degrees for kick off. Last year’s game was played in Jackson while this year the Bulldogs will have the home field advantage in front of a very large, supportive, and raucous crowd.

Coldwater returns 20 seniors from last year’s team, many who played in that semi-final game. The Cardinals have a big power run offense led by Sam DeMeester who also plays on defense. They have a solid offensive line and  a very good quarterback. On defense for the 2016 season, they have not allowed more than 22 points in any game this season and have allowed under 20 in all but two games.

But Chelsea has it’s own strong defense especially up front along the d-line anchored by the twin towers of Travis Frazier & Ronnie Buford. Frazier at 6’7″ and Buford (6’5″) are both able to get their hands up to block passes and use their quickness to make big plays. Frazier leads the team in sacks with 9 and a half and 17 tackles for loss this season in limited playing team because usually, the Bulldogs would have big leads. Buford, in only three games this season, has 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss.

“This game means a lot to me,” said Travis Frazier. “Last year I was playing for Jackson Lumen Christi and Coldwater beat us in the playoffs.So I want this bad, not just for me but for Chelsea.”

Also up front for the Bulldogs is the duo of Cash Shegan & Kyle Bell, who are known as shake and bake. Shegan saw a lot of playing time in last year’s playoffs and has a lot of experience. Bell has peaked at the right time playing some of his best football ever, as was apparent in the Bulldog’s 37-7 over Vicksburg in last week’s first-round playoff game. He was all over the field making plays and big hits.

Also peaking at the right time is Chris Roush who is right near the top of leading the team in tackles along with hard hitting Cole Septer, Drew Anstead, and Cal Barrett. The defensive backs are led by Lawrence Buckley and the eagle-eyed Patrick Bertoni who leads the team in interceptions.

The Bulldogs defense has only allowed 121 points all season with a majority of those coming in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. In their first playoff game, the defense gave up minus 26 rushing yards on 29 carries against Vicksburg.

“Our defense has been really well as of late and we’ve been doing a great job of stopping the run and I believe we are hitting our peak right now on the d-line,” Said Frazier. “We know this is going to be a battle but we will bring our A game no matter what.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs are led by quarterback Jack Bush, who helped lead his team to the state championship last year. Bush excelled in the semi-final game between these two teams last year.Bush has had an outstanding all-conference season this year throwing for over  1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns through the air while getting  7 scores on the ground, all mainly in the first half of games. Bush can beat you with his arm and legs and has a great field presence and awareness.

Helping Bush out in the backfield is running back Gus Reynolds who is closing in on 900 yards this season and has 17 scores and a 7 yard per carry average. Opening the holes for Reynolds and protecting Bush is a big, solid offensive line anchored by Preston Ewald, Connor Christian, Andrew Klink, Patrick Conlin III, and many other valuable players that can rotate in and out of the game.

The Bulldogs have an arsenal of weapons for Bush to get the ball to with receivers Bryce Jubenville, Thomas Steele, Chris Roush, and his big tight end Alex Vasquez. Then there is the multi-purpose player Cam Cooper who fields punts and kick returns, plays receiver, running back, and will shut down another teams receiver as a defensive back. Cooper leads all Bulldog receivers with 500 yards  and has 9 touchdowns this season.

The Bulldogs know this is going to be a big battle and the key is to get out to an early lead. There also has to be discipline and try to play mistake-free football. It’s going to be a big fight between two really great teams but only one can be the victor and move on in the playoffs and Chelsea is looking to be the one and get that district title trifecta.

 

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Chelsea Claims SEC White with big victory over Ypsilanti 42-18

 

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Cam Cooper defends himself on a big run. Cooper had 100 yards on the ground and 69 yards through the air for the Bulldogs. 

 

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.

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Chelsea Dominates Dexter 33-6

 

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Gus Reynolds dives into the end zone for one of his 3 touchdowns on the night

 

Chelsea hosted rival Dexter on Friday night and it didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to show why they have dominated this series for 21 years in a row.

The Bulldogs sent Dexter home with a 33-6 loss.

On Dexter’s third play from scrimmage, a strong Bulldog defense forced a fumble, which was recovered by Cal Barret. On Chelsea’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback Jack Bush threw a beautiful pass to Cam Cooper for a Bulldog 14-yard score. This gave the Chelsea fans and student section, adorned in black for a black out, something to cheer about early on, and they didn’t let up from there.

The Bulldogs defense was outstanding not giving Dexter any opportunities at all. After a quick 3-and-out Chelsea moved the ball down the field behind some great blocking and running and on fourth-and-1 from the 5-yard line Gus Reynolds blasted it into the end zone.

Reynolds wasn’t done for the night either, as he would score two more times in the first half on runs of 24 and 3 yards. Reynolds would finish with 81 yards on 12 carries for the night.

After taking a 27-0 lead into the half, the Bulldogs came back onto the field after a great performance by the Chelsea band. The Chelsea defense kept putting pressure on Dexter all night. Travis Frazier, who returned to Chelsea for his senior season after playing in 2015 for Jackson Lumen Christi, led the Bulldogs with 2 sacks and 3 tackles.

Cash Shegan, Cal Barrett, and Braden Steele each finished with 4 tackles while Owen Nikischer had two tackles and a sack.

In the second half, Head Coach Brad Bush made many substitutions, getting some of the younger players more experience. With time running out in the third, it was Barrett getting some offensive time and running the ball in for a hard-fought 14-yard touchdown run, putting the finishing touches on a hard hitting game.

Bush was 9 for 12 on the night for 120 yards and a touchdown. Alex Vasquez led the Bulldog receivers with 45 yards. The Chelsea defense held Dexter to 103 total yards offense and allowed only a net total of 8 yards rushing.

“It was a great victory for the team and for the fans,” said senior defensive back Cole Septer. “It was great to see all the younger guys get in there to play. Now we just need to get ready and focus on the next game.”

The next game will be Friday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at Lincoln.

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