On a night honoring all their seniors in front of a packed crowd, the Chelsea Bulldogs did not disappoint as they rolled over the visiting Alpena Wildcats 42-7. The Bulldogs, who were playing the Wildcats for the first time in their history put on an impressive show on defense and offense as they gained momentum as they begin the playoffs next week.
Alpena drove down the field on the first drive of the game using their power run game but had to settle for a field goal attempt. But Ronnie Buford wasn’t about to have that in his house on senior night as he shot the gap and using his 6-foot 5-inch frame the Western University commit made an impressive block. Buford had an outstanding night on defense as he finished the night with 8 total tackles with 1 for a loss in limited playing time.
The Bulldogs took over at the 16-yard line and drove the ball 84 yards downfield as quarterback Thomas Steele finished the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run capitalized by a diving second attempt to break the goal line for the score.
The Bulldog defense came up big on the next drive for the Wildcats as Blake Engler forced a fumble near midfield which was recovered by Dion Mite. 3 plays later on a bit of trickery it was Hunter Neff throwing a perfect 51-yard pass to Aiden Chisholm for the Bulldog score and two touchdown lead.
Again the Bulldog defense went to work and forced another fumble recovered by Garrett Steele. Again the offense drove fast and furious and Steele scored on the keeper from 11 yards out, on a beautiful run seamlessly moving through defenders. The Bulldogs would take a 21-0 lead into the halftime.
After an impressive halftime show by the 146 member marching band and the honoring of their many seniors, the Bulldogs went back to work. Alpena was able to drive down the field and get on the board as Logan Guthrie would score from a yard out to cut the Bulldog lead to 14.
The Bulldogs would drive down the field and answer the Wildcats score with an Aaron McDaniels score. Kyle Knight and Quinn Starkey would also score for the Bulldogs on runs in the 4th quarter to give the Bulldogs a huge 42-7 victory.
“This was a good team win for us,” Thomas Steele stated after the game. ” The o-line is stepping up big. This is a good way to go into the playoffs, I feel really good about that.”
The defense has stepped up big all year and tonight was no different as they held Alpena to 233 total yards of offense and forced 5 turnovers. 4 fumbles forced with recoveries by Mite, Garrett Steele, Kyle Simmerman, and Jake Seitz and 1 interception by Quentin Beck. Owen Nikischer hit double digits in total tackles with 11, while Garrett Steele had 8, Gus Reynolds had 5, 1 sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, Engler had 5 tackles and a sack and a tackle for loss also.
“The emotion right now, knowing many other schools on Monday will be turning in equipment, and we still have the opportunity to keep playing is just great,” Ronnie Buford said after the game. “It’s senior night, lots of emotions, it’s just a great victory, a great feeling.”
McDaniels led the Bulldogs with 63 yards on the ground as Thomas Steele was near perfect in passing with 75 yards. Neff led the receivers with 3 catches and 43 yards.
As is customary after every game Chelsea Head Coach gathered his gridiron warriors around him after the game and addressed them. He told them “how proud he was of them and that this season is over and a new one begins next Friday night. It’s the games in November you will remember”
Chelsea will host Milan in a rematch of their first game of the season, which the Bulldogs won 27-7. Kickoff is at 7 P.M.