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Chelsea Defense Comes Up Big In 10-7 Comeback Victory Over Pinckney

 

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Chelsea Sophomore Garrett Steele wraps up Pinckney’s back in the first quarter

It was fourth and short again for the Chelsea Bulldogs. They were too far away from the end zone for a field goal and yet too close for a punt and needed a score, down 7-0 with time winding down. Bulldog quarterback Thomas Steele rolled out to his left and threw a quick pass to his receiver Hunter Neff who had no chance at the reception as he was draped and held by the Pinckney defender. This was the second time on the night this had happened to the Bulldogs and Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush was livid at the lack of the call. But this was how Chelsea’s night was going. Try as they might, they just weren’t getting the calls and things weren’t going their way offensively.

The Pirates, who are back in the Southeast Conference White Division, were playing the Bulldogs for the first time in 19 years. They came into the game off a big victory over Ypsilanti Lincoln. Pinckney boasts a lot of size up front on both sides of the ball. And they used that to their advantage right away as the drove down the field on their first possession after kickoff, a drive that took only 4 minutes and moved 69 yards capped off by a Levi Collins touchdown run.

The Bulldog defense gathered off the field and proudly proclaimed that this was “their house and that the Pirates weren’t going to score again!” And they kept their word.

While the Bulldog offense just couldn’t get the running game going (just 64 yards on the night), the defense played true to their word keeping the Bulldogs in the game. Led by Sophomore Garret Steele’s team leading 9 tackles (.5 for loss), Owen Nikischer’s 8, Braden Steele’s 7, and Western Michigan commit Ronnie Bufords 8 tackles with 3 sacks the Bulldog defense was relentless.
“Our defense played extremely well tonight,” Coach Bush stated after the game. “They kept us in this game, they never gave up, and they gave us every chance to win. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

And it was the defense who forced a fumble with Patrick Bertoni returning it 23 yards for the Bulldogs. But again the drive would stall. After another great Quentin Beck punt (48.3 average on the night), the Pirates were backed up on their own end. They had tried a fake field goal earlier which the Bulldogs thwarted and this time on a fourth a 1 they tried a fake punt with punter Levi Collins running right but the defense swarmed him and Pinckney lost 3 yards on the play giving the Bulldogs the ball on the Pinckney 48 yard line with just a little over 5 minutes left in the game and down by a touchdown.

The Bulldogs offense moved the ball with a couple short runs by Aaron McDaniels and on third and long, Steele, under a lot of pressure as he rolled to his left launched a perfect 33-yard strike to the speedster Aiden Chisholm who made a fantastic catch over Pinckney’s Nolan Houghteling for the score! Cullen Lindsy kicked the extra point to tie the game.

“It felt amazing to make that catch for my team late in the game,” Chisholm excitedly said. “It was an even better throw by Thomas (Steele) under pressure. That game meant a lot to the team and to be able to help them win it was something I’m never going to forget!”

Cullen’s kickoff went deep to the Pirates right side where the kick returner dropped the ball then tried to run behind a wall towards his own sideline but the Bulldogs grabbed him early and forced a fumble which the Pirates recovered. The Pirates were pinned deep in their own territory at their own 8-yard line with just over 2 minutes to go in the game.

The Bulldogs forced a 3 and out and as the Pirate punter Collins got the kick away two Bulldogs were able to get their hands on it deflecting it and Chelsea took over at the Pirate 24 yard line with plenty of time for them to move the ball closer to a game winning score.

Chelsea ran the ball conservatively and was faced with another fourth down. This time Coach Bush called on his kicker Lindsay to do his thing. Lindsay in only his first year ever kicking in football made the 32 yard 3 pointer with ease and then some to give the Bulldogs a 10-7 lead with little time left in front of a large, excited home crowd.  The defense did the rest as the Pirates tried to run sideline out routes but ran out of timeouts and time as the Bulldog faithful erupted in joy after watching one of the most exciting comeback victories in Chelsea history.

“It’s just like soccer to me,” Lindsay explained when called upon to make the big kick for the lead and the eventual victory. “I’ve been in front of crowds before, I just went with it. I did what I had to do, just went out there and executed. I’m so pumped, I’m happy for the team to get the victory.”

“We’ve never had a soccer style kicker before,” Coach Bush said about his kickers game winning field goal. “But he’s used to competing and he’s a calm, laid back guy. I felt good about it the whole time.”

The Bulldogs were outgained in yardage overall by the Pirates especially in the running game. The Pirates Collins had 118 grounds on the ground while their quarterback Wurzer was 14 for 22 for 121 yards. Steele led the Bulldogs through the air with very similar stats, going 11 of 17 for 147 yards. The big difference was Steele’s touchdown pass late in the game.

“That’s a good football team, a really good football team,” Coach Bush said of the Pirates. “I felt they outplayed us for about 3 1/2 quarters. Our defense made great plays for us, came up big. Pinckney is a great defensive team but I think we need to go back and look at our offense, I was a little disappointed with our production on offense tonight, but in the same sense, we found a way to win the game.”

“We really stepped up tonight with our defense,” Bulldog defensive end Ronnie Buford said. “They came out strong, they got us on the first drive, but we came up big after that. I feel amazing, amazing, this was a great team win.”

Chelsea will get back to work after the long labor day holiday weekend as they start school on the 5th and will be hosting  Ypsilanti Lincoln on Friday the 8th. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Lincoln will come in looking for their first victory of the season while Chelsea remains undefeated at 2-0 (1-0 in Conference)

 

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Chelsea’s Patrick Bertoni Locking The D Backfield Down

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When opposing quarterbacks line up against Chelsea, they look over the defense and look to see where number 17 is. And then they change up their play. Because Chelsea Defensive Back Patrick Bertoni plays the position like a pro. He covers well, he hits hard, he jumps routes, and he picks off passes.

Bertoni, who has been playing organized football since 7th grade,  had the rarity of starting every game for the 11-1 Bulldogs in 2016 and had 6 interceptions earning him honorable mention on the all SEC team. Quarterbacks learned right away not to throw his way and receivers would try to run away from him.

“I’m really excited for my senior season and I’m hoping to have an even better season this year,” Bertoni said.

Bertoni is very involved as he is participating in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), National Honor Society (NHS), Orchestra, student council, St. Mary youth group, and is a student liaison to the school board. He also starts on the Chelsea basketball varsity team.

“I like playing both sports (football and basketball) and I can’t decide which one I like better,” Bertoni states. “I’m a better person for playing them and I can’t say enough great things about the guys on my teams.”

When Bertoni does get the spare time he likes to spend it with those people that are close to him. He enjoys doing puzzles, going camping, and listening to music. He plans on attending the University of Michigan after he graduates.

“I would like to thank all my family, my teammates, and my coaches for helping me be the person I am today,” Bertoni said. “But most of all I’d like to thank God for all he has blessed me with.”

Patrick is the son of Rob and Sue Bertoni and he has an older brother Daniel, and two older sisters, Colleen and Kelly.

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Chelsea’s Gus Reynolds Looking To Bust Out In 2017

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Chelsea’s Gus Reynolds stiff arms a Gabriel Richard Defender

Chelsea’s tailback Gus Reynolds had a breakout year in 2016 sharing the backfield with some talented teammates but he still managed to gain over 1,000 yards rushing on only 157 carries, giving him almost 6.5 yards a carry. When Gus’s number 10 was called he never let the team or the fans down always pushing his way to the sticks or the end zone. In fact, he made 19 trips there for the Bulldogs, placing him 4th all-time in Bulldog history on the touchdown list.

“I’m really looking forward to this season,” Reynolds stated. “I think our team is looking great this season. We have a lot of depth and we can use that to our advantage. Plus we have a lot of guys coming back with a lot of playoff experience.”

Reynolds has spent a lot of time in the off season working out and getting stronger for the 2017 season. His goals are to be bigger, stronger, and faster and to smash the 1,000-yard mark again and do whatever it takes him to do to help lead his team to victory.

Reynolds, or the Gus Bus as his friends and fans call him, has been playing football for the last 6 years as well as wrestling. In wrestling, he placed 6th in States. But football is his first love.

“I really enjoy playing football,” Reynolds said. “I like it because I find it more fun and and I also like not having to starve myself during the season.”

The Bulldog players, their fans, and the community always have high expectations and a positive attitude when it comes to their sports, especially the football team. After all, Chelsea has been in the playoffs 17 of the last 18 years and going for their fourth district title in a row. And in 2016 they battled in the Class B state Championship game.

“That has to be my favorite football memory ever, going to Ford Field,” Reynolds reminisced.

Reynolds is just like any other teenager. He works at Los Tres Amigos and likes to spend his spare time playing his Xbox 0ne, skiing, and just hanging out with his friends. But he is also getting ready for his future.

“I plan to go to college after High School, but not sure where yet,” says Reynolds. “I’m hoping to play football in college and hopefully I get some offers. But what matters most to me is the success of my team!”

Gus’ parents are Mike and Joanne and he has a brother Mitchell. Chelsea opens the season this Friday on the road against Milan.

 

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Chelsea Football’s James Mida Ready For The Trenches

 

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James Mida leaps to hit the banner pre-game 

Many football pundits are saying that the linemen for the Chelsea football team this season are deep and might be among the best group of players ever. And anchoring that line will be Senior James Mida, who mainly plays defensive end, but can play offense and like a Swiss army knife, he can and will do it all. He will do whatever his coaches ask of him and whatever it takes to help his team, like all the defensive linemen on the team.

 

“We have what we think is the most athletic defense to come through in a while,” Mida excitedly proclaims. “I mean, I think the team looks great! The Offense looks really good from what I’ve seen, very balanced. There is a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.”

Mida, like most Chelsea athletes, is a multi-sport participant. He wrestles, does track and field, and archery (but not with his school).  He also plays baritone in the marching band. He loves each sport he performs with equally because they all complement each other for him.

“I love the team and family environment of football,” Mida explains. “I love the conditioning and physicality of wrestling, and I love track because it is the sport I can  relax with and heal up any injuries I might have acquired in my other sports.”

Mida lived in Ann Arbor for the first ten years of his life so when he moved to Chelsea it was a big change for him. Not only was it a smaller city, he noticed right away how it was a much closer community. He wasn’t used to living in a place where everyone cared for each other and looked out for each other.

“That’s why I love football like a family,” Mida explains. “We’re like a band of brothers, like Chelsea. We all feed off each other, thrive off each other, look out for each other. It’s amazing how everyone on the team looks out for one another.”

Mida knows the expectations are always high for the Bulldogs, with their great record of District Championships, undefeated seasons, and a trip to the state championship game in 2015. And that’s where the C9 program comes in Head Coach Brad Bush and his staff are encouraging.

“To be successful we all need to live up to C9, where every unit matters and helps the other,” Mida said. “I have no doubt we will do more than just buy into the program, but we will make it succeed, on and off the field.”

In his spare time, when he ever finds any, he likes to watch youtube and Netflix videos, play video games, lift, practice for any sport he is playing, and eat. He also works on a farm baling hay with his close friend Zack Taylor.

 

As he enters his senior season, Mida hopes to earn a scholarship by playing his heart out in any sport he does. He’d like to go into law enforcement after High School, or possibly teaching. And then there is the possibility of enlisting in the United States Armed Forces.

Mida is the son of Robbie Hinsman, Rob Elie, and he has 2 sisters Mary Mida and Amarah Hinsman. He also has two close friends that live with his family, Danny Nelson and Brian Vannewkirk.

As he steps out on the field after practice Mida begins to reflect on his senior football season.

“We’ve worked hard, all of us,” Mida states. “I’m very happy on this field. It’s a great place to play, the fans, the coaches, the players. Now it’s time to make our hard work pay off and us seniors can go out with a bang or a whimper. And we all know Bulldogs don’t whimper!”

 

 

 

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Chelsea Football Has New Gunslinger In Town

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Chelsea’s Thomas Steele prepares to throw a pass in a scrimmage  

Chelsea High School has had its fair share of great quarterbacks over the years including Cameron Hawkins, George Royce, Chris Brigham, and last years All State selection Jack Bush. All hold their places firmly in the record books.  Looking to add his name to that select group of Chelsea all time greats this year is Thomas Steele.

Steele will be set up behind center this season and is looking forward to it and will be following a legacy of Steeles who quarterbacked the Bulldogs, his father Tucker on the 1990 team and his Uncle Pat on the 1993 team. Steele has a team first mentality and a winning attitude.  Steele has been playing football competitively since he was in the 7th grade and he likes to compete and win in any sport he plays, whether it’s ice hockey or baseball. And his most favorite sport is the one he is playing at any given time.

“It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of my dad and uncle,” says Steele. “It’s a great tradition I’m proud to be a part of.”

Steele brings skill, intelligence, and leadership to any sport he plays. He puts in lots of time on the field receiving instructions from his Head Coach Brad Bush and his other coaches while trying to help lead some of the younger less experienced players. The Bulldogs are coming off two spectacular seasons including playing in the 2015 State Championship game at Ford Field in Detroit. Steele feels the team can build on that and keep moving forward.

“I really believe that our success as a team will depend on the amount of time and hard work each one of us puts in,” stated Steele.

When Steele isn’t on the field he is hunting, fishing, or spending time with his family. His family is very important to him and although this will be his last year playing sports for Chelsea, he is really looking forward to it and the opportunities it brings.

“It’s my last year which is kind of sad but I’m really happy about going on the field and getting to play out there and compete with my little brother Garrett,” said Steele. “Also, my cousin Braden is on the team so this will be a really extra special season.”

Steele works for the family business when not competing in sports, Steele Heating And Cooling of Chelsea. He also works at the Dexter Cider Mill. He is unsure of his future plans but that may change depending on how his sports seasons go. Thomas is the son of Tucker and Gretchen Steele and has 3 siblings, Savannah, Garrett, and Caden.

The Bulldogs open the season August 25th at Milan.

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Chelsea Reloads For 2017 Football Season

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Head Coach Brad Bush talks with his skill players during throwing scrimmage

It’s almost the end of summer and back to school for the kids and that brings with it football! With almost 8 million high school kids playing sports in the USA, the most popular by far is 11 player football, with over 1.1 million kids participating. It is what pulls people and communities together. It brings people of all different classes, gender, and races together. The future players watching the game in the stands or playing in a grassy spectator area, the former players coming out to cherish their memories and cheer for the gridiron warriors of their beloved alumni. The cheerleaders getting the crowd revved up by getting the defense chant going, the student section packed with screaming girls cheering for their boyfriends and classmates and holding signs, the band performing the fight song while the flag girls twirl their hardware in synchronicity. The smell of popcorn and hot beverages being brewed waft through the crisp fall air. And the crowd in all its glory decked out in their home teams colors, being as loud and proud as they can be. And nowhere is that more prevalent than the city of Chelsea.

The Bulldogs have a rich history of football. They are 2 years removed from playing in the state championship game at Ford Field and last year came up just a 2 point conversion short of winning Regionals. The Bulldogs have 1 AP State Championship, 22 SEC Conference championships, 9 perfect 9-0 seasons, 7 District Championships, and 1 Regional Championship. The Bulldogs have only missed the playoffs once this century. And they are looking to reload and win again with their local homegrown talent as they go for their fourth straight District title.

“The 2017 slogan for the Bulldogs is C9 because we are trying to develop leadership and camaraderie within each unit,” Head Coach Brad Bush stated. “If the 4 groups on Offense and Defense and special teams work together we could be a good team.”

And Bush definitely knows football as he enters his 21st season as Bulldogs Head Coach. The award winning coach played quarterback for the Cornell Big Red from 88-90 and was a part of thei  88 Ivy League Championship team. He has assembled a great group of coaches on his staff and they have remained intact for several years.

“I appreciate the loyalty and hard work of our staff every year,” says Bush. “We are very fortunate to remain mostly the same from the past few years.  There are a few position changes but mostly everything remains the same.”

One thing that does change every year is the players. The Bulldogs graduated seven players on offense who received SEC White all-conference honors and six on defense, but still are the early favorites to repeat as league champions. All State Quarterback Jack Bush has graduated and will begin his playing career at Hope College while defensive star Travis Frazier takes his size and strength to Ferris State University. This leaves many gaps to fill but the Bulldogs find a way.

“We have a large senior class (38 players) and 71 on the team,” said Bush. “I think we have a lot of guys that will contribute.  Our depth will be a great strength of the team.”
A few key players returning will be Thomas Steele stepping up in place of Jack Bush at the quarterback position. He has some big shoes to fill as Bush has placed himself firmly in the Bulldogs passing records finishing in the top 3 in every category. But Steele is as solid as his last name represents and is more than ready to compete, looking solid in practices and scrimmages this summer. Coming back for his senior year is Gus Reynolds at the running back position. Reynolds had a great junior season carrying the ball 157 times and reaching the end zone 16 times. Other key offensive returners are Jeret Hirst, Hunter Neff, and Rafe Reyes.
On the defensive side of the ball, Patrick Bertoni returns after a stellar season in the defensive backfield and has had an outstanding scrimmage and practice season. Ronnie Buford, the former quarterback from Ann Arbor, made the transition to defensive end just fine and had an excellent second half of the season in 2016, earning him an early scholarship to Western Michigan University. Braden Steele brings his speed and skill while James Mida brings his size and strength up front for the Bulldogs. It’s very apparent that senior Owen Nikischer has been hitting the weights as he is bigger and much stronger than last season and he has done a great job of taking command and helping the many underclassmen in training camp and instructing them. He will be doing his talking on the field with his hard hitting at his middle linebacker position again this season.
The Bulldogs have a very tough schedule playing some highly skilled teams and playing several teams that made the playoffs last season and a few teams that were just one game away from making it. They open up play on August 25th on the road against Milan then come home to face an old foe that has now rejoined their conference, the Pinckney Pirates. Both teams made the playoffs last year and return many outstanding players. The Bulldogs round out their schedule at home against a team they have never faced before, Alpena.
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Chelsea To Promote 1991 Championship Baseball Team With Heart For The Game Movie

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Chelsea’s 1991 Championship Baseball Team (Photo by Brian Hamilton)

According to fans around the state, Chelsea’s 1991 baseball team is the greatest team in Michigan prep sports history! Earlier this year Mlive had a fan vote and the Bulldogs team came in first overwhelmingly with 40,500 votes, almost 37% of all votes. And now they are being honored with a locally produced feature film called “Heart for the Game”.

Their feature premiere will be a red carpet gala event at the Chelsea High School Auditorium (740 North Freer Road) on Saturday, August 19th from 7-9 P.M. The family friendly event is free and is intended to bring the community together to celebrate the events of athletics, past and present. Donations will be accepted at the door with 100% of the proceeds going to the Chelsea Athletic Boosters and will be earmarked for their project to construct new athletic display cases near the gymnasium.

The movie is a Video Farm documentary directed by Robert Coelius and produced by Kerry and Theresa Plank. It is a ’30 for 30’ style full-length feature documenting the 1991 State Championship baseball team. Key participants and witnesses recall the events of a unique and historic baseball team 25 years later. The team overcame adversity on and off the field and won 11 of 33 games when tied or losing in the final at-bat. The team beat the #1, #4, and #2 teams in succession and won the championship game in dramatic come-from-behind fashion.

Appearing in the film are local Chelsea icons, Craig Common (Owner and Chef of the Common Grill), Jeff Daniels (Actor who has appeared in many movies including Blood Work with Clint Eastwood and Pleasantville and also the founder of the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea), Howdy Holmes (President and CEO of Jiffy Mix in Chelsea and former Indy driver), and Chelsea Mayor Jason Lindauer to name a few. 

The Bulldogs a had a knack for making late-game comebacks in that miraculous season. Of the team’s 33 victories in 1991, 13 were in the Bulldogs’ last at-bat, including the Class B state championship game.

Midland Bullock Creek scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 5-3 lead, but Chelsea rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning. It was the team’s 20th-straight win after beginning the season 13-3.

The Bulldogs had several players move on to play at the next level, led by catcher Adam Taylor, who played at the University of New Mexico before playing three years in the minor leagues, reaching the double-A level.

Pitcher Jake Rindle played at Michigan State and Central Michigan, while Rob Clem moved on to play at Hillsdale College. The pitching duo combined to go 22-1 for the Bulldogs in 1991.

“It was such a great group of guys,” Chelsea coach Wayne Welton said. “We had a 25-year anniversary get-together at my house last summer, and we probably could have gone out and played somebody and won in our last at-bat that day, too. It was such a fun group. I love those guys.”

Key Participants in the film are Welton (former Chelsea baseball coach and former athletic Director), Todd Starkey (1988 CHS Graduate and former coach), and 1991 CHS Graduates Kerry Plank, Tucker Steele, Jude Quilter, Jeremy Stephens, Rick Westcott, Rob Clem, and Craig Ferry. Also featured are 1990 Chelsea graduates Adam Taylor (current Chelsea coach), Ben Hurst, Jake Rindle, Rob Jaques, Jason Adams, and 2001 graduate Molly Welton-Boyle.

The documentary trailer can be found at Chelsea Heart For The Game Movie Trailer

Also for information or to RSVP you can go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/444311302593205?__mref=mb

As of this writing, there are approximately 300 RSVP’s thus far.

 

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The 1991 State Champions at their 25th reunion

 

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