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Chelsea Conquers Milan 23-14 In First Round Of Playoffs

 

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Jacob Grubbs runs for a Chelsea touchdown in the first quarter

 

Fall weather in Chelsea seemed to turn to winter almost overnight as near freezing temperatures embraced the city as the Bulldogs played host to Milan in the first round of the MHSAA football playoffs. A hard, cold rain pelted the football stadium and a heavy, gusting wind didn’t help matters much. But the weather nor the Milan Big Red were no match for Chelsea are they battled and fought their way to a 23-14 victory.

In a rematch of the first game of the season, a 27-7 Chelsea victory at Milan, the Bulldogs got started very quickly as Jacob Grubbs took the opening kickoff 57 yards to give the Bulldogs great field position. Two plays later it was Grubbs catching a pass from Thomas Steele and busting around the outside corner to his right and diving into the end zone as he was flanked by defenders for a big 13-yard score and the early Bulldog lead.

Milan would come back though and drove meticulously down the field before running back  Hunter Aeschbacker would score from 34 yards out. The 2 point conversion try was broken up by Ronnie Buford keeping the Bulldogs up by 1 at the end of the first quarter.

The Bulldogs would drive down the field only to be stopped short of a first down and in spite of the rough weather, called on Cullen Lindsay for the field goal attempt. On a beautiful snap and a perfectly placed ball, Lindsay was able to boot the ball through the uprights for the 33-yard field goal and the 10-6 lead.

Less than two minutes later it would be Milan’s Aeschbacker breaking free for a 50-yard score and with the 2-point conversion it gave the Big Red their first lead of the night, 14-10.

With 50 seconds left before the half and the Bulldogs driving they were faced with a third down and very long situation. Thomas Steele took the snap out of the shotgun and was looking for an open receiver. He found one over the middle with Hunter Neff who dragged defenders into the end zone for a 23-yard score and a 21-14 Chelsea lead.

In the second half, Milan kept the ball on the ground and was trying to get the pressure up front against Chelsea. But time and time again the Bulldogs came up big on third down forcing punts or forcing Milan into 4th down situations which they would attempt three and all three times the Bulldogs defense came up huge making big stops and forcing the turnover on downs.

After a forced fourth down turnover on downs midway through the final stanza, the Bulldogs would drive 69 yards down the field with Thomas Steele being forced out of the pocket under heavy pressure and blazing his way juking defenders for a huge 38-yard Bulldog score and adding a bit of security for the Bulldogs. The kick would be blocked giving the Bulldogs a 23-14 lead and the defense would hold the rest of the way for the big District playoff victory.

“It’s hard to beat a team twice,” Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush would say after the game. “They’re a good team and they had a really good game plan and they had some things go against them, they lost a couple key guys early in the game.”

The Bulldogs were led on offense by Thomas Steele with 73 yards rushing and 100 yards through the air with 2 touchdown passes and 1 scored on the ground.  Grubbs led the receivers with 4 catches and a score while Neff had 3 catches and a score.

On the defensive side of the ball, it was Buford with 8 total tackles, 1 for a loss and 1 pass broken up. Garrett Steele had 7 total tackles and a pass broken up while Gus Reynolds and Riley Lukomski each had 6 total tackles. Owen Nikischer and Dion Mite each had 5.

Chelsea will host River Rouge this Friday at 7 P.M. River Rouge won their playoff game against Flat Rock and is 8-2 on the season. This will be only the second time the teams have ever played.

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Chelsea Wins District Championship

 

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Chelsea Bulldogs, 2017 Class B District Champs 

 

Just like their girl counterparts did a week to the day, the Chelsea boys basketball team entered hostile territory and were able to fight and scrap to a come from behind victory over Onsted, 57-45. Unlike the girls who played near Onsted, this game was on Onsted’s home court in front of a mostly purple and white laden crowd.

Both teams were evenly matched and came out strong and matched each other basket to basket. Just as the buzzer sounded before the half ended, Onsted hit a long 2 point shot to take a 29-27 lead going into the break.

The Bulldogs were not fazed as first-year Head Coach Mark Moundros gave his team a good talk at the half and made some great adjustments. Moundros was very strategic in his substitutions all night long, knowing who to match up with and when.

Chelsea came out strong in the third and took an early lead forcing lots of turnovers and crashing the boards at both ends of the court. Chelsea’s Ronnie Buford came through with some big offense and Chelsea never looked back as they kept increasing their lead. Chelsea held Onsted’s team to only two points in the third as they took a 5 point lead into the fourth.

With 4 minutes left to go Onsted’s star player and top scorer Skyler Lipinski picked up his 5th foul on the night and had to watch from the bench as Chelsea skillfully increased its lead. With his last shot of the night, it was Buford putting the exclamation point on the game with a huge slam dunk in front of the huge,  loyal Bulldog student section.

As the clock wound down to zero the Chelsea players cleared the bench and hugged one another & celebrated their district championship, their first in ten years.

“I’m proud of our seniors, they led us all year and they worked hard for this and I’m proud of them,” Chelsea’s coach Moundros stated as he watched his players celebrate and pose for pictures with the trophy.

“This is a great group of players and we worked incredibly hard this last year,” Matt Klink stated. “As a group, we have faced a lot of adversity but like tonight, we always managed to fight and win. This truly is a family.”

All SEC selection Ryan Mitchel who finished the night with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and several steals was just speechless after the game. “I don’t know what to say, I’ve wanted this since I started playing, it’s a heck of a team.”

“All the way back to last year, I remember our first tournament, I thought nothing could top that, but this honestly has me speechless, coming back from last year, to this, we wanted this more than ever and I’m glad I got to get this w with my boys,” Bryce Jubenville said.

“5 of us got pulled up our sophomore year,” said Al Vazquez. “It’s a great group of guys, this feels pretty good, we worked together and it paid off.”

“This was a great team win, we were down 10 early and we knew that we had to wear them out because their bench was a lot thinner than ours,” Jack Bush stated. “We have 10 guys that we rotate and we did just a great job sticking together and not giving up to compete and finish that game.”

“I’d like to thank the community for all its support,” Ben Kaemming, who hit a couple big 3 point shots, said. “As the senior class, the program was not where we wanted it to be as freshman, but we’ve really turned it around, getting our first district championship in ten years.”

“We came into this team our first year 3-17 but we worked it out and trusted the system year in and year out,” a happy Brady Friss stated. “10 years but we got the district title.”

“It’s so great to be on this team,” an elated Ronnie Buford exclaimed. “To come back and beat Adrian who beat us last year, and this, Onsted is a tough team, we started a bit slow but came back strong in the second half. When Ben (Kaemming) hit the 3 to tie the game up, that was the turning point to me, that was a great 3 in the corner, great leadership by Ben.”  Buford led the Bulldogs with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Chelsea gets the weekend to rest up then travels to Milan to take on River Rouge Monday at 5:30 P.M.

 

 

 

 

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Chelsea Girls Win District Title, Head to Regionals

 

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Chelsea Bulldogs 2017 Class B District Champions

 

The Chelsea Bulldogs girls basketball team took on a very tough Onsted Wildcats team tonight in the District Finals at Columbia Central High School and it was a rough first half for the Bulldogs. Amid some questionable calls, their shots weren’t falling and they just couldn’t get their strong inside game going. But after a good halftime speech from Head Coach Todd Blomquist, they came out in the third on fire, and never looked back on their way to a huge 49-35 victory.

“I’m so excited, I almost cried,” an elated Jesse Jacobusse said. “I think we played pretty bad in the first half but the turning point was the third quarter. But we got rolling and I’m just so happy. This is one of the happiest moments of my life.”

The Bulldogs looked a bit nervous in the first quarter against the evenly matched Wildcats. The Bulldogs tight defense kept them in the game though as they forced a lot of turnovers. In the second as the Wildcats started to slowly creep ahead, Jacobusse finally got a shot to fall and it was a big one as she hit a long 3 to close the gap. The Wildcats went into the halftime break up by 1 and very confident, backed by a large, boisterous crowd.

“I was a bit disappointed with the play in the first half,” Chelsea Coach Blomquist stated. “But the defense kept us in it. We knew what Onsted was going to do but I don’t think we reacted very well. The turning point for us was right off the bat in the third when we got our inside game going and got some good shots to take the lead.”

In the beginning of the third period, Brianna Hay got the go-ahead basket off a steal and the defense stepped up strong forcing bad shots and turnovers. Hay had 3 steals on the night along with Jacobusse to lead the Bulldogs. Sophomore Maddie Vasquez was exceptional in the paint who, along with fellow sophomore Madeleine Kennedy, were able to use their size to build on the Bulldogs lead. The nail in the coffin for Onsted was when Jacobusse hit a long distance bank shot for three as the buzzer sounded giving the Bulldogs an 8 point lead at the end of the third.

In the fourth, the small in number but large in spirit Chelsea faithful kept cheering their girls on knowing that the outcome was evident as the clock ticked closer and closer to a Chelsea victory. Onsted was forced to foul sending the Bulldogs to the line where they made them pay. With time running out Coach Blomquist subbed in Sara Stribe and Kylie Kuebler so he had all 4 of his seniors on the court. As the clock counted down to zero the Chelsea bench erupted with joy as the young team accomplished something many pundits had said could never happen.

“I’m beyond words, I can’t even explain it, we’ve worked so hard to get this and it feels so good,” an ecstatic Nicole Bareis happily exclaimed, with tears almost in her eyes. “Coach told us at half-time we had to pick up our offense and we did. It really turned around. We scouted their team and we were pretty confident but they’re a great team. I think we were a bit nervous in the first period.”

“This is our 10th district title since 2000 when  I started,” said the veteran coach Blomquist. “Every team is different, we’re a very young team, and this is great.”

The young team stepped up big as Vasquez had 3 points but was big on the boards with 7 rebounds and had 3 blocked shots. Hay and Jacobusse finished with 10 points while Bareis got a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

“I have never been on a team that is so close,” Bareis said. “I would not trade this team for anything, I love them all!”

“My team, I love my team soooo much,” Jacobusse said making sure to stress the so. “To share this moment like this, it’s never good unless it’s with the right people and it’s definitely the right people. ”

Chelsea will look to keep their 10 game winning streak going as the Regionals head home for them on Tuesday where they will take on  Dearborn Henry Ford who defeated Grosse Isle in their final game tonight. Game time is 5:30 at the Chelsea High School Gym.

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Chelsea Girls Advance to District Finals

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Chelsea’s Katelyn McKinley splits the Eagles defense for a shot

After a tough outing Monday night, the Chelsea Bulldogs came out strong tonight against the Columbia Central Eagles starting the game with a 13-1 run en route to a big 41-24 victory advancing them to the Class B District Finals.

Chelsea’s Jesse Jacobusse celebrated her 18th birthday by leading her team in scoring with 14. She also had 3 assist, 2 steals, and 5 rebounds.

“I’m very excited,” the birthday girl Jacobusse said happily. “Monday’s game, we were very nervous, but tonight we played with more confidence. Our defense was very solid. That was the major difference in the games.”

The Bulldogs came out on fire, rolling to an early lead the Eagles could never come back from. The Bulldogs were solid all over the court and played a very stifling defense forcing errant passes and turnovers.”

“I thought our defense was definitely the big factor in tonight’s game,” Chelsea head coach Todd Blomquist stated. “We played much better tonight and I’m real happy for the girls.”

Blomquist is trying to win his 10th district final in his 18th year of coaching. If Chelsea wins Friday evening then they head to their home court to host regionals. In a very classy move near the end of the game, he emptied the bench and gave everyone a chance to play.

“I’ve been a part of a district final but I was just a sophomore so I didn’t get a chance to play,” Jacobusse said. “I feel really good to be a part of this and am hoping we can do it, it will be a great thing for us and for me to be a part of it.”

The Eagles came close to getting back in the game in the second half but too many turnovers and Chelsea’s speed was hard to contend with. Nicole Bareis finished the night in a great defensive effort for the Bulldogs with 8 rebounds and 3 steals while Madeleine Kennedy had a steal and had two big blocked shots. Helena Schultz finished with 8 while freshman Riley Davis earned lots of playing time by sinking 2 big 3 point shots finishing with 8 total on the night and 6 rebounds.

Chelsea will face Onsted in Brooklyn at 7:00 p.m. in the finals.

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Chelsea comes From Behind To Defeat Tecumseh

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Chelsea’s Jesse Jacobusse drives the lane in the first quarter

The drive began in the girls district tournament for Chelsea tonight, as they took on the Tecumseh Indians at Columbia Central High School in Brooklyn. Chelsea came from behind and battled back strong in the fourth quarter scoring the last 9 points of the game to defeat the Indians 32-29.

Both teams started slow, possibly nervous it seemed as in the first quarter there was not much scoring at all. Tecumseh played a stifling defense not allowing Chelsea to get their inside game rolling. At the half, it was a very low scoring 13-11 lead for the Bulldogs. In the third, the Indians exploded right away to take the lead on several inside shots. While Chelsea was getting good reads and shots, they just couldn’t get them to fall.

Bulldog senior Jesse Jacobusse hit a big three point shot to keep the Bulldogs close but then the Indians built their lead back up as they hit a shot at the buzzer to take a 6 point lead into the final stanza.

But the Bulldogs played their normal style of strong defense and forced several turnovers and bad shots and they took advantage of them. With 25 seconds left in the game, the Bulldogs sophomore Helena Schultz scored inside and was fouled to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game since the very beginning. After she hit her free throw Chelsea forced another turnover and Tecumseh had no choice but to foul to send the Bulldogs to the line in hopes of getting a missed free throw and rebound.

And that happened as with 5 seconds left the Indians quickly moved the ball upcourt but the long distance 3 was short giving the Bulldogs the hard fought for victory.

Jacobusse led the Bulldogs in scoring with 11 points while Schultz finished the night with 8. Nicole Bareis played a solid defensive game forcing errant passes and shots and finished the night with 8 rebounds.

The Bulldogs will play Columbia Central in round 2 Wednesday at 5:30 in Brooklyn.

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Chelsea Girls Looking To Make Big Run In Playoffs

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Sophomore Helena Schultz scores earlier in the season

Throw all the stats out the window, the records too. It’s the beginning of the girls basketball district tournament and the 15-5 Chelsea Bulldogs are looking to keep their 8 game win streak going strong. They will tip off against Tecumseh in the first round at Columbia Central High in Brooklyn Monday night at 7:00 P.M.

At the beginning of the season,  many so-called pundits didn’t expect the young Bulldogs to do very well this season. After graduating 6 girls from last year’s district runner-up, many thought it would be a rebuild season but the Bulldogs have proved everyone wrong.

Although they only have 4 seniors, the Bulldogs have gelled together very well. Senior starters Jesse Jacobusse and Nicole Bareis have really stepped up to lead the way. Jacobusse is a feisty competitor who will do anything it takes to help her team win. And Bareis is the top rebounder on the team and is a strong battler.The team has plenty of depth going in the playoffs and for the first time in many years has plenty of size and height. Sophomore Maddie Vasquez and Freshman sensation Riley Davis both stand nearly 6 feet tall and have seen much playing time throughout the season. The Bulldogs are deep off the bench also and with 18 year veteran Head Coach Todd Blomquist making substitutions at the right time and matching up against the other teams  they have faced, it appears Chelsea could go far.

The only downfall to this confident, well balanced team might be it’s youth and inexperience. The playoffs are a whole other level, just like playing on varsity. The Bulldogs have 5 underclassmen on the team but all can perform above the average level and have seen much playing time. If the Bulldogs play up to their talent level, then this could be their year!

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Chelsea Loses Heartbreaker In District Finals

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Senior Collin Steinhauer puts up a three

Friday evening in Chelsea, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard’s basketball team was looking to avenge a 10 point loss earlier in the season to the Chelsea Bulldogs. But the Bulldogs were looking to win their first District Championship in the last 9 years. Both teams entered the game with similar defensive styles and it showed right away. From the tip off you could see it was going to be a tight battle.

Senior Collin Steinhauer hit a big 3 in the first to give Chelsea their first lead of the game and then with the game tied with time running out just before the half Junior Ryan Mitchell put up a 3 that went off the rim but Steinhauer used his size and strength to put the ball up and in off the rebound at the buzzer to send the Bulldogs into halftime with a 23-21 lead.

In the third Mitchell caught fire and was hitting shots from all over the court but the Fighting Irish of Gabriel Richard matched the shots basket for basket. Entering the 4th with the Bulldogs up by 1 both teams tightened up their defenses and points were hard to come by but fouls weren’t. The Fighting Irish took the early lead but Mitchell made a beautiful move and tied it up. With the game tied at 41 with under a minute to play Chelsea held the ball for the last shot but with 31 seconds left the Fighting Irish rebounded a missed free throw and moved the ball up court quickly. With less than 10 seconds left Gabriel Richard’s Anthony Valenti put up a shot that went off the far rim and out of the scrum for the rebound, it was the Fighting Irish’s Nick Houle who was in the right place at the right time who put it back up and in. As the shot went in the enthusiastic Gabriel Richard student section went crazy and the Chelsea fans let out a simultaneous gasp. After a timeout, with 4.5 seconds on the clock, Chelsea inbounded the ball and rapidly got the ball upcourt for a Steinhauer shot at the buzzer but it bounced off the rim giving Gabriel Richard the hard fought 43-41 victory and their first District Title since 2012.

Senior forward/guard Joe Chavey led Gabriel Richard with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds. Donnie Edwards, also a senior, had eight points and five rebounds for the Fighting Irish.

Chelsea was led by Mitchell with  13 points and 4 rebounds. Senior Ethan French finished with 12 points, while Steinhauer finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds. Senior Trevor Kingsley had 5 points, 2 rebounds, and a blocked shot.

Chelsea Head Coach Josh Tropea inherited a 5 win and 37 loss team 2 years ago and has done a tremendous job turning the team around. He has brought a positive outlook to the team teaching the boys to believe in themselves and the team. Chelsea finished the season with a 16-6 record and they will be bringing back 8 juniors to its team next season and will be looking to build on this past season’s success.

Gabriel Richard will move on to the Regional round of play and face River Rouge at 5:30 Monday at Dundee.

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