sports

New Michigan High School Fall Rule Changes

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Aug. 3 – A pair of football rules changes taking effect this season builds on continuing work to minimize health risks in all interscholastic sports as 2017-18 fall practices begin next week for member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).

The first major rule change is to the allowable level of contact on a blindside block in football which is aimed at increasing player safety. A blindside block involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration (for example, while following a ball carrier on a kickoff return), is vulnerable to injury by a block coming from outside his field of vision. Blindside blocks now must be initiated with open hands only; blindside contact that is forceful and initiated with other parts of the body outside of the free blocking zone will be penalized as excessive and unnecessary.

In addition to redefining the blindside block, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) sought to also minimize risk by eliminating the pop-up kick – that is, any free kick during which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, causing it to bounce only once and into the air similar to the flight of a ball kicked directly off the tee. Kicks off a tee that bounce multiple times and then pop into the air remain allowed.

A few other notable rules changes in football will be apparent this fall:

  • A defensive player will be called for encroachment for striking the offensive snapper’s hand or arm, or the ball, prior to the snapper releasing the ball to begin a play.
  • Non-contact face guarding is no longer considered pass interference.
  • A team accepting a penalty during the final two minutes of either half now will have the option of re-starting the clock at the snap of the ball rather than the referee’s ready-for-play signal.

While most fall sports face at least minor rules changes this season, a few more of the most noticeable adjustments will come in boys soccer and girls swimming & diving.

  • In boys soccer, overtime periods and shootouts during the regular season have been eliminated. Leagues and conferences are allowed an overtime option for their end-of-season bracketed tournaments, but overtime in those cases must not exceed two 10-minute periods plus a shootout. Multi-team regular-season tournaments also may receive waivers to employ a shootout if it is used to determine the winner of a game.
  • Also in soccer, kickoffs may now travel in any direction from the center of the field. Previously, kickoffs at the high school level were required to move forward down the field of play.
  • In girls swimming & diving, a diver will need only four regular-season wins (instead of the previous five) to qualify for the Regional Diving Qualification Meet. A diver also may qualify if she places ahead of all divers from opposing schools in varsity competition in at least four meets, even if she does not finish ahead of her teammates.
  • Also in swimming & diving, to promote safer take-offs during relays, the second, third and fourth swimmers must have at least one foot in contact with the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during take-off. Those second, third and fourths swimmers may not take off with both feet on top of the starting block wedge.
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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’s Nyck Udell Announces College Commitment

On Tuesday, Chelsea High School Senior Nyck Udell officially signed his commitment letter to continue his great bowling career at Adrian College. The young Bulldog is excited about this opportunity.  Nyck is the son of proud parents Rodney and Carm Udell

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sports

Williamston Edged In Class B Quarterfinals

 

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Williamston Freshman Mitchell Cook drives the lane in the first

 

The Williamston Hornets had made it to the semi-finals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing last year, but this year came up just 1 basket short ending their great season. With the game tied at 51 against the River Rouge Panthers and the clock winding down, it was the Panthers Darian Owens-White hitting a 3 point shot with what would be the go-ahead game-winning basket, edging out the Hornets 54-51.

It was a very good game right from the tip-off. River Rouge came out strong and fast but the Hornets of Williamston didn’t panic and got right back into the game when Sophomore Sean Cobb hit 2 back to back 3-pointers to cut the Panthers lead to 1 after the first.

The Hornets defense was strong in the second giving River Rouge fits and keeping the Hornets within stinging distance. With the score tied at 20, with two and a half minutes left to go in the first half, Junior Cole Kleiver hit a huge 3 -point bucket to give the Hornets their first lead of the game. In front of a huge green and white-clad crowd, the Hornets took a 27-27 tie into the half, something the 25-1 Panthers have not had to deal with all season.

After the half, the Panthers scored early and held the Hornets to just two field goals while outscoring them 13-4 over the first 7:58 of the quarter until a Kleiver layup at the buzzer made it 40-33 entering the fourth.

“I warned them at halftime and said, ‘We really need to win the first four minutes coming out,'” Williamston coach Tom Lewis said. “I just had a feeling they were going to come with a different level. A lot of seniors on the other side of the floor and they did that, we struggled to score, had some messy possessions, they hit some shots … (Owens-White) just killed us with a lot of big baskets.”

In the 4th, the Hornets defense was swarming forcing turnovers and bad shots. The Panthers started to panic as the relentless Hornets fought back and with just over a minute left Cobb drove to the basket for 2 and was fouled. He hit the free throw giving the Hornets a 51-49 lead with time running out. The Panthers were able to tie it up and with the Hornets playing for the last shot, what happened next will be talked about for quite a while.

Freshman Mitchell Cook took a pass and drove the baseline and put up a beautiful underhanded shot that went in as he was knocked hard to the floor. But instead of a Hornet lead, the possibility of a 3-point play, and quite possible certain victory was snatched away as the official called Cook for a charge, even though his defender had never established position and was not set.

It was then that Owens-White hit his 3 point shot and with only 3 seconds left, the Hornets launched a deep 3 as time expired that just missed bringing their excellent season to a very sad end.

The Hornets finish the season with a great 21-5 record. They will graduate 5 seniors but will be bringing back a bevy of young talent.  Kleiver led the Hornets with 21 points, Cobb finished with 17 and 5 rebounds and 2 big blocked shots, while Sy Barnett finished with 11 points. Cook played an outstanding defensive game with 3 steals, 5 assist, and a big shot made in the 3rd to help keep his team in the game.

River Rouge will travel to the Breslin Center in East Lansing where they will take on the 24-2 Ludington Orioles who defeated Lake Fenton tonight.

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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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Jackson Christian Pulls Off Big Victory On Senior Night

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JCS Mitchell McNeil drives the lane for 2

At Jackson Christian High School on Friday, the Royals honored 7 seniors before their game against Hillsdale Academy. That’s over half of Head Coach Rick Blumenstock’s team. Drew Blackgrove, Luke Carpenter, Kyle Cochrane, Mitchell McNeil, Thomas Miller, Nathan Ross, and Caleb Thomas were all honored before the game as they and their parents were presented with gifts and goodwill from their school and classmates. Nathaniel Reynolds was also honored as the team manager.

After the ceremony, the Royals didn’t waste any time getting down to the game they all love, as senior center Thomas Miller won the tip off. Both teams matched up evenly as the Colts tried to avenge the one-point loss they suffered on their home court earlier this season.  But it was not to be as the Royals fought valiantly for a huge 41-35 victory.

It was a very close game before two evenly matched teams. The Colts took a 23-20 lead into the halftime and it was obvious from the team’s matchups they wanted to keep the ball out of Miller, Blackgrove, and McNeil’s hands.

But in the 3rd quarter, the Royals exploded right away when hard playing McNeil drove between 3 Colts defenders for the basket. Blackgrove came back to help by hitting a big 3 and the Royals never trailed again. Cochrane drained two 3 pointers to put the Royals way out front and the solid Royal defense and Miller’s exceptional rebounding ability kept the victory in the Royals clasp.

McNeil led all scorers with 14 points, Miller had 8 to go along with his team-leading 13 rebounds, Blackgrove finished with 7 along with 8 rebounds, 3 assist, a steal, and a block.

After the game, many of the kids went ice skating for their annual snowcoming event that the school puts on every year. The Royals play their final home game of the year Tuesday.

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Chelsea’s Jesse Jacobusse Leads With Actions, Not Words

 

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Chelsea Senior Jesse Jacobusse Jumps for a shot against Ypsilanti

Jesse Jacobusse’s Chelsea Bulldogs are falling behind against a Class A school. Time is winding down and the momentum has shifted. Jesse knows time is short and something needs to be done. So the petite 5 foot 4-inch senior guard dribbles coast to coast, cutting a lane through several defenders much larger than her, hits the basket and falls to the floor as she gets fouled hard. Jesse gets up unfazed and hits the free throw. She gets back on defense and is able to steal a pass and take the ball to the hole again giving her team the lead. Her Bulldogs end up winning the game and it’s just another night on the court as she is used to this. Because Jesse Jacobusse does not give up and she does not like to lose!

Jesse is a true competitor in everything she does. She credits that for being in competition with her twin brother Jake, who is older than her by only 3 minutes. Jake just won his 103-pound weight class in wrestling at districts for Chelsea.

“I’ve grown up with a twin brother which has given me the competitive edge that I have,” Jesse explains. “Other twins understand the competition of being twins and I think that helped us both to accomplish more than what we would have without each other. I don’t just not like losing, I hate it so much and that’s the kind of attitude that helps me get extra aggressive and scrappy in games. It’s not just the game I’m working to win. Every possession I want to win; be better than the opponent.”

Jesse has been playing sports since as long as she can remember. Up until high school, her favorite sport has always been soccer but now it’s definitely basketball for her. Jesse plays much larger on the court than most girls that stand a foot taller than her and she is not afraid to do anything for the team to help them out. Jesse still plays soccer once scoring 5 goals in a game last season. She also excels at cross country and track where she has gone to states to represent Chelsea in both sports. She has made her name known as she is in the Chelsea record books.

 

In all 4 of the sports Jesse plays yearly she excels at every one of them yet she is very humble and down to Earth, and a bit quiet and shy. When she’s not playing sports she is hitting the books where she excels also, being a member of the National Honor Society and she is on student council.

Jesse is definitely not your average teenager as when she does get some free time she enjoys spending it, well, playing sports and working out.

“For me sports are everything,” Jesse stated.  “I don’t have much spare time but this summer I found myself with a lot of time so my best friend, Briana Hay, and I practiced all of our sports every day. We ran, lifted, shot basketballs, and went out to the soccer field and practiced. It’s something we love to do so it’s not just the sports that we play, it’s our hobby, and what we fill our spare time with.”

Jesse is one of 4 seniors on a very young Chelsea basketball team this season. But she feels as a senior she doesn’t need to be a leader with her words, she leads with her actions.

“As a senior, I don’t necessarily feel the need to lead but I find that just working hard and setting a positive example is all I need to do to be a leader,” says Jesse

Jesse has the respect of all her teammates and classmates and also the respect of many of the teams she faces. In basketball, they always try to double team her and try to take her off her game. But it seldom works.

She also has the respect of her head coach Todd Blomquist who has been coaching Chelsea girls basketball for 18 years.

“Jesse is one of the better on-ball defenders that I’ve ever coached,” Blomquist proudly stated.

Jesse will be taking her 17 letters in sports and academics and will be leaving in the fall for Houghton where she will be attending Michigan Technological University where she will study Biomedical Engineering as well as playing on their soccer team and running track for the Huskies.

“Because I’ll be playing my other two sports, one thing I will miss the most after high school is basketball and the other thing is all the friends I’ll be leaving when I am so far away,” Jesse sadly stated.

But before she goes she has business to attend to with her Chelsea basketball team as they try to make a big run in the districts. And then in the spring, she will be leading her track team with her running skills and her exceptional soccer abilities on the field to help lead her Chelsea team.

Jesse is the daughter of Robb and Betsy Jacobusse, and besides her twin brother Jake, she has two older brothers, Tom and Mason, and younger sister Grace who plays on the Chelsea freshman team.

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