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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 Opens Season With Big Win In Milan

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Chelsea’s Arraon McDaniels breaks the plane for the score

A crispness was in the air on a late summer evening in Milan as a huge crowd turned out to watch one of the most anticipated first games of the high school football season. The Big Red played host to the Chelsea Bulldogs with both teams coming off big seasons last year.

Chelsea won the coin toss and deferred until the second half and the Big Red started their season deep in their own territory and their first drive ended quickly in a 3 and out as the Chelsea defense stood strong in the trenches. Chelsea took over off the punt and moved the ball slowly downfield and had to settle for a 33-yard field goal from Cullen Lindsay.

Milan was able to move the ball on the ground but Chelsea came up big on a huge 4th down and 2 play, stopping the Milan back short of the first down. Chelsea took over and struck quickly with their first touchdown of the season as they faked a reverse and Hunter Neff launched a 74-yard bomb downfield to Ryan Sanborn for the score to put the dogs up 10-0 after Lindsay’s extra point kick.

The Chelsea defense again forced Milan to punt and the Bulldogs drove down the field with short quick passes and runs. Aaron McDaniels capped off the 42-yard drive with a right dive into the end zone for the score. The Bulldogs would take a big 17-0 lead into the halftime.

In the third quarter, both teams would go back and forth playing tough defense as both teams had several large players up front. One of the more interesting match ups was watching Chelsea Defensive End Ronnie Buford go up against Milan’s two-way lineman Michael Furtney. Both players announced their commitment to college their junior year, Buford to Western Michigan, Furtney to Wisconsin.

“Milan is really good up front,”  Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush stated. “They’re a really good team and Furtney is probably the best lineman I’ve seen in the Ann Arbor area in my 21 years of coaching.”

The Bulldogs defense again would come up with a big 4th down stop giving them the ball and the big lead near the end of the 3rd quarter. The Bulldogs struck fast with quarterback Thomas Steele throwing a deep pass to Neff for a big 61-yard score and an even bigger 24-0 lead.

“I was really excited for this game,” Steele said about making his first start at varsity quarterback for the Bulldogs. “It started off a little rough but then we settled down and started playing our game. I love playing with these guys, it’s a great group.”

Chelsea had more opportunities to run the score up but in a show of good sportsmanship, they took another Lindsay field goal for a 27-0 lead. Milan scored late in the game to close the gap but the Bulldogs walked away with a big 27-7 victory.

“Defensively we played really well,” Coach Bush stated. “Special teams were a big factor. Breaking in a new kicker for him (Cullen Lindsay)to be 100% on extra points and field goals is a big deal.”

The Bulldogs were led by in rushing by McDaniels and had 182 yards in passing which was more than Milan had overall in team yardage. Hunter Aeschbecker led Milan with 90 yards rushing. The Bulldogs were led on the defensive side of the ball by Buford who had 8 tackles, while middle linebacker Owen Nikischer had 6.  Nicholas Baugher led the Big Red with 7 tackles while Victor Knight had 6.

Milan will host Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central next week while the Bulldogs head home to host the Pinckney Pirates.

“They’re a good team,” Coach Bush said of the Pirates. “They’ve been out of the league several years and now they’re back in so it’s been since 1999 since we’ve faced them. ”

Kickoff is set for 7 in Chelsea.

 

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sports

Chelsea Softball Suffers Tough Loss

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Autumn Howard rips a double for Chelsea

On another brisk and windy afternoon, the Chelsea Bulldogs softball team played host to the Milan Big Reds. Chelsea started strong scoring in the first off a Sydney Hines double that scored Grace Bush. But after that, the bats just couldn’t get going the rest of the way in a tough 7-2 loss.

Milan came back and took a 2-1 lead and kept slowly building on their lead, keeping Chelsea’s hitters off base. In the bottom of the 6th Autumn Howard blasted a double in right-center to score her teammate Sydnee Liedel. But the that would be the only comeback Chelsea would get as they were held to only 4 hits on the night. Chelsea goes to 2-1 on the year and will be in action again this Saturday at home starting at 10 a.m.

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Chelsea Hires New Boys Head Basketball Coach

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Head Coach Josh Tropea celebrates his team’s victory in the 2016 season

Chelsea’s Josh Tropea has been a winner everywhere he goes and has a knack for turning basketball programs around. He showed that when he took Milan from a 2 win season before he took over and turned then into Class B State Champions in 2014, in just 5 short years. He has been Chelsea’s head coach the last two seasons and he took over a struggling 3 win program and got them tied for second place in the SEC White Division in this last season, with a 16-6 record, the Bulldogs best in 9 years. But now he has decided it’s time to move up and he recently accepted an assistant coaching position at Spring Arbor University. He will still remain a special education teacher at Beach Middle School in Chelsea.

On Wednesday morning, Chelsea Athletic Director Brad Bush announced the promotion of Mark Moundros as Tropea’s replacement. Moundros has served as an assistant with the boys program for four years and is also a teacher at Chelsea High School.

“We are excited to keep the continuity of the program moving forward,” Bush said in an email. “Mark has great respect amongst the students and staff. He will do a great job continuing to move our program forward.”

Tropea leaves Chelsea in a good position with 8 players returning for their senior season and 6 with 3-year varsity experience. Not to mention he is leaving them in good hands with Moundros and all the great memories, advice, and experience Tropea has taught the players.

Now Tropea will  get a chance to prove his worth in the college coaching world while working under Spring Arbor coach Ryan Cottingham.

Spring Arbor is coming off an 8-22 season during which it won two of 18 games in the Division II Crossroads League of the NAIA. The program last had a winning record in 2012-13 when it went 23-12 overall

“We are adding one of the top coaches in the state to our staff,” Cottingham said in a press release. “He is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the game, and he is committed to impacting lives.

“Josh is a ‘basketball junkie’ with contagious energy and a drive to excel. He makes an outstanding staff even better, and I am blessed to be surrounded by such an incredible group of individuals.”

The Cougars open the 2016-17 season Oct. 28 at the Crossroads League/WHAC Challenge at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids.

We here at SEMS wish coach Tropea all the best in his new venture and thank him for the hard work he did at Chelsea.

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