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Chelsea Clinches Division, Playoff Spot With 14-7 Win Over Ypsilanti

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Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush congratulates his players after their victory

It had been raining all day Friday leaving the sloped football field in Ypsilanti muddy and slippery before it welcomed its gridiron warriors to it. As the temperature dropped, a foggy mist hung over the field resulting in conservative playing between the visiting Chelsea Bulldogs and the home Grizzlies. It became a battle in the trenches between two powerhouse defenses leading to a smashmouth game of old-school football between two very evenly matched teams. But it was the Bulldogs who would prevail with a 14-7 victory securing them with a playoff spot and a Southeast Conference White Division Title.

The Grizzlies received the ball first and drove downfield and had a first and goal at the Bulldogs 5 yard line but strong defensive play kept them out of the end zone as the Bulldogs were able to stop them on fourth down and take over possession.

Chelsea then was able to move the ball through a mix of runs and short passes and drove 94 yards using good clock control and finished the drive with an Aaron McDaniels 3 yard run into the end zone giving the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead with Cullen Lindsay’s extra point being good.

With the weather and the field conditions, both teams tried to stick to a ground game. The Bulldogs hardnosed defense forced Grizzly quarterbacks Matt Harmon and Garvin Crout out of the pocket forcing them to scramble or throw errant passes. This would be an early pattern that would continue throughout the night.

With Chelsea up 7-0 Ypsilanti finally got the break it needed as late in the third quarter, Harmon was able to connect with his receiver Jalen Allen down the right sideline for a big 39-yard score and with the extra point tied the game up at 7.

The Grizzlies kicked the ball short to prevent a big return but the Bulldogs were able to get a good return from Kyle Simmerman to set them up at their own 43-yard line. Several passes to Hunter Neff and good ground gains from Jacob Grubbs and McDaniels were able to lead the Bulldogs to the end zone as McDaniels scored again from 1 yard out and after the Lindsay extra point, it was the Bulldogs with a hard fought for 14-7 lead.

But there was still almost a whole quarter of football left and the Grizzlies were not quitters. Although they sparsely had much of a crowd behind them in their homestands, despite it being their homecoming, they still persevered. But the powerful resilient Chelsea defense would not break as they made hit after hit, tackle after tackle, and kept the heat turned up on the Grizzlies.

As the Grizzlies were driving for the tying score it was Chelsea defensive back Doug Zarinnia coming up big at the right moment with a much-needed interception to stop the drive. Chelsea would move the ball in clock control and took a knee in victory formation giving them the victory and their sixth win on the season securing them a playoff spot for the 18th team out of the last 19 years.

“That’s a good football team,” Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush said of his tough opponent. “We played a conservative game because of not just the weather, but because of their defense. They are much better than their record shows.”

The Grizzlies drop to 3-4 on the season and have their playoff hopes doused. They’ve lost several close games on the season. They were led by Harmon who threw for 81 yards and ran for 14. Emerson Wilson led them on the ground with 89 yards while Allen had 53 yards receiving. Deon Willis led the defense with 9 tackles.

“We played through a lot of issues this week but we battled through them and put them behind us and stuck to the game plan to get the great team win,” Chelsea quarterback Thomas Steele stated. “I’m proud of our team and how we played”

Steele would finish on the night with 144 yards through the air and 20 on the ground. Chelsea’s leading rusher was McDaniels with 59 yards while Neff made several spectacular catches finishing with 5 for 115 yards.

“I’m proud of all you guys,” Head Coach Bush told his team after the game as they gathered around him. “This is a big moment, you’ll remember this night forever. You stuck to the gameplan and we had no turnovers. You played great, the defense came up big,  and I couldn’t be more proud of you all.”

The Chelsea defense has been outstanding all season only giving up 71 points so far. And they didn’t fail to disappoint as they forced several turnovers on the night. Sophomore Garret Steele led the Bulldogs with 8 tackles and 1 interception. Owen Nikischer had a huge night with 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, and a fumble recovery. Dion Mite had a sack, a tackle for loss, and forced a fumble.

“This means a lot, it’s a night I’ll never forget,” said Senior Defensive End and Western Michigan University commit Ronnie Buford. “This was more than just another win, this is for all those who came before us and the entire Chelsea community. I couldn’t be happier right now.”

Buford was all over the field and seemed to be in on every play as the 6 foot 5-inch speedster finished with a huge night as he had 5 tackles, a sack, 3 tackles for loss, forced a fumble, and had a big fumble recovery for his Bulldogs.

Chelsea returns home to host Ann Arbor Huron next Friday night. It will be Chelsea’s homecoming. Kickoff is a 7 p.m.

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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 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 Senior Receivers Look To Make Big Impact

IT'S GAMEDAY! GO BULLDOGS!

Chelsea Football has been known over the years for producing many great student athletes. Many have gone on to play football in colleges and some have even played in the NFL. Chelsea has graduated many great football players over the years including many receivers. And this year’s big 3 receivers of the Senior class are trying to keep the historical streak going.With wide receivers Bryce Jubenville, Chris Roush, and tight end Alex Vasquez the Bulldogs bring great size, skill, speed, and strength as well as field awareness, and hands.

Jubenville, who has not played football since his freshman year, has been making spectacular catches in practices and scrimmages.

“After not being on the field for 2 years, it definitely took some time to get back on track,” said Jubenville. “It feels great to be out there playing with my brothers and I’m glad I decided to come back out for my senior year. I’m pumped for this year. Like I said, I can’t wait to get back out there and be under the Friday night lights. While the team did lose some talent, I feel we have enough to make up for it and I think this year we can go far. Just can’t believe our Senior year is already here, but I am determined to work hard and make memories with these guys that we’ll take with us afterward.”

Bryce brings lots of speed and height to the receiver position and he has been running good routes and is not afraid to take a hit for the team if needed. Bryce also plays on the varsity basketball team and excels off the field in academics as well.

“After attending a medical program this summer, my prior interest in medicine has grown, even more, explained Jubenville when asked about his future after High School. “It was an awesome experience and opened my eyes to many different opportunities within the field. My future plans consist of studying pre-med and narrowing down what exactly I want to do in the medical field. I’m definitely excited to see what the future brings.”

Chris Roush, an all-state track athlete,and varsity basketball player, brings his skills to the team in many different ways. He was the Bulldogs kicker for much of the 2015 season including kicking in the state championship game where he kicked a successful onside kick. This year he will be like a swiss army knife doing many different things.

“They have me kicking this year, playing wide receiver, free safety, and back up punter,” Roush explained. “I think my kicks will bring a lot to my team by winning field position and pinning opposing teams in their own end of the field.”

Roush feels he brings a lot to the team. Since kicking off last year in his Junior season he has been working hard and has gotten bigger and stronger. He really likes playing the free safety position also this season as he explains,”My strength is playing the ball in the air and defending the pass.”

Chris has been playing football his whole life and has played organized school football with the same core group of guys since 7th grade. His favorite football memory is in his junior varsity season when he jumped up and made a highlight reel one-handed interception.

“I loved that moment because everyone was coming up to me and was hyping me up and congratulating me,” Roush reminisces. “It made me realize that I love my teammates just as much as I love the game. I think it’s a moment I’ll always remember.”

Alex Vasquez brings his own set of skills to the game. Like many great Chelsea tight ends befoe him, Vasquez is big and strong. But with his size comes speed and great hands. And he also has big blocking ability.

Vasquez is a 3 sport star, playing on the varsity basketball and baseball teams. He has been playing football for 6 years now and loves it. He still smiles when he fondly remembers the Division 3 State Championship game in 2015.

“My favorite football memory is definitely having the opportunity to do something that no Chelsea team has done before and that is to play at Ford Field last year in the state championship game,” Vasquez proudly stated. “We have a great group of players and excellent coaching staff and I think we will make some rumbles in our conference this year.”

Vasquez plans to attend college next year and play baseball or football. As of now, he is undecided and waiting for college offers to come in.

3 great young men, 1 common goal, to help Chelsea Football win!

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Chelsea Footballs “Shake & Bake” Duo

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Chelsea Football’s Cash Shegan And Kyle Bell

Some friendships are crafted over time and some just happen on the spot naturally. And Chelsea Seniors Cash Shegan and Kyle Bell’s friendship has been since the day they met. They have become best friends over the years. They hang out together, ride horses in rodeo together, and are 2 starters side by side on the defensive line for the Chelsea Bulldog football team. They have been dubbed with the nickname “shake and bake” since the 8th grade.

Bell plays defensive end while Shegan lines up at tackle and together they are a force to be reckoned with. Shegan got an almost unheard of amount of playing time for a junior last year. But he feels he earned it.

“I show up at every practice and give my all,” Shegan said. “When I’m on that field I want to be the meanest man possible and hit opponents and stop them in their tracks for our team.”

Shegan has worked out quite a bit over the summer and comes into the 2016 season bigger, stronger, and faster. And it’s not just lifting weights that make him that way. He lives with his parents Mike and Joanne Shegan on a horse farm in Chelsea where he is often working with 2,000 pound rolls of hay! He cares for the horses and is a farrier.  He also has his own rodeo and is a champion team roper, calf roper, and steer wrestler. So he knows a thing or two about bringing down big, fast beast.

“I love the rodeo. It’s fun and competitive,” Shegan stated.  “I’ve been doing it for years and I guess it just runs in my bloodline since my mom and dad have been involved with it most of their lives also.”

Shegan, who has been playing football for 12 years, is looking forward to the 2016 season. After graduating many great defensive players from last years state championship runner-up team, Shegan knows it’s his time to shine and step up.

“Going to the state championship was great,” Shegan said. “It was a whole new experience. It was awesome to just run across that field knowing we made it that far. It was an honor for our team because we earned it fair and square with hard work and dedication. I think this year we have a new level of intensity to our team and the team got a taste of what it’s like to go that far and we want to get there again. And win!”

Bell is the other half of shake and bake. Although he didn’t play as much as he wanted to last year he never let it get him down and continued to practice hard and get stronger. And he’s really looking forward to the 2016 season.

“It was great to be at the state championship game,” Bell said. “Our team played hard and we fought our way to get there. It wasn’t easy. And I’m hoping we can get back there this year. We have a lot of younger guys but it’s up to us seniors to step up and help them the best we can. We’re a team.”

Bell spends most of his summer and weekends when he’s not doing football, working doing construction with his dad Rick Wisbon. And his mother Sandy Wisbon is his biggest fan and supporter. The Shegans & Wisbons are all great friends and you can definitely hear them cheering at every Chelsea football game as loud as they can, screaming 1….2….3….HIT SOMEBODY!

Bell, who plans to go to college after high school and be an electrician, has been playing football for “As long as he can remember.” His dad Rick used to coach him when he was younger. Bell enjoys working on cars, hunting, fishing, riding his quad, his jet ski, and hanging out with his friends when he does have any free time. He also enjoys playing with his dogs Chubz, who many call the original Chelsea Bulldog, and Luna.

“I have a great feeling about this season,” Bell predicted. “I think the team is going to do great. We have to all know our roles and our jobs and help each other out. And I need to step up and be a good leader to the younger guys, show them why we were state finalist last year.”

The Bulldogs will be kicking off their 2016 season with a tough game in Detroit at Wayne State University, Saturday, August 27th at noon against a very good River Rouge team, who were state runners-up in their division last season.

 

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Chelsea’s Lawrence Buckley Looking To Lock Down Opponents

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Lawrence Buckley warms up in the State Championship game

It’s the state championship game at Ford Field and Chelsea’s Lawrence Buckley is dressed for the game but is cheering for his teammates  while he stands on the sidelines. Buckley, or Buck as he is known to his friends, is still not 100% to play after suffering a major injury at the beginning of the season. He had ruptured a tendon in one of his fingers severely before the season started and needed surgery and was done for the season. But although he suffered the injury he didn’t quit. And he didn’t give up.

“Last year at Ford Field was a great experience but I won’t lie, it was hard to feel a part of the team,”Buckley remembers. “But the guys on the team, they really put it in my head to get serious and become a leader. Jake Rhodes, Graham Kuras, Jordan Haber, Ryan Stasiak, and Bailey Edwards helped me to feel apart of the team when I was out so that’s why I stuck around and went to every practice. They made me feel real good about everything even though I was greatly disappointed I couldn’t help the team out.”

This season is different, though. Buckley is healed and has been looking great in practices and scrimmages. He brings his all-state track speed to his position of cornerback along with heart, great awareness, and hard hitting. He, along with Cam Cooper, look to make up on of the strongest cornerback combos around.

“Coach Moundrous has been working my legs and has helped me to get bigger and Coach Smith talked to me once and told me that I had a lot of potential this season but I have to get more serious about things,” Buckley said. “Every time it got hard in the weight room I would think of the conversation we had and after that I would attack whatever exercise I was doing, because I knew it would get me better than I was yesterday, so I knew I had to keep grinding and keep faith and hope that God will do his glory to help be succeed.”

And so far he has succeeded. He has made several heads up plays in pre-season and has intercepted several passes. He is locking down his opponents and along with Cooper, forcing opposing teams to make bad throws and plays. He has taken to being  a mentor helping younger players know their plays and what they should be doing and helping them out in a positive way.

“I think the team will do great this year,” Buckley states. “We have lots of young talent (Thomas Steele, Gus Reynolds, Patrick Bertoni, and more) and veterans that are willing to do whatever it takes for the team to succeed.”

Buckley has always been pushed in a positive direction by others also. Dan and Marijane Nelson have been very big positive influences in his life and his mother Rhonda Gibson has always supported him in many ways influencing him and encouraging him, as well as his sister Lanika.

“I’d be lost without my mom and the Nelson family,” Buckley stated. “They mean the world to me and I can’t say enough good things about them. I thank God every day they are all in my life.”

Buckley plans to major ln social work and minor in criminal justice after high school. He went to the state championships in track in 2016 for 3 events and he hopes to run track in college. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his  friends and enjoys going to “FCA”, fellowship of Christian athletes.

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Friday Night Lights Shine On Chelsea’s Andrew Klink

 

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Andrew Klink leads the team on the field in a home playoff game in 2015

It’s a frigid day in Jackson at Withington Stadium, the day after one of the worst blizzards in Jackson history. The snow was so bad it postponed the state semifinal football game between Chelsea & Coldwater for a day. The night before the game the Bulldog players are inudated with taunts on social media by the Coldwater players. The bulldogs don’t respond. At the game is when the Bulldogs respond as they overewhelmed Coldwater in the snow with a huge 35-7 victory!

“We do our talking on the field,” said Chelsea offensive lineman Andrew Klink. “They kept talking so much smack to us, we just ignored them and laughed. I couldn’t wait to play them to shut them up. That was a great game and our o-line did a great job and that’s the victory that  sent us to the state championship in Detroit.”

Klink, Angie or Klinker as he is know to his teammates, stands 6′ 4″ and weighs in at a solid 240 pounds and will be anchoring the left side of the offensive line for the Bulldogs this year.

“I have played baseball my whole life but I took a break last year to stay in the weight room and focus on football,” said Klink. “Last year I realized I have potential to play at the next level but I wasn’t happy with my strength so I decided to bulk up and focus on the gridiron. I still love baseball, I love football too, it’s so great forging friendships. When those lights go on Friday night, there’s just something about it”

Klink will be protecting the blind side of Bulldogs Quarterback Jack Bush this season and hoping to “pancake” defensive lineman.

“It’s a great responsibility to protect the blind side of the QB, which makes it a greater task and I’m glad the coaches feel I’m the man for the job, it’s an honor,” Klink states. “We have great coaches on our team and they make a big difference. I remember during a practice last year, we were doing short yard run against the defense and I was in and I had been angry about the last game which was the first game of the year and I thought I was practicing great and I didn’t get any playing time. So I made it my new mission to be as aggressive as I could but still play my position. And I was doing really good and  was dominating the guys across from me and Coach Moundrous pulls me aside and he said, “Don’t you think if you gave that much effort every play and pancaked guys just like that you would play more, even start?” And that wasn’t the last time he pulled me aside after doing something good or bad. It really clicked after that for me and I took it to heart and I’ve thought about that moment everytime Ive taken the field. Just go all out every play. It meant alot that a coach who didn’t coach my position but not even an offensive coach was critiquing me, it’s hard to describe. I’ll never forget that.”

Klink has a few colleges that have shown interest and hopes to have a big season and make a name for himself so he will get more offers. After High School he plans to go to college and play football and major in nursing specializing as a nurse anesthetist.

Klink thinks the team is going to do great this year. “We lost a lot of great players on both sides of the ball but our great coaching staff will have the team ready to go this season,” said Klink. “If everyone shows up to play and gives 100% and plays their position with a lot of heart, I feel we can beat anybody. We all have put in a lot of work and I wouldn’t trade our coaching staff for any other!”

Kilnk likes to listen to music in his spare time. He would also like to learn to play the piano someday. He loves to hangout with his dad (Tim) and mom (Celeste), hang with  friends, hunt, fish, and sometimes just drive around and chill and listen to music.

“I’m really excited about this season, I think the teams going to do great and our coaches will have us ready and we can’t be thin skinned when those lights get turned on Friday night.”

 

 

 

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