Week 8 brought Dexter to town. Ah, Dexter. The Dreadnaughts — who use a ship as a mascot even though the type of battleship was the dreadnought, WHERE’S THE CONSISTENCY — are Chelsea’s close and fierce sports rivals. Unfortunately for Dexter, the football rivalry has been one of the most lopsided series in the area. In fact, it might be THE most lopsided series in the area. How lopsided? Let’s put it this way: I’m 31, and I was 14 (and even MORE awkward!) the last time Dexter beat Chelsea in football. Or let’s put it another way: Dexter’s current 17-year-old seniors weren’t even one year old the last time Dexter beat Chelsea. There have been a few close games in the intervening years — including one VERY close call that put a proper scare into the Bulldogs regarding the winning streak — but after another victory in 2011, Chelsea’s win streak was a very healthy 16 games. And…well, that streak really wasn’t in great danger this year.
Okay, hold on. Let me explain. I’m about as cautious as it gets about expressing great confidence in the outcome of a game between rivals. Weird things happen in rivalries. Lousy teams beat good teams. Rivalries make me nervous. I’m terrified of assuming victory. But this year’s Chelsea/Dexter football game? I mean, come on. Chelsea had a rough start to the year with three losses, but that got turned around with greatly improved play and four straight victories. And as for the Dreadnaughts…well, an 0-7 record featuring six extraordinarily lopsided losses provided little evidence of a team that could threaten an upset without an inconceivably great performance and a few big breaks.
There were miniature cheerleaders in attendance:
And, if I may break the timeline for a moment, they performed at halftime:
Anyway. Back to the timeline.
Shortly after the game started…yeah, it was apparent the win streak was going to grow. The Bulldogs didn’t score on their first drive, but they scored a lot after that. This was not an evenly-matched game. At all.
Chelsea put up 34 in the first half and took its foot off the gas in the second half, which resulted in a final score that was not representative of the lopsided nature of the game. (A certain high school football program in Ann Arbor could take notes from this. It’s not bad to win by less than you could have.)
The win was Chelsea’s 17th straight win over Dexter. More importantly, it was Chelsea’s fifth straight win after opening the season with three losses, making the Haslett game a huge opportunity to clinch a playoff spot. I don’t know if you all appreciate what a remarkable turnaround this team has engineered this season: from 0-3 to 5-3 with a very real chance at a guaranteed playoff berth. That is outstanding.
So. The regular season ends this Friday when Haslett comes to town. This is big. This is so big. The game is in Chelsea on Friday at 7pm. SHOW UP AND SUPPORT THE BULLDOGS. Please? Thank you. I look forward to seeing you there.
The Bulldogs, riding a three-game win streak, had to prepare for another stiff test with the 6-0 Tecumseh Indians coming to town. Tecumseh’s last winning season prior to this year was 2007, so they’ve been fairly enthusiastic about the whole deal. In fact, when I traveled to Tecumseh for the JV game on Thursday evening, I found that they were selling playoff shirts emblazoned with the slogan “ROLL TRIBE.” (I also got to watch Chelsea’s freshman and JV teams defeat their previously undefeated Tecumseh counterparts, with the JV managing the feat in a somewhat lopsided fashion. That was enjoyable. Good job, guys.)
Anyway. Tecumseh rolled into Jerry Niehaus Field undefeated and feelin’ alright (yes sir), but the Bulldogs were starting to pick up steam, and there’s been more than a smidgen of tension in the Chelsea/Tecumseh series over the years. It hasn’t been Chelsea’s main football rivalry, but it’s been quite heated at times, and beating Tecumseh has long been a satisfying accomplishment here in Chelsea.
Oh, and it was Chelsea’s homecoming. If you’re going to win a game, it had better be homecoming.
Homecoming means there was a parade.
Those coats typically mean it was rainy or cold. In this case, it was both. Well, it was more rainy than cold, but it felt colder than it was because it was raining. What I’m saying is that I’m pretty sure the precipitation and the temperature conspired to make everybody wonder if it had become pre-winter without warning. My hands mostly stopped working by the end of the evening, so I’m pretty sure it had.
The students were all dressed in white not because the homecoming theme was Casper the Friendly Ghost — although now I’d like to see that happen — but because after the parade they were heading over to the high school parking lot to get colorful. That event was fun enough that I’m going to give those photos their own post. Check back tomorrow.
The band also got colorful, though not quite in the same fashion.
And, of course, at halftime there was the coronation. Do you know when it seemed to rain its hardest? Yup. At halftime.
Okay, now let’s talk football. After the teams traded punts, Chelsea opened the tricky app on its smartphone* and tried a halfback pass.
It may have been mildly successful.
That went for a touchdown, in part because the defense bit so hard on the run that the nearest defender was actually back in Tecumseh.
*Come on, reaching into a bag of tricks is so 90s. Nobody carries a bag of tricks anymore.
The 7-0 lead was great…but it didn’t stop there! On the ensuing kickoff, a Bulldog wrested the ball from the Tecumseh kick returner’s arms. A few seconds later the ball was again in the end zone.
Unfortunately, Tecumseh settled down and managed to pull back within one at 14-13, which wasn’t very nice of them.
You can see from these photos that it quit raining in the first half. As the homecoming shots above show, though, that didn’t last long enough.
Late in the second quarter, the ball zipped down the field and ended up inside the five. No, not on its own. This guy helped:
A couple plays later the ball was in the end zone.
Later, apparently a bit miffed at having not finished his earlier run in the end zone, Mr. Edwards took off on another lengthy scamper. This time he was running through the rain, and this time he ended up in the end zone.
Though it wasn’t what you might call a downpour, the rain was surprisingly heavy at times.
Tecumseh managed to put two second-half touchdowns on the board, and late in the game Chelsea’s lead was down to a slim 31-28 lead. Tecumseh ended up with one final possession to put points on the board…and the rain registered its disapproval of Tecumseh’s efforts.
Tecumseh got uncomfortably close to Chelsea’s end zone despite the rain, but a penalty for a chop block pushed them back 15 yards, and Alex Maloney put an end to their hopes with an interception in the end zone on fourth and 21.
The Bulldogs were pretty happy about it.
With the win, the Bulldogs kept alive their hopes for a six-win season to automatically qualify for the playoffs.
Hey guys, did you hear me? You can still get six wins!
That’s more like it.
Next week brings Dexter to town. BEAT DEXTER.
Plenty about this football season has been unfamiliar for Chelsea fans, and the circumstances of week 6 were no exception: Chelsea came into the game under .500 to face a 4-1 Lincoln team.
Let’s all take a moment to fully appreciate how bizarre this was. First of all: the last time Chelsea started a season 0-3 was 1997. That also marked the last time Chelsea was under .500 through week 5. Oh, and that also marked the last time Lincoln beat Chelsea. And up until the Railsplitters’ surprising playoff berth in 2011, 1998 had been the last time Lincoln had started 4-1. (They started 4-1 in 1997 as well. What was up with 1997?) So this was like flashing back to when I was a teenager, and that’s just…strange.
In case you missed it in that fact-packed paragraph, Lincoln hadn’t managed to beat Chelsea since 1997. Worse yet, from 1999 through 2010, Lincoln didn’t manage more than two wins in any season. It’s been a rough stretch over there. But with the program’s remarkable resurgence and with Chelsea’s uncharacteristic struggles, 2012 presented Lincoln a prime opportunity to end its losing streak.
Where most schools have gone to reusable banners with velcro for the teams to run through, Lincoln has held on to the old-school custom of making a new paper banner every week.
You know what? I appreciate that effort. Well done, Lincoln.
(If you’re wondering, the flag was for holding, and it wiped out a pretty good gain for Chelsea.)
The above photo shows Lincoln’s second touchdown of the game, scored later in the second quarter. Lincoln held a 14-7 lead at that point. Chelsea answered with an impressive drive of its own to tie the game at 14 just before halftime. I’d prepared myself for a close, stressful game, and that’s exactly what it had been. But the second half was…absolutely nothing like the first. Chelsea ran the show in the second half.
One of the players who helped Chelsea take over the second half was Berkley Edwards, seen running free in the above photo. Edwards ended up with well over 200 yards and four touchdowns, one of which is pictured below.
Also to be commended is the Chelsea defense, which went up against an offense that excels at big scoring plays and limited it to a measly six points in the second half. It was an impressive effort.
The above run ended with Edwards’ fourth touchdown, this one late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
While the Bulldogs celebrated the win with a gusto normally reserved for playoff games, the Railsplitters took the loss hard.
With the win, Chelsea improved to 3-3 and stayed in the hunt for a playoff berth.
This week the Bulldogs are back at home for a HUGE homecoming game against undefeated Tecumseh for the SEC White championship. The game is in Chelsea on Friday at 7pm. Be there!
After picking up its first win of the season, Chelsea headed down to Adrian to face one of its bigger football rivals: the Fightin’ Canadians of Adrian. Okay, fine, they’re the Adrian Maples. Whatever. I’m not really on board with using an inanimate object for a sports mascot — unless it’s meant to be charmingly humorous, like the Montgomery Biscuits — and the maple leaf is kind of the symbol OF AN ENTIRE COUNTRY, so…Fightin’ Canadians. (FC for short, which is probably going to make all you soccer fans think Football Club, and that’s hilarious because we’re talking about football here.)
Anyway. Chelsea’s rivalry with Adrian has been very tightly-contested since the FC joined the SEC. Last year was unpleasant for Bulldog fans: Chelsea defeated Adrian in the regular season but lost to the FC at home in the second round of the playoffs. Yuck. Let’s all forget about that forever. Please? Thank you. Think happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. No political ads on tv…no spam in my email inbox…free Biggby coffee…happy thoughts.
This year’s game was a bit strange: where most years the teams meet with playoff berths almost certain, this year the teams met with 1-3 records and a desperate need to win simply to keep playoff hopes alive. The deeply overcast skies and steady drizzle were unpleasant for anyone who wasn’t in the press box laughing at all us suckers getting all wet, but they seemed appropriate for this game.
The first part of the game was a bit rough for the Bulldogs. There was lots of this:
Oh, and the first one of those got run back for a touchdown. It was every bit as fun as it sounds, which is to say NO FUN AT ALL. But the defense managed to keep Adrian under control for the most part.
Speaking of the press box, I’ve spent my fair share of time looking through the second window from the left:
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. There was a touchdown run to brighten the evening. That was good because as you may notice in the next photo, Adrian’s lights aren’t all that great.
The field doesn’t look that dim when you’re just looking at it with your own two eyes because it ISN’T that dim…unless you’re a camera shooting photographs and you don’t match up with the pulses of the lights. Hooray.
Chelsea added a field goal before the end of the half, too.
Did I mention it was raining? Because it was.
One of the great things about being at Adrian on a rainy evening was the dirty uniforms. Artificial turf has its advantages, but sometimes I miss dirty uniforms.
At the end of the third quarter Chelsea was losing 18-9. There wasn’t a whole lot of optimism in the air. But then…another touchdown run! Suddenly it was 18-16 with plenty of time left.
And on the ensuing possession, the play of the game happened. The Adrian quarterback threw a pass that looked certain to be a completion…but somehow a Bulldog got his hand on the ball, tipped it up, and alchemized a RIDICULOUS interception out of what looked to be an easy Adrian first down. This picture does not do it justice because it’s just after he reeled in the ball:
That play brought the sideline and the crowd to life.
The Chelsea offense again moved down the field, but after getting in field goal range, it got itself into a third and long. Chelsea completed a pass for a first down…but oh wait, there was a flag, and things got weird. The penalty was illegal man downfield, which isn’t a particularly common penalty but which seemed to have been called about 62 times already in the game. (That may be an exaggeration, but it WAS called a lot more than usual.) In that situation, the possibilities were:
- Adrian could accept the penalty, move Chelsea back five yards, and replay third down
- Adrian could decline the penalty and give Chelsea the completed pass for a first down
It doesn’t take a great football mind to know what Adrian would want to do, but…somehow it ended up being fourth down at the previous line of scrimmage. After a few minutes the officials got the situation straightened out, and Chelsea ended up with another chance at third down, but from five yards farther back.
And the ball ended up in the end zone again.
Having taken a 22-18 lead, Chelsea decided to go for two. And the ball ended up in the end zone AGAIN:
Facing a six-point deficit with just under three minutes to play, Adrian returned the kickoff to Chelsea’s 45 and…um…threw a touchdown pass on the very next play. Whoops. BUT WAIT. There was a flag. Hey, guess what the penalty was? YOU GOT IT: illegal man downfield! I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I saw the signal. It seemed appropriate in the most absurd way possible.
On the next play Adrian’s quarterback heaved another long pass down the field, but this time a Bulldog was there to give it a good home. The Chelsea offense took the field needing only a first down or two to hold on for the win.
And yes, after three frustrating quarters and one surprisingly exhilarating quarter, the Bulldogs did hold on for the win over the Fightin’ Canadians.
They were a little happy.
Chelsea plays at Lincoln this Friday at 7pm. Lincoln is flying high and, as will be the case the rest of the season, Chelsea is in desperate win mode. You won’t want to miss this game.
After Chelsea’s first 0-3 since 1997, the Bulldogs got a welcome break from its Schedule of Certain Death — Chelsea’s first three opponents are a combined 11-1 so far this season — when 0-3 Ypsilanti came to town.
Hey, you know what’s fun about Ypsi? It seems like every week I find out another Chelsea teacher or football coach is from Ypsi. I’m worried that at some point I’m going to find out I’m from Ypsi, even though I’m not. Ypsi is contagious, right?
It was Future Bulldog Night, too, so the middle school football players were on the sidelines during pregame.
Oh hey, this is the MAYOR:
There is no truth to the rumor that the city council puts on pads and plays a quick game of football before meetings. AS FAR AS I KNOW.
Do you want to caption this picture?
You should. Please do.
I was happy to get this photo…
…and based on the response on twitter, more than a few of you all were happy about it, too.
As part of Future Bulldog Night, the young football players got to run under the banner…
…and then the varsity took the field.
And then the fun started! WHO WANTS A HUG?
This went on to be Chelsea’s first touchdown:
Ypsi’s punter had a rough evening. The second punt got blocked into the end zone, and…this happened:
This hit was very hard and very well-timed…
…and it resulted in an interception, which was promptly returned for a touchdown.
This is Coach Taylor:
There is no truth to the rumor that Coach Taylor is a Terminator. AS FAR AS I KNOW.
Oh hey, look. Another touchdown!
Ypsi scored, too.
Sometimes the refs need a little help, you know?
This turned into another Chelsea touchdown:
This also turned into a Chelsea touchdown:
If you thought Chelsea seemed to be scoring a lot of touchdowns…you thought right.
There was rejoicing.
Chelsea football plays at Adrian on Friday at 7pm. Be there!
After two rough losses, the Bulldogs had to travel to Bedford in week 3. If you’ve never been to Bedford, here’s how you get there: point your car south and drive for three days. OKAY, maybe it’s not quite three days, but it seems like it. To make matters worse, an accident on the highway made the obstructive glob of humanity of Ann Arbor even MORE obstructive and the only way to avoid Ann Arbor-area traffic at that hour is to stay home, so for the first time in years I was late to a Chelsea football game. It was not a good start to the evening. And when I arrived, I saw faces like this:
So…yeah. Not much more to be said about that. Excuse me while I call my therapist.
I’m including this next photo simply to point out how close Berkley is to putting his knee on the ground:
He did not tackle himself on that play, and in fact, later in that drive he scored a touchdown:
This halfback pass…
…ended up here:
Take a moment to notice the difference between those photos. Did you notice how the second photo looks brighter than the first even though they were taken only seconds apart with the same settings? Here’s the deal: Bedford’s lights are aimed more at the sidelines than they are at the middle of the field. In the above photo, take note of the middle of the field compared to the far side of the field. The sidelines are substantially brighter than the middle of the field. It’s…baffling. And they’ve been that way for years. It must be the gravitational pull of Ohio or something.
The second half did start with a nice highlight in the form of an interception by the Chelsea defense:
There was another highlight in the form of a touchdown:
But it just kept going wrong:
That’s been an uncommon sight for Chelsea football over the past decade. Chelsea typically has been on the happy end of those scores.
As if that wasn’t enough, there was a bit of rain during the second half, too:
NOOOOOOO I DON’T WANT TO POST THE FINAL SCOREBOARD SHOT PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME.
Week 2 took Chelsea up to East Lansing, which is rumored to be the home of some university. I don’t know. No one has ever proved that. Anyway, for holiday weekend reasons or something the game was played on Thursday, which isn’t at all Friday, but whatever. Football is football.
Jay blocked East Lansing’s first extra point attempt.
Like dark chocolate, manual transmissions, and unconditional love, football is one of life’s great highlights. Chelsea started its 2012 season at home against Jackson Lumen Christi.
Zach (23) was happy after making a 43-yard field goal.
Former Bulldog and current Michigan State Spartan Nick Hill showed up to cheer on the team.
This went for a touchdown.
Sadly, Lumen Christi defeated Chelsea 34-27.
Every June, high school baseball and softball teams descend on Battle Creek for the state semifinals and finals. It’s two great days of high school sports, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to shoot at least one team for the past several years. This year I had two teams in the semifinals: Saline and Divine Child. Saline played first.
The Hornets jumped out to an early lead, but it slipped away, and they ended up losing 4-3.
Chelsea also hosted a softball regional, and the second game of the day featured Milan and Tecumseh.
Milan had a solid first inning, but Tecumseh soon took over and won handily.