Bulldogs Claim Third Straight Regional Title
(Team Photo from Chelsea Football Twitter)
The Chelsea football team looked like they did not miss a beat after a 56-day layoff as the Bulldogs rolled past Flint Kearsley 38-22 Saturday for their third straight Regional title.
The Bulldogs advance to next week’s Division 3 semifinals where they will host River Rouge in a rematch of last years semifinals that Rouge won 14-7 on its way to the D3 state title.
Kearsley took the opening kickoff and All-State quarterback Braylon Silvas broke free for a 59-yard run, but it was called back for a hold and the Hornets were forced to punt. Joe Taylor returned the punt 42 yards to the Kearsley 30.
Three plays later Trent Hill busted across the goal line from three yards out and Nick Fisk extra point made it 7-0.
Logan Vaughn the caught a deflected pass off a Kearsley receiver’s hands and returned it to the Hornets 23-yard line. The Bulldogs had a first and goal at the 10-yard line, but a shot gun snap sailed over Griffen Murphy’s head forcing a third and goal from the 24. Murphy rolled out right and hit Taylor down the right sideline for a 24-yd TD pass and Fisk’s kick made it 14-0.
Early in the second quarter Vaughn stepped in front of a Silvas pass for his second interception of the game, giving the Bulldogs the ball at the Kearsley 22.
Chelsea drove to the one-yard line, but the Hornets defense tightened forcing fourth and goal from the one. Murphy was able to sneak across on fourth down and Fisk’s kick made it 21-0.
Kearsley gambled on fourth down on the next series and came up short on fourth a four from its own 28 and the Bulldogs took over. Chelsea capitalized on the great field position and scored on a 14-yard TD pass from Murphy to Fisk for a 28-0 lead.
The Hornets answered with a strong drive and scored on a 19-yard TD run by Silvas. The two-point conversion made it 28-8 with 20-6 seconds left in the half.
Kearsley tried an onside kick, but Chelsea recovered, and Murphy hit Taylor with a pair of passes setting up a 31-yard field goal on the final play by Fisk to make it 31-8 at the half.
Chelsea took the opening kickoff of the second half and Murphy hit Lucas Hanifan with a 13-yard TD pass to make it 38-8 with 9:35 left in the third.
After the Kearsley kickoff returner stepped out of bounds at its own three-yard line, the Hornets went on a long drive that lasted nearly nine minutes, but the Bulldogs defense came up with a big stop and forced a turnover on downs at the 16 with under a minute left in the third.
The Bulldogs started playing some of its bench players in the fourth and Kearsley made the score closer with a TD run and pass by Silvas to make the final score closer than the game really was.
The Chelsea defense did a good job containing Hornets quarterback Silvas for most of the game. Silvas entered the game with 1,256 yards passing and 1,185 yards rushing and 33 combined touchdowns on the season.
While his final numbers (198 yards rushing, 2TD’s & 138 yards passing, 1 TD) were impressive, most came when the Bulldogs had the game well at hand.
The Bulldogs celebrated with the Regional trophy after the game, but they have their sights set on more and a rematch with River Rouge is the next for the Bulldogs.
(Chelsea stats will be added when available)
Pictures by Mike Williamson