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Chelsea football to meet familiar foe in first playoff game

Photo by Mark Bogarin.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Rich Rezler for this story and Mark Bogarin for this photo.)

The Chelsea football team learned its MHSAA playoff opponent on Sunday night, Oct. 21, and it’s a familiar foe.

The Bulldogs will play their Division 3 pre-district game at Tecumseh High School, against an Indians team that they beat 31-28 on Oct. 5.

Despite the fact that Chelsea (6-3) finished ahead of Tecumseh (7-2) to win a Southeastern Conference White Division title, the Indians earned home-field advantage by having a slightly higher playoff point total in the MHSAA scoring system.

The winner of the Chelsea-Tecumseh game will play the winner of Milan (9-0) vs. Carleton Airport (6-3) in a district title game. If Chelsea wins and Airport upsets unbeaten Milan, the Bulldogs would host the title game at Jerry Niehaus Field. Milan would host Chelsea or Tecumseh.

First-round game dates and times will be announced Monday.

The Bulldogs are making their 14th consecutive playoff appearance. They reached the minimum six-win total in their final regular season game after starting 0-3.

“We’ve come a long way,” senior linebacker Michael Hovater said after Friday’s playoff-clinching, 28-14 win over Haslett. “I think we have a really good shot at making a long run and doing something big.”

The three-point win over Tecumseh was the narrowest margin of victory during Chelsea’s six-game winning streak. Chelsea senior safety Alex Maloney intercepted a pass in the end zone with 40 seconds left to play to clinch the win.

Tecumseh quarterback Ben Dreslinski completed 17 of 30 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns in the game, which was played in steady rain. Chelsea’s Berkley Edwards rushed for 232 yards and two touchdowns against the Indians.

Chelsea is 16-3 against Tecumseh in coach Brad Bush’s 16 seasons as head coach. That includes first-round playoff victories in 2007, 2001 and 2000.

The Bulldogs are 9-4 in first-round playoff game since their current appearance streak started in 1999.

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