(Chelsea Update would like to thank Todd Ortbring for writing this story and taking the photos as well.)
The Chelsea High School JV football team ended its season with a tough road loss to Haslett, 18-14. With the loss, the Bulldogs finished 5-4 on the year with an SEC White championship to their credit.
After a see-saw start, Haslett opened the scoring with 22 seconds left in the first quarter on a 39-yard run. Chelsea stopped the point after and the quarter ended with the Vikings leading 6-0. The Bulldogs had their ground game in full gear for this game, amassing over 200 yards rushing, but costly turnovers stopped several promising drives early on.
The Vikings scored again midway through the second quarter on a 9-yard run to take a 12-0 lead. Chelsea took the kickoff and marched inside the Haslett red zone but the drive ended on an interception at the goal line.
The Bulldog defense held the Vikings and forced a punt with time running out in the half. Return man Kenny McDowell took the punt and cut in and out of would-be tacklers, scampering 50 yards for the score. Chelsea running back Ty Nelson converted the two-point conversion and the first half ended with Chelsea down,12-8.
The Bulldogs drove down the field to start the second half opening big holes for the running backs. McDowell capped a long drive with his second score on a 9-yard run putting Chelsea on top 14-12. Haslett didn’t allow the Bulldogs to celebrate their lead long, however, as they scored quickly on the following possession on a 68-yard pass play, pushing the score to 18-12.
It would be the last score of the day for the home team as the Dawg defense shut down the Vikings the rest of the way.
Chelsea was able to mount several drives throughout the fourth quarter but turnovers kept the Bulldogs from cashing in. They were able to put together one last drive late in the game after a defensive stop but Nelson had a long run the Haslett 2-yard line called back on a penalty, and a fourth and goal pass from the 10-yard line was tipped in the end zone.
The Bulldog offense was led by running back Nelson with 122 yards on 26 carries. McDowell added 47 yards and Jeremy Policht contributed 33 yards. The offense had 15 first downs and only punted 3 times including a 55-yard bomb by punter Grant Ortbring.
The Bulldogs had another strong defensive effort. The charge was led by Tim Johnson, Mason Bailey, Colin Steinhauer, Jacob Dobberstein and Grant Ortbring, who each recorded 9 or more tackles. Jacob Rhodes, Scott Moore, Kolten Savery, Garrett Farmer, and Ben Whitesall each had five or more stops. Also chipping in were Dustin Beckett, Ryan O’Quinn, Zac Trester and Ryan Eisley. Bailey also has a fumble recovery.
“When people see a record of 5-4, they might be inclined to think that our season was average,” said Coach Chris Orlandi. “I can say without a doubt that this season was anything but average.
“After an 0-3 start in which we scored one TD, we rattled off 5 wins and were a heartbeat away from another,” he said, adding. “Our defense was outstanding throughout most of the year and the strides we made on offense were nothing short of remarkable. Most importantly, I think we got this crew of players ready to play varsity football and we had a memorable experience. Congrats to all the players and thanks to all for the support.”
Congrats to several JV players called up to the varsity for the playoffs including: Grant Ortbring, Mason Bailey, Ty Nelson, Michael Smith and Jacob Gaken.
Thanks to Tim Johnson for helping with stats this year and Coach Orlandi for his weekly comments. Also thanks to Lisa Allmendinger for posting the stories on ChelseaUpdate.com.