Chelsea routs Riverview, 49-14, heads home for SEC rematch with rival Adrian
RIVERVIEW -- The Chelsea High School football team rode its stingy defense to a Southeastern Conference division title and a 13th consecutive playoff appearance.
On Friday night at Riverview High School, the Bulldogs’ offense stole the show in a 49-14 win.
Considering the scenario (a Division 3 playoff game), opponent (Riverview was allowing 17.3 points per game) and conditions (ankle-deep mud in spots), big plays seemed unlikely.
And then, the Bulldogs ripped off one after another.
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Junior running back Berkley Edwards scored on touchdown runs of 68 and 90 yards on consecutive offensive plays -- on the same play call -- to give Chelsea a 14-0 second quarter lead.
The Bulldogs struck through the air, too. Jarred Scheese connected with Jack McDougal for a 69-yard touchdown pass on their next possession. Three of Scheese's four complete passes resulted in touchdowns.
“I was worried we’d never get a big play because obviously it was a muddy track. But there were a couple things up front that we thought we might have a chance to hit, and we did, which was huge,” Chelsea coach Brad Bush said. “Then we made a few plays against the blitz in the passing game that opened things up.”
Scheese would add touchdown passes to Colton Platt and Cody Ellyson before Edwards capped his 249-yard rushing performance with a 7-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.
The offensive exploits -- which resulted in Chelsea’s highest-scoring game since an Oct. 2, 2009, win over Tecumseh -- stole some thunder from another strong defensive performance by the Bulldogs.
Chelsea (8-2) forced four Riverview (8-2) turnovers and limited the run-first Pirates to 94 rushing yards on 33 carries.
Riverview sophomore tailback Josh Smith, who averaged more than 100 yards per game during the regular season, finished with four yards on nine carries.
“This feels pretty good, SEC champs coming to somebody else’s field and showing them we’re not soft,” said Chelsea linebacker Truman Hadley, who recorded a team-high eight tackles and returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown and a 49-14 lead with 45 seconds left in the third quarter.
The entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock, per the MHSAA mercy rule, and the Bulldogs could start some scoreboard watching.
That’s when they heard the second-best news of the night: Adrian upset Carleton Airport, 28-21, earning Chelsea a home game against their SEC White Division rivals next Friday night.
“That’s especially great for our seniors,” said Edwards. “It’s a big thing for them to be able to play at home again.”
Chelsea is now 9-4 in first-round game during its current 13-year playoff appearance streak, with five of those wins coming against teams from the Huron League.
“I felt like our last three or four weeks, we lost our edge a little bit,” Bush said. “We’re getting back to that, and offensively we really executed a lot better.“
Rich Rezler is a sports producer for AnnArbor.com. Contact him at 734-623-2553 or email@example.com.