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Posted on Fri, Oct 5, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

Special teams give Chelsea the edge in 31-28 win over Tecumseh

By Pete Cunningham

Updated at 11:15 p.m.

Chelsea High School kicker Zach Rabbit was 13-for-13 in his career for field goals when the Bulldogs’ game against undefeated Tecumseh began Friday night.

With a steady rain growing heavier by the minute in the fourth quarter and with the wind in the face of Rabbitt as he stared down a 42-yard attempt, Chelsea coach Brad Bush said he had a lot of hesitation to call for a kick.


Chelsea quarterback Logan Brown. file photo

Bush decided to go with the guy who has yet to let him down, and it proved to be the difference in Chelsea’s 31-28 win.

“All he does is make field goals,” Bush said. “I had a lot of hesitation (because of the weather and distance), but if you’ve got a guy who’s 13-for-13, you give him a shot…he’s 14-for-14. I mean I’ve never heard of that, ever. Ever."

A chop block penalty on Tecumseh inside the red zone stalled the Indians' final comeback attempt with under a minute remaining in the game.

More coverage: Boxscore at | Friday night football roundup

Alex Maloney intercepted a Ben Dreslinski pass in the end zone on fourth down and 20 to go from the Chelsea 25-yard line to end a late Indians comeback attempt with 40 seconds left on the clock.

It was Tecumseh’s first loss of the season, tying the teams atop the Southeastern Conference White standings with identical 4-1 league records.

Tecumseh (6-1, 4-1 SEC White) hadn't trailed all year and has won every game by an average of nearly four touchdowns. But the Indians never led against Chelsea (4-3, 4-1 SEC White), who went ahead with a halfback pass late in the first quarter and made it 14-0 seconds later, scoring on a fumble return on the ensuing kickoff.

Colton Platt took a reverse deep in the Chelsea backfield and the Tecumseh secondary bit hard, leaving Kyle Koseck wide open down the middle of the field. Platt threw the halfback pass pass perfectly and Koseck went into the end zone untouched to cap a six-play, 71 yard drive.

"My whole thought process was if we’re going to do it, we gotta do it before it starts raining," Bush said.

On the ensuing kickoff there was some confusion as the Tecumseh returner fumbled. The Indians thought the play was dead, but Chelsea’s Tyler Fullerton scooped up the fumble and returned it 18 yards for a score.

With 1:11 left in the quarter, the score was tied 0-0. Eight seconds of game clock later and the Bulldogs had a 14-0 lead.

Dreslinski, who finished 17-of-30 for 270 yards passing and a touchdown and also ran for a touchdown, was disappointed in the loss, but encouraged by his team's ability to nearly comeback in the end.

"We really needed (to play in a close game). It told me a lot about my team that we wouldn’t give up even though we were down," Dreslinski said. "Showed a lot of fight in our team. Showed a lot of fight in the defense, offense, special teams everybody, so I think this loss is going to perfect for us going on in the season and into the playoffs"

There wasn’t much of a difference in talent on offense or defense between the teams on Friday night. But Chelsea’s special teams stood head and shoulders above Tecumseh. Chelsea scored on a 42-yard field goal, a fumbled kickoff, recovered an onside kick and blocked an extra point.

It certainly didn’t hurt Chelsea to have Berkley Edwards in the backfield, either. Edwards had his third straight multiple touchdown game with more than 200 yards rushing as he finished with 232 yards and a two touchdowns on 29 attempts.

With Tecumseh down 14-13, Edwards ripped off a 65 yard run with under a minute left in the first half. Though he was brought down shy of the goal line, he would score three plays later as Chelsea took a 21-13 lead into the break.

After the defense stopped Tecumseh on fourth-and-short deep in Chelsea territory on the opening drive of the third quarter, Edwards scored on a 77 yard run to put the Bulldogs up 28-13.

After recovering an onside kick, it looked like Chelsea might comfortably put Tecumseh away, but Dreslinski had other plans.

A steady downpour had hindered Tecumseh’s comeback efforts early in the second half as spot on passes were being dropped by normally sure-handed Tecumseh receivers. But the wet conditions worked in the Indians' favor as well as they were able to recover an Edwards fumble on the Chelsea 30-yard line.

Dreslinski completed a seven yard pass on fourth-and-three and ran the ball in on the next play. A two-point conversion made the score 28-21 in the third quarter. Rabbitt's field goal in the fourth made it a two-score game.

Rabbitt didn't hit it true and thought he may come up short at first.

"I dragged my foot a little and it was a little short," Rabbitt said. "Once I saw it get there and go over, it was awesome. I sweated a little."

Tecumseh receiver Casey Hunt finished with five catches for 100 yards.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

Lewis M: A chop block or cut block is not illegal when performed inside the tackle box. The grey area comes when player "a" is engaged with a defender and then player "b" precedes to the cut him. In laymans terms: you cannot cut a defender that is engaged with an offensive lineman already. You also may not hesitate with a cut, if you are going to perform it, the cut must be at the snap of the ball and only in the tackle box and on the line of scrimmage. The penalty that resulted in a 15 yard penalty at the end of the game was illegal. A player was engaged and then somebody took a cut at the nose man. However, No Tecumseh coach has ever taught an illegal cut block. That's insane, and I would love to Exchange emails with you so you can provide your source... Because I'm willing to bet I have a better one.


Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 3:06 a.m.

Lewis, you may want to review what a cut block is? It is legal inside the tackle box!! And you think the coach was being sarcastic answering a smart alleck asking a BS question after a tough loss? And if you review the tape you say you watched you will see a legal chop block that took the game away from Tecumseh. Chelsea got out played!


Mon, Oct 8, 2012 : 2:43 a.m.

You're right....should have proof read better. I meant to say it was a legal "cut block".

Randy Brown

Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

Legal chop block? Really! Come on Tecumseh, you guys are better than that.


Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

Lets just play flag football and EAT pork chops. Yeah!

Lewis M

Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

One other point: there were 3 illegal chop blocks called during the game. Film may show another 3.

Lewis M

Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

The Tecumseh football program and coaches should be investigated for teaching illegal (and dangerous) chop blocks. After the game on Friday, the head coach was asked if he and his coaches teach the chop block. His answer was YES. Asked again if teaches illegal chop blocks and said 'I guess we do, that last one was called'. He was referring to a chop block penalty that basically cost his team the game. This type of blocked is considered dirty at every level of football because it can cause serious knee/leg injuries and has ended many careers. reported on this rule clarification on Aug.1 2011 and the MHSAA clarified the rule prior to the 2011 season: MHSAA: The definition of a chop block was modified by the National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee to state that a combination of blocks below and above the knee, with or without a delay, is a chop block.  The game film should be submitted and coaches and players should be questioned. Players should be questioned, and if its true the should immediately be coached that this is NOT legal!