high school football: Chelsea's 28-14 win over Haslett extends playoff streak to 14 years
Hanging in the Chelsea High School football team’s locker room is a sign that reads, “Play for those that came before you and leave a legacy for those that follow you.”
The Bulldogs accomplished both on Friday night.
Berkley Edwards rushed for 245 yards and four touchdowns in a 28-14 victory over Haslett at Jerry Niehaus Field. Chelsea needed the win in its final regular season game to extend the program’s consecutive MHSAA playoff appearance streak to 14 seasons.
It’s one of the longest postseason streaks in the state and dwarfs all other Washtenaw County programs. Pioneer, Father Gabriel Richard and Manchester have the next-longest current playoff streaks at five years each.
“We kind of live by that (sign),” Chelsea coach Brad Bush said. “I think that was a big deal to the seniors because I think they recognize that this was their time and they needed to leave a mark. We’ll see what happens from here, but they certainly have earned it.”
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
“Anything can happen in the playoffs, but I’m expecting the best,” said senior linebacker Michael Hovater, who led that fateful team meeting back in early September. “We’ve come a long way. I think we have a really good shot at making a long run and doing something big.”
Chelsea and the rest of the playoff teams in the state will learn their first-round opponent on Sunday.
After the slow start to its season, the Bulldogs needed to win their final six games to assure themselves of another postseason berth. The final win came a little easier than even the Chelsea coaching staff anticipated.
Bush said he was wary of the Haslett Wing-T offense, but the Vikings (4-5) got little production after driving 66 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first possession.
Haslett wouldn’t visit Chelsea’s side of the 50-yard line again until late in the third quarter, after Edwards had scored his fourth touchdown of the night for a comfortable lead.
Running back Connor Brewer gained 135 of Haslett's 252 total yards. He had a game-long 41-yard carry and a 1-yard touchdown run on the Vikings' first possession.
“The fact that we were able to play the kind of defense we did was very gratifying because we were really concerned about them on offense,” Bush said. “We thought they were one of the better offensive teams that we faced. After that first series, we played really good defensively.”
Hovater led Chelsea with eight tackles, including three sacks of Haslett quarterback Sam Wegenke. Seniors Alex Maloney and Sean Lungo made six tackles apiece and Jay Szcodronski had three tackles-for-loss.
Edwards, meanwhile, accounted for Chelsea’s scoring on touchdown runs of 10, 33, 19 and 35 yards. Zach Rabbitt added four point-after kicks.
The Bulldogs finished with 395 yards of total offense, including 362 on the ground.
Edwards eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the fourth time in Chelsea’s last five games and scored four touchdowns for the third time in four games. He finished the regular season with 1,311 yards and 22 scores.
“The offensive line is playing great,” Chelsea senior quarterback Logan Brown said. “Obviously Berkley is going off, but that starts out up front. We got really good perimeter blocking and we’re just going off on offense.”