Red Devils shock Shawsheen for fifth straight win

In what head coach Mike Stellato described as “one of the most exciting games of [his] career,” the Chelsea High varsity football team pulled out a come-from-behind win last Saturday by the slimmest of margins. The Red Devils defeated Shawsheen Tech, 28-27, to extend their record to 5-0.

“It was just a well-fought, hard-working game on both sides,” Stellato said Tuesday. “From what I heard, it was the first time that Chelsea had ever won at Shawsheen, which makes it even more exciting.”

This was no cream-puff Rams team that the Red Devils beat in Billerica. Shawsheen came into this game on a two-game winning streak after annihilating North Shore Tech, 52-37 a week earlier. In that game, the Rams had racked up over 500 yards in total offense, which included a 400-yard game from star running back Cory Foss. The Chelsea defense came as close as any team can to stopping Foss, who finished with 81 yards (75 of which were picked up on one very big play).

Foss gave Shawsheen an early, 7-0 lead when he capped a Rams drive with a three-yard touchdown rush in the first quarter. Chelsea’s best chance to stop Foss from running roughshod over them was to keep the ball out of his hands. They accomplished that feat by engineering a 20-play drive that devoured more than ten minutes of second-quarter clock. After grinding 79 yards across the field, Justin Saez picked up one more yard to finish the drive in the endzone. Juan Martinez kicked the extra point to knot the score at seven.

The Rams wasted no time in regaining the lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Cory Foss collected the vast majority of his yardage for the game with a 75-yard return for a touchdown. The quick score was a disaster, but Chelsea answered right back, embarking on a 75-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Nelson Molina to Troy Crossley. This time, however, Martinez missed the kick after the touchdown, sending Chelsea into halftime trailing, 14-13.

Both defenses held their ground in the third quarter, but the Red Devils made a crucial error early in the fourth when they fumbled away possession on their own side of the field. With a short field to cross, the Rams quickly scored to extend their lead to 21-13.

It took Chelsea all of two plays to atone for the miscue. The larger of the two was a 62-yard touchdown run by Dan Martinez. Keeping with the theme of redemption, Juan Martinez made up for his earlier miss by rushing for a two-point conversion to tie the score at 21.

The Chelsea defense halted the ensuing Shawsheen drive, giving the Red Devils possession and a chance to take a lead with time winding down in the final frame. But the Rams would not allow Chelsea to move the chains and, what’s worse, they forced a fumble on a third-down play to take over the ball just 25 yards away from the endzone. Shawsheen capitalized on the turnover just two plays later with a touchdown that gave them a 27-21 lead. The Rams failed to kick the extra point, however, and their lead remained at six with 1:57 remaining in the game.

A clutch score in less than two minutes is a tall order, but the Red Devils pulled it off… with plenty of time to spare. After Shawsheen scored to take the lead, David Cortes fielded the ensuing kickoff and ran it 73 yards into the endzone. With the game hanging in the balance, Juan Martinez kicked the extra-point to break the tie and give his team a one-point lead.

Of course, the one drawback to scoring so quickly was that it left the Rams with enough time to pull out a miracle of their own. Shawsheen managed to drive the ball past midfield, but faced a fourth down at the Chelsea 48-yard line. The Rams’ pass attempt fell incomplete, and the Red Devils took over on downs.

Shawsheen Tech had run out of chances. Chelsea took a knee, and the final seconds ticked away.

“At the end of the game, the kids were physically and emotionally spent,” recalled Stellato. “They knew they were in for a battle against Shawsheen Tech, and they knew they had to play a full four quarters of football if they wanted to be successful. The coaches did a great job preparing the kids over the week. They went out and executed to the best of their abilities and did what they were taught during the week.”

For the game, Dan Martinez led a balanced offense with 109 yards on seven carries, while Cortes racked up 94 yards on 14 carries and Justin Saez added 90 yards on 13 carries. Senior nose tackle Chris Acosta anchored the defense with six tackles and a fumble recovery in the second quarter, and Crossley made four tackles and a third-quarter interception from the safety position. Linebackers Cortes and Andrew Colon were also instrumental in containing the volatile Shawsheen offense.

Now in the midst of a bye week, the Red Devils will enjoy some well-earned rest before preparing to face Minuteman Tech at Chelsea High on October 23.

Girls Soccer

The Chelsea High girls varsity soccer team enjoyed a 6-0 win over Lynn Tech last Wednesday. Katerin Romero was a one-woman wrecking crew with four goals in the game. Elsi Cruz and Naomi Mejia added a goal apiece, and Victoria Perez stopped every shot that came her way.

The girls soccer Devils had the tables turned on them against Shawsheen Tech on Tuesday. The goalies and defenses from each side matched zeros through the first half with neither team scoring before the break. The Rams broke through in the second half and wound up winning, 4-0.

Perez fought valiantly in goal, coming up with 22 saves. Mejia, Yury Morales, Zuleima Castillo and Analisha Centeno all played outstanding defense to keep the talented Rams offense at bay for much of the game. Chelsea also got a stellar performance from freshman forward Quinnee Valenzona, who was making her first varsity start.

“The whole team played hard and kept their heads high despite the score,” said head coach Jen Gulko. “We are seeing improvements as a team on a daily basis.”

Chelsea (4-6) will play at home today against Mystic Valley.

Boys Soccer

The boys soccer Devils suffered their first defeated of the season on Friday when they went up against Division 1 Somerville at Chelsea High. Somervile grabbed an early 1-0 lead on a penalty kick, but Chelsea tied the score ten minutes later with a goal from Hugo Erazo. Somerville seized momentum with two more goals before the half, and blew things open with a pair of early goals in the second half. The Red Devils could not score in the second and gave up a late goal to lose, 6-1.

Chelsea had prevailed at home a day earlier against Commonwealth Athletic Conference opponent Shawsheen Tech. Erazo, Omeilleo McNeish and Elvin Merino all had individual goals as Chelsea shut out the Rams, 3-0. The Red Devils have won both of their games against Shawsheen Tech this season.

The Red Devils (9-1-1) were scheduled to travel to Somerville for a rematch yesterday. They will travel to Haverhill on Friday to play against Whittier Tech.

Cross Country

Chelsea High’s cross country teams both ran in a duel meet against Minuteman Tech and Essex Agricultural last Wednesday. The girls defeated both opponents are now 7-2 overall and 6-2 against CAC opponents. Meanwhile, the boys beat Essex Aggie but lost to Minuteman to fall to 5-3 in the CAC and 6-3 overall. The CAC league meet was scheduled to take place on October 14 at Essex Agricultural.

For the girls, Suzanne Mikalixen finished first overall with a time of 20:31. Jesenia Contreras (21:40), Anelsa Beqo (22:19), Karen Zulaga (22:29) and Thien-Ly Che (22:41) finished fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth in the girls’ race, respectively.

Ugo Cvjetan finished second overall for the boys with a time of 15:15. It was just the second time this seaosn that Cvjetan has been beaten by anyone in a race. Other top finishers for the boys included Cesar Hernandez (4th place, 16:50), Santos Hernandez (7th, 17:25), Luis Hernandez (9th, 17:59) and Brandon Roth (12th, 18:45).