The Chelsea High football team played well for almost their entire game against Whittier Tech Friday evening. But three key breakdowns directly resulted in all three of the Whittier touchdowns as the visiting Techmen handed the Red Devils a 20-7 defeat.
An indication of the sorts of tricks that Chelsea would encounter on this Halloween weekend occurred on the first play from scrimmage when a Tech back found his hole in the line plugged, but broke out around right end and scooted 70 yards for a touchdown. Minutes later, after a Chelsea field goal attempt failed following a nice Red Devil drive deep inside Whittier territory, a Whittier ballcarrier broke free for a 73 yard TD jaunt.
“We dug ourselves a hole right away with a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter,” said CHS head coach Mike Stellato.
However, the Chelsea defense regrouped and would prove impenetrable the rest of the way. The Red Devil offense meanwhile, shifted into gear and put together a 55 yard drive midway through the second frame that was capped by a 30 yard TD pass from Jordan Virella to Troy Crossley to slice the gap to 14-7 after a successful PAT by Juan Martinez.
Chelsea continued to move the ball after the intermission, but proved unable to get into the endzone in the third frame. The CHS defense continued to hold firm however, giving the Devils the chance to get back into the contest. However, the Halloween spirits had one last trick up their sleeves for the Red Devils. After the Chelsea offense was forced to punt at the CHS 30, a bad snap sent the ball into the endzone where it was pounced on by a Whittier player for the backbreaking touchdown.
“We had our opportunities on offense, but could not capitalize on them,” said Stellato. “But our defense played very well after those initial mistakes in the first quarter.”
Juan Martinez led the Red Devils in the rushing department with 95 yards on 17 carries. Stellato noted the fine play of offensive linemen Andy Rath and George Ticas and offensive end Rony Gomez. Defensively, the coach cited linebackers JoJo Saez and Raul Flores.
Stellato and his crew now will host No. Shore Tech Friday evening under the lights at the Stadium in the last home game of the season. “This is a big game for us because it is a conference game,” said Stellato, who noted that his Red Devils are 2-0 in the CAC Small and No. Shore is 1-0.
Kick off time is 7:00.