Sports 12-03-2015

Red Devils drop holiday tilt with Matignon, 18-12

The Chelsea High football team turned in a valiant effort, but came up short by a score of 18-12 in a Thanksgiving Day battle with Matignon at Dilboy Stadium.

The contest began well for the Red Devils. After the CHS defense forced Matignon to punt on its opening possession, the Red Devils marched 50 yards for a touchdown, capped by a four yard burst into the end zone by sophomore David Bui.

However, Matignon bounced back thanks to a big return on the ensuing kickoff which brought the ball to the Chelsea 30. Matignon then executed a flanker reverse on second down to cover the 32 yard distance into the Chelsea end zone to knot matters at 6-6.

The teams then exchanged punts, with Nick Ieng taking the Matignon kick and racing 64 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, Nick’s fine effort was called back because of a ref’s flag on a Chelsea player for a block in the back. With the Red Devils taking possession at their own 38, Chelsea proceeded to nullify the penalty by marching into the Matignon end zone. Senior captain Dennys Hernandez, an offensive lineman, got the call for the final two yards to make it 12-6 in favor of Chelsea.

“It’s always nice to reward a senior lineman who has put in the work for four years both in the weight room and in the trenches on the offensive line,” said CHS head coach Jack Halas. “Dennys is a great kid, and I’m glad we were able to give him the ball for the touchdown in the final game of his CHS career.”

However, all of the good work of the Chelsea offense went for naught thanks once again to poor coverage on the ensuing kickoff. The Matignon kick returner took the ball all the way to the CHS three yard line, with kicker Henry Lemus making a saving tackle. Still, three plays later Matignon reached paydirt to even matters at 12-12.

The half ended with Chelsea punting on its next offensive possession and Red Devil Luis Jiminez intercepting a Matignon “Hail Mary” pass as the clock wound down.

The second half proved to be  defensive struggle. The Red Devils were able to advance only as far as the Matignon 32 in the third quarter, with the drive sputtering out thanks to a mishandled snap on a third-and-five. Matignon then took over and put together its best drive of the day, aided once again primarily by a wide-receiver reverse play that eventually led to a touchdown from the Chelsea three yard line.

With the contest now in the fourth quarter, the Red Devil defense needed to make a stop, and it did, giving the ball to Chelsea at the CHS 46 with about 4:00 to play. The Red Devils appeared primed to seize the momentum. Ieng carried for 22 yards off the right side, Bui ran for eight more yards, and a 12 yard completion over the middle from Mike Rowan to Dashuan Alves gave Chelsea a first-and-10 at the Matignon 16.

However, that would prove to be as close as Chelsea would get to the Matignon end zone, as the drive ended after two incomplete passes. Matignon then was able to take knees to end the ballgame.

“It was a tough one to lose,” said Halas. “Give lots of credit to Matignon. They had a game plan which they executed well.  We did not make the key plays or enough plays to allow us to win the ballgame. They made more plays than we did, and they deserved to win the game.  They outplayed us.

“Obviously, it was not the way we wanted to send our seniors out on Thanksgiving,” added Halas. “We left too many opportunities out on the field.  The big play hurt us badly both in the kicking game and defensively. We had a couple of drives offensively sputter out because of poor execution.”

A number of Red Devils turned in fine performances. Rowan hit on 13-of-18 passes for 71 yards. Jiminez was his chief target with six receptions for 41 yards. Alves grabbed two passes for 15 yards. Ieng lugged the ball 13 times for 74 yards and caught three passes for 12 yards. Bui rushed for 38 yards on seven attempts and had two receptions for three yards to go with his TD. Hernandez had one carry for two yards and a TD.

Defensively, Hernandez was a bulwark with six tackles. Alves and Nelson Hernandez were credited with five tackles each. The duo of Edwin Dubon and Bui made four tackles apiece.

Bruins Beatby Bob Morello

Bruins ‘Go West Young Man’

Using the popular idiom – “the early bird gets the worm,’ the Boston Bruins left a day earlier for their Western road trip, with the hopes of creating a more fitting idiom, such as “the early team gets the win.” Departing a day earlier to arrive in Edmonton on Monday, Boston opened up their stay by one more day, which means that they arrived, relaxed, and had their Tuesday morning practice in Edmonton, instead of Wilmington.

Coach Claude Julien explained, “It just shows how important this road trip is to us. We know there is a difference and a time change and everything else, and that represents a challenge in itself in any normal situation. So we thought coming in a day earlier and getting ourselves acclimated to, I guess, this area here and making the most of it was basically what we’re trying to do here.” It made good sense for the Bruins players to enjoy a solid night’s sleep for the two days prior to last night’s (Wednesday 9:30pm) road trip opener versus the Edmonton Oilers, all the while adjusting to the time difference, and a lengthy airplane ride. Having had a four-day layoff since earning their huge win over the New York Rangers, the question to be answered is: “Does ‘rest’ equal ‘rust,’ or ‘resilience?’

The Oilers roster will be missing two of their top players due to injuries, number one pick, Connor McDavid, and Nail Yakupov. While this matchup looks like an easy win for the Bruins, Edmonton, despite holding the bottom spot in league standings, has had spurts of playing well of late, and will likely not be easy pickings for the Bruins. The Bruins were looking to notch a victory over the Oilers and their general manager, former B’s GM, Peter Chiarelli, to start the three-game road trip, but their focus is on playing the steady, consistent hockey that has earned them their five-game win streak.

Nothing short of a three-game sweep on this road trip will be considered acceptable, or as coach Julien summarized, “We all know these western trips are always tough trips, no matter where the teams are in the standings, I’m really focused on having a good road trip here. A good start to this trip is imperative. We’ve got a little bit of a streak going and we know the feeling of winning. So it’s about doing the right things to keep it going.”

On Friday, Boston will begin a back-to-back schedule with a game versus the Calgary Flames (12/4 at 9:00pm), and finishes up with the Bruins taking on the Vancouver Canucks (Saturday 12/5 at 10:00pm).

This current stretch of five games in eight days will wrap up with Boston hosting the Nashville Predators (Monday 12/7 at 7:00pm), then back on the road to take on the Montreal Canadiens (Wednesday 12/9 at 7:30pm). The B’s left Boston with a five-game win streak which they hope to have extended to eight, at the expense of three Western Conference teams that are currently mired in the bottom six positions of their conference – all out of playoff position. A possible downside is the fact Boston has not faced any of the three teams they will meet on the three game road trip, which means it may take some time for the Bruins to adjust to the new faces and styles.

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