Red Devils drop heartbreaker, 28-22
The Chelsea High football team came up on the short end of its game Saturday with Burke High School in the most-heartbreaking of fashions, yielding a touchdown in the final 12 seconds on a 56-yard scramble by Burke quarterback Patrick Cutheate, to drop a 28-22 decision.
The Red Devils had started the contest behind the proverbial eight-ball, allowing Cutheate to break free for a 32-yard run for a TD on Burke’s opening possession.
However, Chelsea counterpunched immediately, moving 45 yards on five plays, the capper coming on a five yard run by CHS senior captain Nick Ieng. Nick then went over for the two-point conversion to give Chelsea an 8-6 lead.
The Red Devils appeared primed to add to their advantage on Burke’s ensuing possession when senior outside linebacker Ky Che knocked the ball loose on a tackle which was recovered by freshman defensive end Edwar Escobar on the Burke 47.
However, Chelsea was unable to take advantage of the turnover and went three-and-out. The CHS punt pinned Burke at its own nine and the Red Devil defense appeared to do its part, seemingly forcing a three-and-out. However, a fake punt yielded Burke nine yards and a first down.
The CHS defense once again refused to allow Burke a first down and this time Burke punted, with the Red Devils taking over at their own 46 as the first quarter ended. With Chelsea facing a fourth-and-16 at the Burke 27, Ieng broke free for his second rumble into the end zone. David Bui ran around the Burke left edge for the two-pointer and the Red Devils were in charge, 16-6.
However, Burke refused to yield and embarked on a 69 yard TD drive that was capped by a 14 yard run by Cutheathe. Burke converted the two-point conversion and the teams went into the locker room with Chelsea holding a 16-14 edge.
“We knew that Cutheathe was a special talent, but it was clear after this drive that he required some special attention in order to try to bottle him up,” noted CHS head coach Jack Halas. “He’s got great speed and he really hurt us.
“But our team was confident coming out at halftime,” continued Halas. “We were up 16-14 and receiving the second half kickoff. We made an adjustment to Burke’s quarterback run threat and we felt good.”
The third quarter proved to be a defensive struggle, with both teams either punting the ball away or turning the ball over on downs. After a Chelsea attempt for a first down on fourth down failed at the Burke 37, the ball went back to Burke to start the final period.
Burke embarked on a 63 yard march that ended with Cutheathe going in from 12 yards out. The Burke QB also made a key gain to keep the drive going when he scrambled 33 yards on a third-and-10.
“It can be discouraging to play good coverage, have a good pass rush, and still the quarterback is able to make a great play with his legs,” said Halas. “Hats off to him. He’s an excellent athlete.”
The Red Devils, now trailing 22-16 after Burke made the two-point conversion, took over possession with 5:10 left remaining on their own 29 yard line.
“While we had 71 yards to go and five minutes to do it, I had the utmost confidence in our team and our ability to score on this crucial and possibly last drive,” said Halas.
At one point, Chelsea faced a third-and-nine deep in the Burke end of the field. Chelsea called a halfback screen play to Bui which was well-defended by Burke. However, David would not be denied as he muscled the ball away from the Burke defensive end and then on pure will alone broke two tackles to give his team a crucial first down.
“It was an excellent play by David to keep the drive going in a situation where we could simply have no less,” said Halas.
Chelsea continued to march methodically down the field to accomplish what ultimately turned out to be a 17-play, 71-yard drive on which Chelsea ran the same play over and over.
“This was my favorite drive of our season,” enthused Halas. “We absolutely had to have it. We lined up and ran the same play over and over and were successful, all the while taking the clock from 5:10 down to nearly the end of the game. It was an excellent job by our offensive line and all the perimeter backs in blocking.”
After Bui’s heroics, Chelsea faced another nail-biting moment on a fourth-and-six on the Burke 20 yard line. Chelsea put the ball in the hands of its playmaker, Ieng, who gained the necessary yardage for the first down.
Six plays later, senior quarterback Luis Jiminez dove into the endzone on a three yard run to bring the game to level at 22-22.
“I was so extremely proud of our guys for mustering that drive,” said Halas. “Twice our backs were up against the wall, and twice we picked it up. I could not have been more pleased with that particular drive.”
The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving matters even-steven with 0:44 left on the clock.
The Red Devils covered the kick-off well and on Burke’s first play from scrimmage, Cutheathe was met by a host of Chelsea defenders. With 0:12 remaining and the ball on the Burke 44 yard line, Burke lined up in trips to Chelsea’s right. Cutheathe then broke free of the pocket, made two Chelsea defenders miss, and scampered 56 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
“It was a rollercoaster of emotions for our guys,” said Halas. “We went from trailing, to putting together a great drive and tying the game, to suddenly losing on a quarterback scramble with 0:12 left. It is very difficult to swallow a loss like this. Cutheathe made an excellent play to scramble for the TD. Hats off to Burke in a well-competed football game.””
Chelsea (3-7) will finish its season at home against Matignon High School on Thanksgiving. A large crowd is expected to send off the Chelsea seniors with a well-deserved win.
Leclerc, Deras pace CHS cross country teams
Last Saturday eight members of the Chelsea High boys and girls cross country team competed at the Division 2 state meet at Wrentham.
On the boys’ side, junior Jose Leclerc (who improved by 14 seconds from his race last week at the State Coaches Meet on the same course) turned in a clocking of 17:51 over the 3.1 mile course — a pace of 5:45 per mile — to finish in 51st place among the field of 150 runners.
“This was Jose’s first season of cross country,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “He improved immensely during the year and was the fastest runner from the Commonwealth Athletic Conference at the state meet on Saturday. He will continue to run indoor and outdoor track, and hopefully will become one of, if not the best, runner in the league next year.”
Freshman Demitrius Martinez finished in 100th position in a time of 18:40, which was just over a 6:00 pace. Only five other freshmen in the D-2 race finished faster than DeMetrius.
Senior captain Adriel Cedano ran 19:56 in his last cross country race in a CHS uniform, while Alex Pedrero was right behind in 20:02. Freshmen Abraham Barrientos ran 21:22 and sophomore Wuilfido Hernandez came across the line in 22:03.
The CHS boys finished in 21st place as a team.
“We have five out of our top six runners back and our top two this year were both top 10 in the league,” noted Fay. “We have to add some more depth and some more running experience and we should be much improved for next year.”
For the Lady Red Devils, sophomore Yarid Deras was on pace to break 21:00 on the 5K course, but was tripped with just under a mile to go, which resulted in Yarid losing over 40 seconds.
“The course is very spectator-friendly, and if you move around, you can see the runners eight or nine times during the race,” said Fay. “Unfortunately, we weren’t around when Yarid fell and we originally thought she just faded in the last mile. The race was very crowded and those things do happen now and then.
“Yarid probably could have been in the high 30s for placement if she finished strong,” continued Fay. “However, it doesn’t diminish from the fantastic season she has had. Yarid already is the best girls distance runner in Chelsea High history and will probably break several records this indoor and outdoor season.”
Sophomore Jocelyn Poste had her best race of the season, running 23:21. Poste is the defending CAC champion in the 800 meters for spring track.
“We just have to add some depth and we should be more competitive next year as a team,” said Fay of the girls squad.
CHS track to hold Turkey Trot
This Saturday, November 19, the Chelsea High track program will be hosting its second annual Turkey Trot 5K run/3K walk at 10:00 at Admirals Hill.
There is a $25.00 entry fee for adults. Middle and high school-age youth are free. Registered runners will receive a T-shirt.
All proceeds will benefit the Chelsea High track program.
You may register at www.chelseahightrack.com or come down Saturday morning.