Sports 11-30-2017

Chelsea falls to Matignon, 20-16, in Thanksgiving game

By Record Staff

The Chelsea High football team fell to Matignon, 20-16, in the annual Thanksgiving game Thursday at Russell Field in Cambridge.

The Red Devils played four quarters of hard-nosed football and worked hard to generate an opportunity late in the fourth quarter to score the go-ahead touchdown, but the Warriors’ defense repelled Chelsea’s bid.

 Chelsea High School head coach Jack Halas talked about the season and the dedication shown to the program during the 2017 season.

“Our preparation for our Thanksgiving Day game went well,” said CHS head coach Jack Halas. “While this season has been a difficult one in terms of our record, 2-8, we have some really great kids on this team.  I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching this senior class.

“Typically, we start our offseason strength and conditioning when we return from Christmas break in January,” continued Halas. “This past year guys like Tony Bui, Zach Leo, David Bui, Nelson Hernandez & DeSean Cardoso came to the equipment room on the Monday following Thanksgiving, demanding I open the weight room for them.  Since that Monday, they were working out three times a week right up until Day 1 of the preseason.  We created the 1,000-pounds club as a result, which is earned by the total of a player’s bench press, squat and deadlift on rep max totaling 1,000 or more pounds. Their commitment to the weight room and each other has been exceptional.  I believe their commitment had something to do with athletic director [Amanda Alpert] having the confidence to upgrade our CHS weight room with state of the art brand new Gronk Fitness equipment.

“Whether or not they realize it, their dedication has laid the foundation for the future success of the Chelsea High Football program,” said Halas.

“One thing I have told players over the seven years I have been coaching high school football is that football is a very unique sport,” Halas continued. “It is not like basketball where you can call up your friends, meet at the gym and play a few pickup games.  Football is different.  It is an organized sport that has a definitive ending time.  For most, the game ends on the last day of your senior year of high school.  Once the Thanksgiving Day game ends, your football career is over. Very few are fortunate enough to play at the college level, so it’s important to enjoy the ride along the way.

“While this has not been a season where we gained a lot of bandwagon support, I am proud of our players,” Halas added. “It says a lot about a kid’s character when he continues to show up day in and day out.”

The Chelsea senior captains on the 2017 football team were Nelson Hernandez (LB/FB who is committed to the US Navy), Zach Leo (WR/DB), Tony Bui (OL/DL), and David Bui (RB/LB).  Other seniors include DeSean Cardoso (QB/DB), Dustin Morneault (TE/DE), Divanny Soto-Heyer (OL/LB), Chris Flores (OL/DL), Brandon Nguyen (WR/DB), and Carlos Mieses (WR/DB).


Chelsea Pop Warner ‘A’ team heads to Florida for National Championships

By Cary Shuman

Twelve Chelsea girls, ages 13 to 16, will proudly carry the banner of the Chelsea Pop Warner organization in to the National Cheer Championships next week at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Johanna Rodas, head coach of the Chelsea Junior Red Devils ‘A’ squad, and the team are set to leave Logan Airport Sunday with the hope of bringing the Small Level 1 Division national championship back to the city.

Chelsea qualified for the Nationals by winning the Greater Boston League grand championship and finishing second in both the Eastern Massachusetts competition and the New England Regionals that were held at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

It is the second year in a row that the Rodas-led ‘A’ team has earned a spot in the Nationals where teams from throughout the United States will compete for the title.

“Four of our girls [Emily Alvarez, Beba Diaz, Sophia Bonitto, and Aliseta Giuglinao] were on the team that finished fourth in the country last year,” said the 27-year-old Rodas, who has coached cheerleading in Chelsea for ten years and attends Quincy College.

Roda had high expectations for the team from the opening practice in August.

“I felt we had the potential to get back to Florida because they are a bunch of girls who work together and are willing to push each other to their limits,” said Rodas. “My returning cheerleaders help the new girls every step of the way whether it was learning a new routine or a new stunt or skill.”

In the Nationals, the cheerleaders will perform a two-and-half-minute routine to music that consists of jumps, a pyramid formation, a tumble pass, and dance and cheer sequences.

“We’ve been working on the routine since September,” said Rodas. “We tweaked it a little bit as we moved on in the competitions. We received feedbacks and critiques from the judges and we improved and added more skills throughout the way.”

A Chelsea Pop Warner cheerleading squad has never won a national championship. The Chelsea Pop Warner ‘A’ football team captured the title in Florida in 2001.

“I’m hoping we can do it,” said Rodas. “Last year was the first time Chelsea made Nationals, so we’ll try to do it again this year. We’re thrilled that we’re competing in Nationals.”

Rodas said the plane trip to Nationals and four-day hotel stay in Florida costs approximately $1,200 per cheerleader. She is hoping that the community will donate to the team’s journey.

 One tremendous supporter of the team has been CPW board member Lidia Pereira, who has also served as cheerleading coordinator for the entire organization.

“Lidia is a greet cheer coordinator,” said Rodas.

Both Rodas and Pereira will be retiring from their positions following the season.

“We hope to go out in style,” said Rodas.

Bruins Beat

by Bob Morello

Bruins’ Middleton receives accolades

It was a well-deserved night for former Bruin Rick Middleton who was honored at The Sports Museum’s 16th The Tradition ceremony on Tuesday night at the TD Garden. The talented and well-liked Middleton received accolades from several former players and observers. His explanation of the days following his May 1976 trade from New York Rangers to Boston Bruins in exchange for Ken Hodge was humorous in the way it was told. “ My very first day I got here, training camp was in Fitchburg MA. I had spent my summers on Long Beach, Long Island where I lived when playing with the Rangers. It’s a summer resort like Hampton Beach where I live now. At the age of 22, decided to stay the summer there and enjoy it. So I drive to Fitchburg without a GPS like they have now, to the ‘lovely’ Holiday Inn. My first meeting with any Bruin outside of Brad Park and Jean Ratelle, who were already here, was when I was walking down the hotel hall and by an open door when I hear “Hey,” and it’s Wayne Cashman in his cowboy boots on and drinking a beer.  I went in the room and had a couple of beers, and I’m thinking I’m going to like this team, I haven’t even got to my room yet.”

“It was a close-knit team and they accepted me right off the bat, even before I ever got on the ice. The first guy I met on the ice was coach Don Cherry, he came over and shook my hand and said “Ricky Boy,” he always called me that… you’re looking a bit bigger, have you been working out? I said no Don; I just had a good summer, which didn’t endear me with Don. But, he did a lot for my career – he taught me how to play the complete game, so by the ‘80s when Gerry Cheever’s was Boston’s head coach, he could use me anywhere on the ice, and I got lots of minutes to get all those points. (400+ goals, Lady Byng Trophy, and his 105 points scored in a season by a right-winger, still remains unbroken).

Bruins legend Johnny Bucyk shared his comments. “Rick deserves this, he’s been a great player, great competitor and skater. I wish I could’ve skated like him, I probably would’ve had added another extra 50 goals to my career totals if I could. Nice guy and I’m very happy for him. I played against him while he was with New York and I can still remember one time when I was going around our net, and he snuck up behind me, caught me, lifted my stick and took the puck away and scored a goal. I will never forgive him for that he made me look like an idiot.

Former Bruin Bruce Crowder who played with Middleton told this story. “We played on one Friday night at the old Garden and we got beat. “Cheesey” (coach Gerry Cheevers) was all upset as we were scheduled to play the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon, which also happened to be Middleton’s birthday. Cheesey never called curfew, but he did that Friday night. “Nifty” (Middleton) missed curfew and we were having trouble finding him in the morning, but he showed up and scored two goals. After the game I was thinking it’s just not fair, I was in bed at 9 o’clock and “Nifty” did get home until around 9 o’clock in the morning and he scored two goals. He was a talented, talented guy, and it was great to get to play with him.”

Bob Sweeney, who played with Rick (and is Boston Bruins Foundation Director of Development), related these comments. “Rick was my first left wing when I broke in with the Bruins in my first full year. As he walks in, perfect timing, and I ask him if he was a left-winger as a right-handed shot, where would he like to receive the puck? He said I don’t know, throw it at my feet and I looked at him funny. In those days I would ask, do you want it on your forehand or backhand? His feet were so amazing he could kick the puck up from his feet up to his stick better than anybody I’ve ever seen.”

Terry O’Reilly was the presenter of Middleton’s award. His comments about the honoree included, “When Rick arrived for his first training camp, he wasn’t in the shape coach Don Cherry required, but by the end of training camp he was in great shape, ad scoring some of the most beautiful and unusual goals you’ll ever see. I’m honored that he picked me as his presenter, we were great friends as teammates, and when I became Bruins head coach, I asked him to share the captaincy with Ray Bourque, thinking that Bourque was still a bit young and Rick had the knowledge and experience to lead that team and have Ray along as captain.

Bruins radio analyst Bob Beers described expressed his opinion via, “Rick is such a classy guy, and I still enjoy watching him play with the Bruins Alumni Team. It bothers me that he has not in the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame. The numbers are there, the captaincy of the Bruins, and even though he hasn’t won a Stanley Cup, there are others already in the Hall who haven’t won a cup either.”

Richard Johnson: Curator The Sports Museum and a historian on many sports subjects gushed with praise in describing Middleton and his career. “Rick’s highlight reel was second only to that of Bobby Orr’s. To have a Bruins player as graceful and skillful and just absolutely humble and modest, so he shared that with Bobby too! He’d score a great goal where you’d just be standing and cheering forever, and he’d hang his head down a little bit, the same way Bobby did, and act as though he is just going about his job. Boy, we miss that…what a player!”

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