The Chelsea High varsity football team extended its outstanding start to 3-0 on Friday with a 29-0 win over Greater Lowell. The Red Devils have outscored their three opponents by a combined 109-12, and their starting defensive unit has yet to be scored upon.
Unlike the previous two games, which became lopsided routs before halftime, this one was up for grabs until late in the game. The first half was a tale of two defenses that bent but refused to be broken by their opponents. But the Red Devils made the Gryphons blink first in second quarter when they capped a 99-yard drive with a one-yard rush by quarterback Nelson Molina.
The epic drive may have worn the Gryphons down to the breaking point, and the halftime rest was not enough for them to regain their legs. Chelsea scored again late in the third quarter on a three-yard run by David Cortes, who rushed for another touchdown mid-way through the fourth quarter. Juan Martinez kicked his third extra point of the game to make it 21-0.
Later in the fourth, Troy Crossley rushed for a 20-yard touchdown that made it 27-0. Chelsea tacked on a two-point conversion when Molina fielded a bad snap and fired it Cortes in the endzone to cap the scoring. The touchdown highlighted a superb outing from Crossley, who had 100 all-purpose yards and grabbed a pair of interceptions on defense. In addition to his three extra points, Martinez had 65 yards on five carries and a pair of fumble recoveries on defense.
The still-unscored-upon starting defense also got quality performances from Cortes at middle linebacker, Felix Torres at defensive end, and Justin Saez, who had five unassisted tackles and two assists playing on the defensive line and linebacking core.
“The first-team defense has really been doing an outstanding job,” noted head coach Mike Stellato. “They’ve come in very aggressive and they know their reads. Coming into the season with experience on both sides, I thought the defense would be effective and, so far, they haven’t disappointed in any way.”
As impressive as the first three games have been, Stellato expects his team to understand the importance of not being satisfied and continuing to improve. After all, his veteran players will no doubt remember that last year’s team won three of their first four games only to stumble to a 4-7 finish by season’s end.
Chelsea will have the chance to equal last year’s win total by the end of this week when they host Mystic Valley on Friday night at Chelsea High.
“I think we’re going to have to take it one game at a time,” said Stellato. “That, and stay away from the injury bug. Injuries are something that really hurt us last year.”
The girls soccer Devils are now 3-3 after a 5-1 win over Pope John XXIII on Tuesday. Katerin Romero scored a pair of goals, while Chelsea got individual scores from Elsi Cruz, Michelle Le and Victoria Perez. The scores for Le and Perez were their first goals of the season. Perez and Cindy Cruz split time in the net and were both effective. The team also got a lift from sophomore forward Zuleima Castillo, who impressed with her play at forward in just her second game of the season, and from Analisha Centeno, who was among the leaders of the team’s defensive effort.
Chelsea was not so fortunate last Thursday against Mystic Valley, who beat the Red Devils, 3-2. Mystic Valley got off to a hot start and led, 3-0, at the half, but Chelsea cut the deficit to one with just five minutes gone in the second half thanks to goals from Naomi Mejia and Katarin Romero. Yury Morales was a key factor in the second-half turnaround for the Chelsea defense, which did not allow a goal after the break.
The Red Devils will try to get over .500 today when they play on the road against Northeast Metro.
Boys and Girls
The boys and girls cross country teams split their tri-meet against Whittier Tech and Mystic Valley last Wednesda with both teams defeating Whittier but falling to Mystic Valley.
The boys lost to Mystic Valley, 20-41, but beat Whittier by a score of 26-33. Ugo Cvjetan led the way for the boys, finishing first against Mystic Valley and second against Whittier (the first time the Cvjetan has been beaten in a race by any runner this season). Santos Hernandez, Luis Hernandez, Brandon Rath and Hector Mendoza were the other top runners for Chelsea with respective overall finishes of fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth.
The girls beat Whittier, 20-39, but were defeated, 22-37 by Mystic Valley. Anelsa Beqo finished third overall to lead the team. Her time of 25:08 beat her previous personal best by a full 51 seconds. Thien-Ly Che, who finished fourth overall, also set a new personal best with a time of 25:47, 33 seconds better than her previous mark. Freshman Kadiatu Kamara (eighth overall), Bahiya Nasuuna (fourteenth), Shandalee Colon (seventheenth) and Daisy Mejia (eighteenth) rounded out the scoring for Chelsea.
Both teams are now 4-1 and will travel Billerica next week for a tri-meet against Shawsheen Tech and Greater Lawrence.