CHS football team edges South Boston with 2nd half comeback
The Chelsea High football team turned in another impressive performance to claim its second straight win and third in four games with a come-from-behind, 16-12 victory over South Boston this past Saturday.
Southie jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening period thanks to a 95 yard drive that culminated with a 28 yard touchdown pass.
A tremendous punt by Nick Ieng from the CHS 30 had pinned Southie at its own five yard line, but an effective running game dug Southie out of a deep hole that eventually led to the TD play via the air. Red Devil David Bui had sacked the Southie quarterback for a 10-yard loss on the drive, but it did not stop the Southie momentum.
The Chelsea offense meanwhile, proved unable to generate much of anything. The Red Devils went three-and-out on their first possession and then fumbled on their next possession, turning the ball over to Southie at the CHS 22.
However, Red Devil Bryan Rivas made a huge defensive play on first down when he intercepted a Southie pass and returned it to the CHS 18 yard line.
“That was a big play by Brian to make the pick,” said CHS head coach Jack Halas. “Southie had just recovered a fumble and took a shot at the end zone. We were able to respond well and get the interception to keep the game from opening up.”
The Red Devil offense continued to struggle however, and returned the favor to Southie with an interception that set up Southie at the CHS 19.
South Boston appeared in prime shape to forge into the end zone when they had a first down at the CHS six. However, the Red Devil “D” came up with another big play when freshman defensive lineman Victor Lopez broke through the line and stripped the ball from the Southie running back. Chelsea’s Nelson Hernandez recovered the loose pigskin at the CHS 14 to thwart the Southie scoring bid as the half came to an end.
“It was another great response by our kids,” noted Halas. “We stood tough and came up big when we had to with our backs against the wall. It was an excellent play by Victor.”
Chelsea’s frustrations on offense continued at the start of the second half, with the Red Devils turning the ball over on downs at the Southie 44 after taking the opening kickoff.
The Chelsea defense forced South Boston to punt and the Red Devils ended up on their own 45 after a Southie penalty for an early hit on punt return man Nick Ieng. The CHS offense then finally kicked into gear. Ieng was the principal man-of-attack for Chelsea with some nice runs and took in a pass reception from quarterback Luis Jimenez that brought the ball to the Southie 17.
Jimenez took to the airwaves again and found Ieng for a TD connection. Bui ran in the two-point conversion untouched to give the Red Devils an 8-6 advantage.
However, South Boston responded in lightning-quick fashion with a screen pass on a second-and-eight that went for a 68 yard touchdown and a 12-8 lead.
“Obviously, that was not the way we wanted to defend the tunnel screen,” said Halas. “We read it too slowly and didn’t tackle well. But being able to defend the South Boston two-point conversion once again proved huge in the victory.”
However, the Red Devils refused to concede the momentum to South Boston. Chelsea started on its own 31 and had a third-and-short from the 39 when Ieng broke a long run for what would prove to be the winning touchdown. Jimenez tossed a pass to Ieng for the conversion and a 16-12 CHS lead.
On the ensuing South Boston possession, Ieng picked off a desperation Southie pass on a third-and-very-long. The CHS offense appeared to stall out at its own 43 on a fourth-and-two, but Halas gambled and the Red Devils made the first down. Although Chelsea failed to pick up another first down and punted the ball — with Ieng making a game-saving tackle at the Southie 38 — the CHS defense eventually would hold firm as time ran out.
“Being able to pick up the first down on fourth-and-two was big for us,” said Halas. “We should have closed the game out on offense, but South Boston had some fight in them too. We really did not cover that punt very well and were lucky that Nick Ieng saved the day. That gave us a shot to win it on defense.”
The final series of the game proved to be a bit of a nail-biter, as Southie converted a fourth-and-26 from their own 46 to bring the ball to the CHS 28.
Another successful Southie pass set up a second-and-one at the CHS 19. An incomplete pass brought up third down, but freshman Edwar Escobar broke through to sack the Southie quarterback for a five yard loss. A Southie toss into the end zone was batted down by Bui to preserve the victory.
“That was just a crazy last possession by South Boston,” noted Halas. “We had them in fourth-and-26, yet they converted a first down. We knew they had to go to the air, and we were trying to get some pressure on their quarterback. The third down sack by Edwar was clutch, and David Bui made an excellent play on the final play to secure the win.
“I was very proud of the way the boys competed,” continued Halas. “We were down 6-0 at halftime and did not have much going offensively. We made a couple of adjustments, the boys continued to fight, and we were able to come from behind twice in the ballgame to get a victory. It was a good character win for our football team.”
The Red Devils will seek their third straight win tonight (Thursday) with a 6:45 encounter at Burke High School. A victory tonight and in the Thanksgiving Day finale against Matignon would provide a 5-6 final record and conclude the season with four straight victories.
CHS soccer team edged in state tourney
The Chelsea High boys soccer team turned in one of its best efforts of the season, but came up short in a 2-1 loss to North Andover in a first-round contest of the MIAA Division 2 North Sectional of the state soccer tournament.
Coach Mick Milutinovic’s Red Devils took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half when senior Melvin Gare, who has become a huge factor for Chelsea in the latter third of the season, delivered a perfect strike on a direct kick from just outside the box into the top corner of the No. Andover net.
Chelsea was awarded the kick when Humberto Suarez was taken down from behind by a No. Andover defender as he broke in on goal. The play earned the No. Andover player a yellow card, though it just as easily could have been a red card (which would have left No. Andover a player short for the rest of the game) and a penalty kick for the Red Devils.
The Red Devils continued to press in their offensive end, but could not find the finishing touch to deliver the ball into the back of the No. Andover net.
No. Andover then netted a tying goal with six minutes to play in the half, leaving matters at level as the teams headed into the intermission.
No. Andover then forged ahead with a marker with 20 minutes to play. Despite their best efforts, the Red Devils were unable to attain the equalizer, bringing an end to their season.
“We never gave up,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki. “We fought hard right to the end and left everything on the field.”
Cartagena CAC MVP; four named all-stars
Post-season accolades for members of the Chelsea High boys soccer team, the co-champs of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference Large Division, were announced this week.
Carlos Cartagena was named the league’s co-Most Valuable Player and teammates Kevin Umanzor-Torres, Carlos Cruz, Angel Ruiz, and Humberto Suarez were named CAC all-stars.
All are seniors but for Umanzor-Torres, who is a junior.
CHS runners participate at State Coaches Meet; Deras, Martinez medalists
Last Saturday, eight Chelsea high school runners competed at the Frank Mooney State Coaches meet. There was a freshman race, a sophomore race, and a junior/senior race.
In the freshman race, Demitrius Martinez went out at a 5:27 mile in the Division I 3K race and finished strong with a 15th place performance in the field of 335 runners to earn a medal.
“Demetrius ran a very aggressive race,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “It was over a mile shorter than what he is used to, so he went out real strong in a very crowded race and finished in the top five percent in the race. I was very impressed with the mile time. I know Demitrius was disappointed with just missing CAC all-star status last week, so this was a good redemption race for him.”
Fellow freshman Abraham Barrientos finished in 192nd position with a time of 12:26 out of three hundred and thirty five runners.
For the girls, freshman Karina Avalos ran 15:52 for the 3K course, in 182nd spot.
Yarid Deras, the Commonwealth Athletic Conference champion, finished in 10th place in the Division I sophomore race to earn medal from among the field of 180 contestants.
“Yarid went out strong with the lead pack and got pulled along with the fast pace,” said Fay. “I was thinking top-20 would be a good race for her, but once again she exceeded expectations.
Yarid’s time of 21:04 was a personal best for 3.1 miles (5K) and was also the fastest time ever for a Chelsea girl on the Wrentham course.
Wuilfido Hernandex ran 21:50 and finished in 300th spot (out of 378 runners) in the Division I boys sophomore race.
The Red Devils were represented by a trio of CHS runners in the junior/senior race. Junior Jose Leclerc ran 18:05 for the 5K course, a fine 64th place finish from a huge field of 528 runners, which ranked Jose in the top 12 percent of finishers. This was also the fastest time ever by a Chelsea boy on the Wrentham course.
Senior captain Adriel Cedano came across in 19:40 (237th place) and junior Alex Pedrero finished in 19:47 (259th place).
“I thought we had a tremendous day considering the caliber of competition we faced today,” said Fay. “We had two medalists, the best freshman times ever, and we had had our fastest male and female times today. We represented Chelsea well this weekend.”
This Saturday, the girls will have two competitors at the Division 2 class meet in Wrentham, Yarid Deras and Jocelyn Poste. The boys will have the same six runners from last week competing in the Division 2 5K race.
“Our future looks bright for the boys, as we only have one senior in our top six for next year,” noted Fay.