Chelsea Proud at Ford Field


Photo by Julia Hanselman

Black Friday at Ford Field was flooded with a sea of blue and gold as Chelsea took the field and the state championship title for the MHSAA Finals. Chelsea scored a victory against Hudsonville Unity Christian with a score of 55-52.

“I’m literally so beyond excited,” Mya Spadafore (‘22) said. “I literally cannot sit still, it’s just so exciting that so many people came out to support the team, it feels great.”

The last time that the Bulldogs played at Ford Field in the state finals was in 2018, and this is the first time Chelsea has won the state championship title in the playoffs. The last time Chelsea held that title was 1977 before the playoffs were established.

“I thought we were going to go into overtime, but when we recovered the ball and got to attempt that field goal, I knew the game was ours,” Jaden Sprinkle (‘23) said. “We made the game-winning field goal with 3 seconds until the end.”

The dogs took a strong 14 point lead right off the bat but Unity came back fighting and when the 4th quarter started, Unity held a 52 to 24 lead. Chelsea kept the energy up throughout the game and made an incredible 28 point comeback in the fourth quarter, forcing three fumbles and and a game winning field goal brought home the championship.

“We knew at halftime that we would have to play better to have a chance at winning the game,” running back Trenton Hill (‘22) said. ‘ [The whole team] stepped up, and I feel like the energy that we brought coming out of halftime is what gave us the chance to win.”

This was definitely the most nail-biting game of the season. Every back and fourth had the spectators holding their breath.

“We’re really good under pressure, and this is a really well-coached game,” Andi Evers (‘22) said. “These types of games are the best ones.”

The football players held on strong, even on the unfamiliar turf. Playing at a pro stadium may be a new experience for most players, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not an incredible one.

“It was crazy,” defensive end Braden Watson (‘23) said. “Everything was so much bigger than usual, we just had to play our game”

The team had lots of help getting to this point. Next to the football team’s precise plays, what stood out most was the student section. Tons of Chelsea students made the drive to Detroit to watch the game.

“I think the most exciting part about being here is just the energy.” Katelyn Hackett (‘22) said. “Everyone’s ready, they’re all cheering and getting super loud.”

The stands were coated in blue and gold, everyone ready to see Chelsea play. On top of the clothes and face paint in the school colors, spectators brought signs, photos, noisemakers, and light-ups to show their support. Perhaps the most noticeable of those were the large cutout photos of players’ faces.

“I have Logan Kilgore (‘22) on my sign, he’s on defense, a safety,” Spadafore said. “The moms actually made these, we wanted them because they’re our friends out there, so we want to show support in any way that we can.

The football players were cheered on all night long by students, families, and community members alike.

“Even though I’m not that big of a football fan, I came out tonight to support Chelsea,” Anna Carter (‘24) said. “I am so excited to see what happens tonight!”

The love and support for Chelsea was all over Ford Field. While the players were on the field, the CHS Cheer team was keeping the energy up from the sidelines.

Photo from @willow.m.rowe on Instagram.

“I’m very excited to cheer at this game,” Lydia Matusko (‘24) said. “It’s a very big deal for our town and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Along with the teams, The Pride of Chelsea Bulldog Marching Band made the trip to Detroit to play on the field.

“This is an incredible opportunity to perform at a pro stadium and cheer on the Chelsea team,” band director Alison Roberts said. “We’re thrilled to get to perform and support the players.”

Aside from their Let the Sunshine In halftime show, they played the Star-Spangled Banner during pregame and tons of tunes in the stands to keep the energy up.

Photo from @clinton_nichols_0 on Instagram.

“As [Mr. Catherman] once said: ‘Chelsea band,’ that’s it,” Zach Breining (‘22) said. “They bring all the energy and spirit.”

And bring the energy and spirit they did. The band played all night long, with nice loud renditions of ‘Let’s Go Blue’ and ‘Chelsea High’ to cheer the team on to victory.

“It’s never over until it’s over, and I’m happy that the bulldogs are continuing to fight, even when they are behind,” drummer  Nick Detterman (‘22) said. “It’s definitely an exciting game, it’s so fun to come out to Ford Field and it’s a great way to end my senior year football season.”

Detterman was later heard screaming “that’s what I’m talking about, never say die!” after Chelsea came from behind and tied up the score.

Although going to Ford Field for the finals isn’t exactly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, this was a once-in-a-lifetime football game. The spirit and energy from the crowd was unbelievable, and everyone was on their toes all night.

“The experience was unbelievable, truly something special,” quarterback Lucas Dunn (‘22) said, riding high on the win.

This experience will surely stick with the bulldogs for years to come. The game was filled with unexpected twists and turns with every play.

“Overall it was just a crazy game,” Hill said. “I feel like we really came together as a team and kept playing hard throughout the whole game.”

The Bulldog’s hard work definitely played off. The team owes a special thanks to senior Hunter Shaw for making the game-winning kick, 3 seconds from the end of the game.

“It was a great feeling,” Shaw said. “I was in my zone, maybe a little nervous but I just kept calm.”

Shaw and the team celebrated the victory together as soon as the game was theirs.

“It was nice to be back in the city and to be a state champ,” Shaw said. “The coolest part of the game was definitely the comeback.”

Chelsea fought hard for this victory. It was clear to everyone watching the game that they deserved the win. It is safe to say that everyone there that night was proud to be a Bulldog.

“Yeah, it was crazy,” head coach Josh Lucas said. “[In the second half ] we came back, battled back and gave ourselves a chance again, it was unbelievable.”

The game showed off all of the work that has been put into this season. Lucas couldn’t be more proud of his players.

“It feels really good [to be state champs],” Lucas said. “These kids, they work extremely hard.”

He called out the seniors on the field for leading the way for the younger players.

“This is a great senior class of 37 seniors,” Lucas said. “They all bought into what we’re preaching and selling and came together at the last opportunity to bring us the championship, it’s never been done before in school history.”

Lucas also pointed out that this win meant that the Bulldogs went 14-0 in this season. Just another reason this game was so phenomenal and record-breaking.

“It was great for our community,” Lucas said. “It was awesome to see, a great atmosphere and our fans were right behind us. We had everyone, the band, the cheerleaders, the students, parents and families. It was our community out there. It was just an unbelievable night and one that I’ll never forget.”