The 95 heart beats that beat as one said good bye for the final time Friday night after Chelsea (9-2) dropped a bitter 30-22 decision to Haslett (8-3) in a Division 4 District Final.
Bulldogs coach Josh Lucas watched his boys tap one another on the shoulder pads as they said tearful “good byes” and “good season” toward one another. This is the most difficult time for Lucas, packing up the shoulder pads and wishing his boys good luck.
“Yeah it’s the worst,” Lucas said. “It’s not the way we wanted to end it but at the end of the day there is only one happy team at the end and that’s the one that wins the state championship. They gave it their all but Haslett made more plays than we did. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Some players took a knee and watched Haslet players celebrate with their district championship trophy in hand. Eventually everyone walked away in silence to begin basketball training or to allow the bones to heal after a long and rewarding bounce back season.
Haslett moves on to a regional final contest at Goodrich (10-1) either Friday night or Saturday afternoon.
“We are the road warriors,” said Haslett Coach Brad Thomas. “We keep showing up and playing as hard as we can.”
The Bulldogs are done because they could not slow down Bowling Green commit quarterback Nakai Amachree who rushed for 358 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries. Amachree is more likely to play running back for BGSU than quarterback.
He is a combination of patience, sleight of hand and explosiveness. Once he broke free from Chelsea’s defensive front it was lights out. His style is quite different than that of Chelsea star running back Tyson Hill (212 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries).
Amachree dances and burns. Hill punishes and churns. It made for a delightful evening of football, although the Bulldogs hoped for a different outcome.
The Bulldogs stayed in the game mostly because of three Haslet turnovers. Nakai’s younger brother Kory who played with a torn labrum fumbled once and Nakai coughed it up once late in the first half.
Chelsea fell behind 30-16 midway through the fourth quarter but tried to rally behind the pass-catch combination of quarterback Luke Anstead and receiver Max Herter.