Detroit, MI.- Friday night the Edwardsburg Eddie’s earned their school’s first championship in a boys sport as they rushed over the Chelsea Bulldogs 28-7. Edwardsburg, located on the Southwest side of Michigan near the Indiana border, a mere 20 minutes from Notre Dame University, is a small village of only about 1,500 people but they all came out in full force making the 3-hour trip to cheer their team on to victory.
The Eddies came close to a championship before when they were defeated by Grand Rapids Catholic Central in 2017 42-31 but this year it was the Eddies defeating GRCC to get back to the championship winning in overtime 46-44. This was only the second time the Eddies ever played the Bulldogs, winning in overtime 42-40 in a regional final in 2016.
The Bulldogs received the opening kick and quickly went 3 and out and had to punt. The eddies took the punt and drove down the field but on a fourth down the Eddies were stopped giving the Bulldogs great field position. But Chelsea quarterback Quinn Starkey’s deep pass to Mitch Reynolds in the end zone was picked off by the Eddies Junior Bryce Blue. The Eddies then drove the ball down the field using their power wing T running game and Caden Goggins finished the drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown. Isaiah Mitchell took the ball in up the middle for the 2 point conversion for an early 8-0 lead.
The Bulldogs took the ball in the second quarter and capped off a 7 play, 64-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Starkey to Hunter Neff. Drew Lewis made the point after.
The Eddies next drive was stalled on a fourth down stop once again by the Bulldogs. But after the Bulldogs drove for 3 first downs it was Conner Nelson of the Eddies picking off another Starkey pass setting the Eddies up with great field position. But 3 plays later the Bulldogs forced a fumble giving them the ball at the Eddie’s 40.
With less than just 4 minutes left to go in the half, the Bulldogs went to work again using the clock and getting the ball down to the Eddies 5 yard line but were unable to punch the ball into the end zone as the Eddie defense dug in deep for the hold. The Bulldogs attempted a 23-yard field goal by Lewis but it was wide right sending the teams into the locker room with an Edwardsburg 8-7 lead.
The Eddies received the ball after a great halftime show by both schools incredibly talented marching bands and their head coach Kevin Bartz must have made some adjustments because they drove down the field quickly with 83 yards in 12 plays where Mac Gaideski hammered the ball into the end zone for a 5-yard score. After another converted 2 point conversion the Eddies took a 16-7 lead.
Chelsea drove the ball well down the field on the ensuing drive but the Eddies defense were able to come up with two sacks on Starkey and in a territory too far for a field goal the Bulldogs went for it on fourth and 16 but Starkey’s pass to Neff was incomplete to end the third quarter.
The Eddies drove the ball right back down the field but on a fourth and 4 Nehemiah Mite and Cooper Mattson came up with the big stop to give the ball back to the Bulldogs on their own 5-yard line. Chelsea had a 4th and 1 after a personal foul was called on the Eddies but a false start made the try a more difficult 4th and 6 and Starkeys underneath pass to Neff came up short. The Eddies then got their third score of the night in 3 plays from 22 yards out when Tre’ Harvey ran it in from 5 out and with a failed 2 point conversion gave the Eddies a more comfortable 22-7 lead.
Chelsea took over at their own 31 and Starkey hit his favorite target Neff for a big 18-yard game but the Eddies Drew Bidwell forced a fumble with a hard hit which was recovered by Cayden Calhoun giving the ball to them at their own 47.
Caden Goggins took the handoff from his quarterback Harvey and busted free on a right side sweep for a 53-yard score putting the icing on the cake and giving the Eddies a 28-7 lead and after their defense came up big once more, the team’s first championship.
“I don’t even know if I can put it into words right now,” Edwardsburg Head Coach Bartz said. “It’s just a phenomenal feeling to have these kids have the success they’ve had to get our program to the level it is right now. I am thrilled for our team and community.”
Edwardsburg finished a perfect 14-0 on the season while Chelsea finished at 10-4. The Eddies had zero yards passing as the run game is their forte. Harvey only attempted 2 passes in this game and 14 all year. The Eddies outgained the Bulldogs on the ground 382 yards to 69. Goggins finished with 127 yards on 5 carries with two scores, while Chase Harvey finished with 119 yards on 14 carries. The Eddies quarterback Harvey had 68 yards on 10 carries and a score.
The Bulldogs were led on offense by Aaron McDaniels with 37 yards on 13 carries while Starkey threw for 178 yards and a score. Neff led all receivers with 103 yards on 10 catches and the lone Bulldog score.
The Eddies defense put up big numbers sacking Starkey 5 times with Dillon Hursh finishing with 14 tackles, 1 sack and 3 tackles for loss. Dylan McColley and Drew Bidwell each had 9 tackles with 1 tackle for loss each, with McColley getting a sack also. The Bulldogs defense was led by Junior lineman Daniel Golding with 9 tackles including 1 for a loss, while Ryan Somodi finished with 7.
“We were here last year and got the jitters out the way,” Eddies Senior Austin Routheaux said. “We were here to win. Since last year, we have been prepping and trying to get this moment and have a perfect season. It is a great way to end it.”