Chippewa Valley quarterback Tommy Schuster evades a Belleville High defender Nov. 17 in a D-1 state semifinal.

Chippewa Valley quarterback Tommy Schuster evades a Belleville High defender Nov. 17 in a D-1 state semifinal.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Chippewa Valley football heading to state final

By: Mark Vest | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 17, 2018

TROY— With a 28-16 win against Belleville High in a Division 1 semifinal Nov. 17 at Troy Athens, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley’s football team has advanced to the program’s first state final game since 2001.

 

Chippewa plays Clarkston High at 1 p.m. Nov. 24 at Ford Field in Detroit.

 

Clarkston is the defending D-1 state champion.

 

With the victory, the Big Reds improved to 13-0 this season, which is a program-first, and earned the program its first appearance at a D-1 state title game (Chippewa won a D-2 state championship in 2001).

Belleville finished its season at 12-1.

 

After a late touchdown by Detroit Cass Tech in a regional semifinal ended Chippewa’s season last year, coach Scott Merchant said it was “pretty heartbreaking.”

 

But what was disappointing then may have helped propel the Big Reds to a state final this year.

 

“It’s been a year and a week we’ve been working to get to this point,” Merchant said following his team’s win against Belleville. “That’s kind (of) been our motivation for the whole season, is, every second counts, every play counts. … Our kids played their hearts out; defense played a great game. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point. Our kids are hungry. We got some really talented kids, too. I thought we played a really good football game, all three phases today.”

 

Last year’s game against Cass Tech was also on the mind of senior David Ellis after Chippewa’s semifinal victory.

 

“Last year we were short by 6.8 seconds against Cass Tech,” Ellis said. “Over a year and a week we’ve been preparing for this moment right here. Now we got (to) go and put it all on the line at Ford Field.”

 

The only touchdown in the first quarter came via a 20-yard scoring pass from Chippewa quarterback Tommy Schuster to receiver Martice Bunting.

 

After Belleville got a field goal in the second, Chippewa answered back with a touchdown pass from Schuster to Ellis from 38 yards out.

 

Following an extra point, the Big Reds led 14-3.

 

Belleville’s lone touchdown of the first half came when quarterback Christian Dhue-Reid connected with receiver Darrell Johnson.

 

Chippewa added one more touchdown before the half on a shovel pass from Schuster to Ellis on a 33-yard scoring play.

The Big Reds led 21-10 at the half.

 

Chippewa’s last touchdown came in the fourth on an 11-yard run from Andre Chenault.

With the game already out of hand, Belleville got a late touchdown via a pass from Dhue-Reid to Jalen Williams.

 

Although Chippewa has had other talented teams in recent years, this season’s squad can do some things that can be big difference makers when it comes to playoff football.

 

“We’ve been able to throw the ball for a lot (of) years,” Merchant said. “We can run the football this year, and our defense is playing really, really well since Week 9. I give all the credit to Terry Wilson, our defensive coordinator, and our defensive staff.”

 

Although its running game has come up big for Chippewa this year, Merchant didn’t forget about Schuster.

 

“I think he’s got 23 touchdowns and one interception this year,” Merchant said. “And for no college to offer (him) a scholarship yet is absolutely ridiculous to me.  … He’s a winner. (He) can make plays with his feet, can make (them) with his arm, and he’s the smartest quarterback I’ve ever coached.”