Regional triumph

Chippewa Valley football beats Dearborn Fordson to advance to playoff semifinal

By: Mark Vest | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 10, 2018

 Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior David Ellis fends off a Dearborn Fordson defender on his way to a 99-yard touchdown run during a Division 1 regional Nov. 9. Chippewa won 42-7 to advance to the semifinal round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior David Ellis fends off a Dearborn Fordson defender on his way to a 99-yard touchdown run during a Division 1 regional Nov. 9. Chippewa won 42-7 to advance to the semifinal round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Photo by Sean Work

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township Chippewa Valley football coach Scott Merchant has had nearly a year to think about it.

 

With a lead late in the fourth quarter in a Division 1 regional playoff game against Detroit Cass Tech last year, the Technicians scored a touchdown with less than seven seconds on the game clock to end Chippewa’s season.

 

This year, Chippewa earned its way back to the regional round of the playoffs, and this time there was no opportunity for late-game dramatics, as the Big Reds came away with a dominating 42-7 victory against Dearborn Fordson (10-2) Nov. 9 at home.

 

With the win, the Big Reds improved to 12-0 on the season and advanced to a semifinal for the first time since 2003.

 

Chippewa will play Belleville High (12-0) at 1 p.m. Nov. 17 at Troy Athens.

 

Although the program’s supporters can take ample time to appreciate what Chippewa has accomplished up to this point in the season, Merchant is too pre-occupied with the next task ahead to do that.

 

“Don’t have time to do that when you’re a coach,” Merchant said. “Unfortunately, you can never let down; always looking forward to the next week or how you got (to) improve your football team. That’s what the offseason’s for.”

 

Senior David Ellis has a similar sentiment as that of his coach.

 

“The toughest thing about it is, you can’t really do that until you’re out of it,” Ellis said. “So, we hope to never be out of it until we reach Ford Field. We recognize that we’re doing great things; we’re still undefeated. (We) recognize that it’s a great thing, but unfortunately, we don’t have time to step back and enjoy it. That’s when you get beat.”

 

Chippewa proved to be hard to stop in the first half, as the Big Reds scored five touchdowns.

 

Chippewa’s first-quarter trips to the end zone came via two touchdown runs from Ja’Von Kimpson and a pass from quarterback Tommy Schuster to Ellis.

 

The Big Reds led 21-7 after the first quarter.

 

In the second, after Schuster ran the ball in for a score. The highlight of the game came when Ellis found his way to end zone on a 99-yard touchdown run.

 

The Big Reds led 35-7 at the half.

 

The last score of the game came in the third when Schuster scored on an 8-yard run.

 

Although Chippewa has gotten contributions from a variety of sources, a strong running game and solid defense has been perhaps the two biggest factors in the team’s success this season, and those just happen to be the two strengths many coaches consider to be the key ingredients for winning football.

 

“You win and lose games up front,” Merchant said. “So, you got (to) be able to run the ball, you got (to) be able to defend the run, force teams to throw. But, we can throw the ball, too.”

 

For as good as Chippewa has been, there is still something Merchant would like to see from his team going forward.

 

“I’d like to see us clean up some stuff on our kickoff team,” he said. “I’m not happy with all the return yards we gave up. But, I’m splitting hairs there. Our kids are playing well. We just got (to) keep it going.”

 

In their three postseason victories this year, the Big Reds have outscored their opponents 127-24.

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