Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Shreffler Family Benefit Set for January 22

Join Hillsdale alumni and friends Saturday night January 22nd for a fabulous dinner and reverse raffle at Savarino's Next Door in Hillsdale. Doors will open at 6:00 PM with the grand prize of $2000 drawn around 10:00 PM. A silent auction and side raffle for a variety of gift baskets will also be held. Here is a listing of the reverse raffle prizes available:

2 prizes of $250
10 prizes of $100

All money raised will benefit Charger offensive line coach Nate Shreffler's family. Nate's wife Jill was diagnosed this August with Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer. The family has bravely fought the disease and continues to see progress in Jill's health. The Shreffler's have 3 young girls between ages 1 and 5. Nate played offensive line for Hillsdale from 1989-1993.

Raffle tickets cost $75.00 each and include dinner. Companion tickets for dinner cost $25. Raffle participants need not be present to win. Only 250 tickets are available and may be purchased by sending a check to event organizer:

John Waldvogel
204 Barnard
Hillsdale, MI 49242

If you would like to make a straight donation, have items for the silent auction, or can help in any way please email Andy Losik for more information.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Lockerroom Renovations Underway-Your Help Needed

Big improvements are on the way to the Hillsdale football lockerroom! Last season, a wall was removed, doubling the size of the facility by expanding into the old women's lockerroom. Since then, a mondo surface has replaced the carpet and ceiling tiles have been removed to "open up" the room for increase airflow. Equipment and laundry needs were also addressed by the installation on new doors.

"The changes we made last year have already made a big difference," Head Coach Keith Otterbein noted. "But, when this is all done, it is going to be one of the best facilities at this level and as good as many places at the (division 1) level. I spend a lot time watching interviews with NFL players and looking at what type of set-ups they have."

Plans to further open up the room for more of a team atmosphere, relocate toilets and showers, and install 99 top of the line wood finished lockers are moving forward and should be completed by August.

A Locker Sponsorship Program has been inititiated to offset the costs of the project as well as help to perpetuate the tradition and history of the 113 years of Charger football! All Charger football alumni are encouraged to take a place of honor in the new lockerroom by sponsoring a locker through a gift of $1000. Sponsorship includes a plaque displaying the Alum's name, position played, and years of participation on the locker currently occupied by the player with the same number. A miniature locker will be provided in recognition of participation. Involvement in this project also entitles parcipants to membership in the Gridiron Club.

Completion of the project will greatly improve the functionality of the football lockerroom and will be a very positive improvement to show potential student-athletes during the recruitment process.

Monday, December 20, 2004

10 GLIAC Players Named to Cactus Bowl Roster

Ten players from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will participate in the 2005 Whataburger Cactus Bowl All-Star game in Kingston, TX. A week of practice and performing for NFL scouts will culminate with a 6:35 PM kickoff on Friday January 7.

From Grand Valley are corner Lucius Hawkins and DT Keyonta Marshall. From Ferris are OLB Kevin Meyers and DT Whitney Bell. Northwood sends corner Martel Foster and DE Chris Wilson. Representing Saginaw Valley are OT Todd Harremans and safety Corey Gonzales. Ryan Wettstein, a punter from Northern MI and Joe Berger, an OT from Michigan Tech will also participate.

All GLIAC players will be members of the East All Stars. The Cactus Bowl showcases the top graduating seniors in NCAA Division II football.

Full 2005 East Roster

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Special Thanks to Jack Hittinger, Hillsdale Collegian

I would like to personally thank Hillsdale's Jack Hittinger for featuring in a November issue of the college's newspaper. The more we can spread the word about this website, the more Charger fans we can bring together.

Hillsdale Collegian- Alumnus creates Charger football site

Hillsdale Collegian- Outstanding Scholar Athlete Jake Welch

Senior Jake Welch battled through injuries to become a successful center

By Trinity Graeser
Collegian Reporter
According to head coach Keith Otterbein, senior Jake Welch is a "really sharp football player" who "understands 'the pit.'"

"He understands all of the communication and intricacies of the game - the difference between a block and almost a block, those subtle things," Otterbein said.

A finance major with minors in biology and chemistry, Welch, who is from Eaton, Ohio, played football all five years he has been at the Dale.

Welch has played center for the Chargers for the last two years. Before that, he played starting guard, and he played center and defensive tackle and guard in high school for six years.

As center, "I'm basically in the middle of everything," Welch said. "I have a lot of control over what goes on in the line."

Full Story

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Former Charger Tailback Jason Ross Breaking into Bobsledding Elite

Detroit Free Press (



December 14, 2004

It was the strangest place to find the fourth and final member of his bobsled team. But that's what happened.

Driver Mike Kohn's four-man sled had wrecked in practice, and the 2002 Olympic bronze medalist was concerned about the well-being of his crew. Upon learning the guys weren't injured, only sore, Kohn said: "The day is done."

Apparently, though, it wasn't for everyone. One of the push athletes the pilot had been trying out that day, a 28-year-old rookie from a small town in Michigan -- that was all Kohn knew about him -- had made his way back to the top of the hill.

Jason Ross was warming up.

"What are you doing?" Kohn asked.

"I'm ready to go again," Ross replied.

Kohn was stunned.

"And that's when I knew, this was my guy," he said.

Kohn was speaking by phone last week from Igls, Austria, where Ross, from Napoleon Township in Jackson County, was scheduled to compete in his third straight World Cup event as a member of Kohn's team.

"The crash didn't faze him," Kohn continued. "It was like taking a hit in football."

Three months into his new career as a push athlete, Ross has continued to impress Kohn and the entire U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.

The start push is crucial in bobsled. Ask Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios, who has endured a couple of tumultuous runs on the smaller America's Cup circuit with the Greek team. Push athletes must be in top physical condition to sprint for about 50 meters while pushing a 462-pound sled from the starting block to gain momentum.

Ross pushes from the left side of the bobsled, sprinting down an icy track in spike-soled shoes before hopping in and tucking into the third seat, between Kohn's other regular first-teamers, pusher Ivan Radcliff of Houston, a Harvard graduate from Houston, and brakeman Lorenzo Smith III, a West Point graduate from Kankakee, Ill.

For certain, Ross is in a position that seemed unlikely a year ago, when he was a student at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. He graduated this fall and turned down an offer to join a chiropractic practice in Grand Rapids to begin a career that could lead him all the way to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

As luck would have it, Ross has put his degree to use.

"He's a great athlete," said U.S. men's coach Tuffy Latour, "and a heck of a chiropractor."

Kohn said: "I told him that we probably need to take up a collection from all these people who use him on the team -- and I want 10 percent. Other countries are coming over and asking about him now. A guy from Monaco and a couple of Canadians came up at training" in Germany. "They say, 'Can I come by your hotel later?' "

Those who know Ross best say the small town where he grew up has played a significant role in his newfound profession.

Napoleon Township (population 6,962) is 10 miles east of Jackson. Folks there remember Ross as a star athlete with undeniable determination, a soft-spoken student who pedaled his bike twice a day, three days a week, to the high school in the summer to work out in the weight room. Ross lived five miles from school.

He was the kid so loyal to team rules that during an interview, he once made a female reporter sprint with him to practice at the football field because, as his football coach always said, "Once you reach the fence, you start runnin'."

Ross, who graduated from Napoleon High in 1994, was an all-state running back in football and state champion in the 200-meter dash his senior year.

A decade later, Ross' work ethic is still used as an example at the school.

"We still do some of the drills that he used to do for himself," said math teacher Don Baxter, the football coach at Napoleon the past 18 years. "When he told me about trying out (for bobsled), it didn't surprise me the least."

The youngest of Larry Ross and Lori Tsutsui's five children, Jason Ross turned down an academic scholarship at Michigan to play football and run track at Hillsdale College, where he graduated in 1998 with degrees in biology and physical education.

Hoping for a shot in pro football, he hooked up with a recruiter and spent six months at a developmental camp in Orlando, where he worked out during the day and loaded boxes at a shipping company at night.

"This guy was supposed to bring in scouts to perform for, like a combine," Ross said. "But after a while, it was pretty obvious that the guy was pretty shady. After so many months of working out and never seeing anything happen, I left."

From there, Ross began traveling to combines on his own. He drove to Louisiana for tryouts with a Canadian Football League team. He went to Arizona and Atlanta. Finally, in 2000, after Ross wasn't called back after making it to the final 40 hopefuls at a tryout for the now-defunct XFL, he decided it was time to let go of his dream of playing pro football.

So he went back to school. At Palmer College, he kept fit between classes by lifting weights in the school gym. In July 2001, someone mentioned that he should try out for the rugby team. Ross not only made the team, he was so good that he earned a scholarship that paid his tuition.

The next season, Ross was in the weight room, rehabbing a dislocated shoulder he had suffered in a game, when he was approached by Palmer's director of rehabilitation and sports injury. The man's name was David Juehring, and he was a former national champion in skeleton -- which is sledding headfirst -- and bobsled. He was also a former bobsled coach.

"He said, 'Hey, you should think about bobsled; I think you'd be a good pusher,' " Ross recalled. "I kept it in the back of my mind."

In December 2003, Ross surfed the Internet and found the U.S. Bobsled Web site ( He then clicked on a heading that said: "How to make the team."

The first step was easy enough: Send his athletic resume. Then he noticed he needed to submit a series of times and scores to prove his athletic ability. So he asked a friend, Eric Trato of Millington, to serve as his statistician.

"We went to the track, and I started to throw down some times," Ross said. "I did everything. I wasn't sure what was important and what was not. And I had no idea if they were good or not."

Ross, who's 5-feet-9 and 200 pounds, sprinted 30 meters in 3.72 seconds. He did the 60 in 6.76. Then it was off to the weight room, where Ross power-cleaned 287 pounds and followed that with 485 for the squat.

Ross e-mailed his results to the bobsled federation.

And then he waited.

And waited.

After three months, nothing.

So he sent a follow-up e-mail to Latour, who subsequently invited Ross to a push camp in the summer in Lake Placid, N.Y. Latour, who says he receives about 300 inquiries a year, recalled that Ross stood out right away at the camp.

"Not many people can come out and in a week's time do very, very well -- especially rookies," Latour said.

Kohn, a former pusher, was more emphatic.

"From a technical aspect, Jason was the most natural-looking pusher I'd ever seen," he said. "We didn't have to do much coaching with him. All of us were like, 'Wow. This guy has never pushed a sled before?'

"We had a side-push instruction. I did the demonstration, then said, 'Whoever wants to go, go.' I stepped back, and Jason was the first to step up. He ran the sled down the hill as far as he could go. He got on and he looked as natural as a guy who's been doing it for four, five years.

"But this was on land, not ice. I told myself, 'OK, he looks good. Let's see what he can do on ice.' "

So Kohn invited Ross to a camp in Calgary, Alberta, in late August. Ross was on fire. Again.

"He was ripping and tearing each time he went down the track -- full speed, pushing his guts out every time," Kohn said. "But then, as the camp progressed, he was starting to get a little worse and a little worse each time. We thought, 'What's going on here?' "

Kohn talked to Ross, who told him he had tweaked a groin muscle.

Kohn was alarmed.

"If you're hurt, stop," he told him. "I don't want it to get any worse; you have a shot at making the team."

That incident alone, in Kohn's eyes, was as important as anything else Ross did that week.

"I liked the fact that he didn't use his injury as a crutch; he did the best with what he had," Kohn said.

At the final camp, Kohn had nine finalists for three spots on his sled.

He put his first group together: Radcliff and Smith III -- they were both on Kohn's team last season -- and Ross.

With Kohn in the driver's seat, the foursome flew down the track. When it was over, Kohn knew he had his crew.

Now it's three months later, "and that kind of brings us to here," Ross said.

Ross was on the phone. It was Sunday night, and he was speaking from his hotel room in Austria, where he had been scheduled to make his first-ever World Cup start in a two-man event with Kohn until he strained his right calf muscle five minutes before Saturday's race. The injury also prevented him from competing in Sunday's four-man event.

"I was doing my last sprint, and it pulled on me," Ross said. "It was total disappointment."

Although he's a veteran in the sport, Kohn is in his first full season as a four-man pilot on the World Cup circuit. The current leader in the four-man point standings is American Todd Hays, a 2002 Olympic silver medalist, who has driven USA I to two World Cup victories.

USA II pilot Steve Holcomb is 10th in the four-man standings, and Kohn, who has been driving with a torn abdominal muscle, stands 17th.

In women's bobsled, pilot Jean Racine of Waterford, a 2002 Olympian, is fourth.

Ross is unsure if his injury will prevent him from competing in this weekend's event in Cortina, Italy. But he's having the time of his life.

"I'm going to stick with this as long as I can, to see how far this takes me," Ross said. "We have some big plans."

Monday, December 13, 2004

Recker Named 2nd Team All Region

Hillsdale College Press Release

Dec. 9, 2004 Hillsdale, Mich. — Hillsdale junior tight end Keith Recker (Delphos, Ohio/St. John’s) was named to the 2004 Daktronics All-Northwest Region Second Team, which was announced by the College Sports Information Director’s of America (CoSIDA) on December 8.

Recker led the Chargers with 40 catches for 489 yards and two touchdowns last season. He was named First Team All-GLIAC in November.

Sports Information Director’s in the NCAA Northwest Region voted for the All-Region candidates. Recker is Hillsdale’s first All-Region performer since Kevin Clive in 2002. Blazers' offense too much for Pittsburg State 12/12/04

Blazers' offense too much for Pittsburg State, Valdosta wins D2 Title

Morning Sun Sports Editor

FLORENCE, Ala. - Pittsburg State University defensive coordinator Anton Stewart summed it up in one telling sentence.

"You hate to play one of your worst games as a defense in the national championship game, but that's what happened," Stewart said, still trying to digest what happened to the Gorillas in their 36-31 loss to the Valdosta State Blazers on Saturday.

Full Story

1957 National Championship Game Remembered

As Pittsburg State prepared for last Saturday's D2 championship game, looked back at some of the school's other championship games. The 1957 Holiday Bowl is one of the epic battles in small college football history. Here is an exerpt from Saturday's article.

"1957 Holiday Bowl
Kansas State Teachers College claimed the school's first national football championship by edging Hillsdale College, Mich., 27-26 in the Holiday Bowl at Stewart Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game matched the top two teams in the NAIA in postseason bowl game to decide the national title.

A missed extra point was the difference in the tightly contested National Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship game that saw the Gorillas build a 20-0 first-quarter lead only to have the Dales forge a 20-20 tie early in the third quarter.

KSTC drew first blood with a 1-yard touchdown run by Charles Norris but Bill Samuels missed the extra point to leave the Gorillas up 6-0.

Norris' second touchdown, on a 9-yard run, and the first of three Samuels PATs made it 13-0 later in the quarter and the Gorillas appeared to be in complete control following a 17-yard touchdown pass from John Matous to Paul Crandell late in the first period.

The 20-0 lead evaporated quickly in the second quarter. The Dales got to within 20-7 on Doug Maison's 1-yard run and Wayne O'Shaughnessy's extra point and made it 20-13 on a 5-yard pass from Maison to Walt Poe. O'Shaughnessy missed the extra point.

Hillsdale, riding a 34-game winning streak into the NAIA championship game, tied it on a 7-yard pass from Maison to Poe and O'Shaughnessy's extra point in the third quarter.

But later in the third period, Matous and Crandell hooked up for another 17-yard scoring pass play and Samuels' point-after made it 27-20.

Earl O'Shaughnessy caught a 14-yard TD pass from Mason in the fourth quarter but Wayne O'Shaughnessy failed on the extra point, leaving the Gorillas with the one-point margin.
The 1957 Gorillas of head coach Carnie Smith posted an 11-0 overall record and claimed the Central Intercollegiate Conference championship. KSTC posted four shutouts and Hillsdale was the only opponent to score more than 14 points against the stingy defense.

Linemen Leonard Mansfield, Tom Miller and Ted Stahura all earned some form of All-American honors with Mansfield on the NAIA first team, Miller on the NAIA second team and Stahura named to the honorable mention lists of both the NAIA and Associated Press All-America squads."

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