Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, October 14, 2005

Chargers Welcome Ashland for Afternoon Tilt

Last season, we took a deep breath when the Chargers finished their Saginaw Valley, Northwood, Grand Valley stretch, figuring we had a decent shot at going to Ashlaned and coming home feeling pretty good about ourselves and the remainder of the year. Wrong! Hillsdale fell 24-0 on a just flat miserably cold and wet day for football.

This year, we all take a big sigh that the Big 3 have passed and guess who comes to town? Ashland! This season, the Eagles are 5-2, losing nailbiters to Grand Valley and Michigan Tech. In fact, Ashland only lost by four to the Lakers and missed six points worth of fieldgoals. Last week, the Grand Valley blew through Hillsdale like former Charger offensive tackle Matt Fryer used to blow through Saga.

Coaches talk all of the time about taking games one at a time. The last 7 weeks are history and all energy now focuses on 60 minutes of football, starting at 2:30 on Saturday afternoon at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium.

Ashland is definitely the GLIAC's up and coming program, riding a very solid defense. The Eagles rank 2nd in the GLIAC in scoring defense, surrendering just 12 points per game. Against the run Ashland is giving up 104.7 yards per game and 168.8 yards per game through the air. They rank 2nd in sacks with 22, just 1 ahead of the Chargers' second place 21 (sorry about a previous mistake I posted). Senior Linebacker Brady Miller has 61 stops on the season. Junior Allen Latimore has 4 sacks.

Offensively, Ashland is averaging 25.3 points per game. Ranked 4th in the GLIAC, the Eagles are gaining 178.7 yards per game rushing. Their passing game has put up an average of 148.6 yards per game. Senior Jason Scwalm has carried the ball 167 times for 750 yards. Quarterback Nick Strance just eclipsed the 1000 yard mark last week as he is 86 for 152 and 1005, 9 TD and 7 interceptions.

So, Ashland is 5-2. Take a look at who those wins came against: Ferris State (who the Chargers pounded), Gannon (who the Chargers pounded), Northern Michigan (2-4 and who lost to Gannon, who the Chargers pounded), St. Josephs (who is trying to establish themselves in D2), and Mercyhurst (0-7). The point is that the Eagles are good but are yet to put themselves into the class of Hillsdale's last 3 opponents. Hillsdale's defense is no slouch and it should be a classic, hard fought Ashland-Hillsdale game. The schools have split the last 10. Last year's shutout was the first time in 6 season that the Chargers had been held scoreless. That won't happen today with a nice Parents' Weekend crowd behind the blue and white.

Saturday should be a beautiful afternoon to experience an October afternoon game on the shores of "Lake" Winona. Hillsdale has to look at the remainder of this year as a completely separate season with the Eagles as an opening day opponent. A win over a legit and growing Ashland program would go a long way to erase the sting of the last 3 losses and give Hillsdale football a definite boost through the final 4 games of 2005.

1 comment:

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