Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Trick Play Provides Chargers Big Treat

The first half of today's Hillsdale - Mercyhurst football game was horrifyingly ugly football for both teams. The second half may be the prettiest thing Charger fans have seen in a long, long time.

The Chargers went up 3-0 with a 27 yard Menchinger fieldgoal on their first possession. Hillsdale would punt the next 4 times they had the ball and miss a fieldgoal on the 5th.

Mercyhurst had a 9 play 90 yard drive for their only 1st half score while punting 4 times themselves and having a fieldgoal blocked by the Chargers' Alex Wojcik. Mercyhurst 7 Hillsdale 3.

A number of penalties by both teams added to the carnage.

Menchinger gave the Chargers a little boost with a 28 yarder to draw Hillsdale within a point at halftime. Mercyhurst 7 Hillsdale 6.

The second half got off in a big way as Hillsdale went 77 yards on 4 plays, topped by a 39 yard Nicolet to Chris Clay touchdown.

Mercyhurst took advantage of a Charger missed fieldgoal and added a touchdown of their own to regain the lead 14-13 with 4:28 left in the 3rd.

That lead was short lived as Hillsdale's Chad Gurica broke open on the ensuing kickoff and took it 93 yards for 19-14 Charger lead. The two point conversion attempt was no good.

The Charger defense held Mercyhurst to zero yards on the Lakers' next possession. It only took Hillsdale 6 plays to go 64 yards as Phil Martin exploded for a 44 yard touchdown. Menchinger's kick was good and put Hillsdale up 26-14.

Mercyhurst wasn't dead yet. The Lakers pinned Hillsdale deep before blocking Matt Vanover punt and recovering on the Hillsdale 6. Four plays later, the Lakers were within 5.

With Hillsdale clinging to a 26-21 4th quarter lead and the momentum squarely in the hands of Mercyhurst, the Chargers went to their bag of tricks. Hillsdale faced 3rd down just shy of midfield when quarterback Mark Nicolet handed off to Brett Neller. Neller stopped, set up and found a streaking Nicolet who didn't stop until 53 yards downfield for the touchdown. Matt Menchinger's extra point sealed the deal 33-21 with 2:30 left.

Neller added an exclamation point with a 31 yard touchdown run one minute and twenty-seven seconds later. Menchinger capped the scoring for a 40-21 final.

Hillsdale put up 415 yards of offense today. Martin led the ground game with 126 yards on 23 carries. 112 of those came on 11 second half carries. Nicolet was 13 of 27 for 172 yards passing. He also led the team in receiving with the 53 yard touchdown. Keith Recker caught 2 balls for 44 yards. Clay had just the one 39 yard touchdown catch.

The Charger defense held Mercyhurst to 72 rushing yards on 44 carries. Steve Balone led the team with 13 tackles. He had 2 1/2 of the Chargers' 7 sacks. Andrew Daugherty had a pair of those himself.

Hillsdale moves to 4-6 on the year and 3-6 in the GLIAC. They host Wayne State next Saturday in the season finale at 2:30 PM.

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