Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Thursday, August 31, 2006

This could be the season Chargers rise above .500

This could be season the Chargers rise above .500

Thursday, August 31, 2006
By Chip Mundy

As Keith Otterbein enters his fifth season as Hillsdale College coach, he's chasing a .500 record and beyond.

But Otterbein knows that getting to .500 -- something the Chargers have not done since 1999 -- is the first hurdle. He thinks it's time, especially after last year when Hillsdale won its final three games to finish 5-6.

"The message we're giving the team is that we are a good football team," Otterbein said. "What we need to do is make plays on Saturday afternoon to allow us to win football games.

"It always comes down after a game to identify a half-dozen plays that win or lose games."

Hillsdale, which opens the season at 1 p.m. Saturday against Gannon in Erie, Pa., seems to have the weapons to win several games.

Speedy senior tailback Phil Martin returns after rushing for more than 1,000 yards last year, and he needs just 210 yards to surpass Jeff Cameron for the No. 2 spot on the all-time list.

Martin will be joined in the backfield by quarterback Mark Nicolet, a talented passer whom the Chargers wanted to redshirt the previous two years. Nicolet, however, was pressed into service because of injuries, and this season he will begin as the No. 1 quarterback.

"He came in and his performance in the fall in each of the last two years has proven that he's the guy who needs to be the starter," Otterbein said. "But that put us in another dilemma because Aaron Scholl, who had been our quarterback, is too good to have holding a clipboard."

So the Chargers decided to put Scholl at wide receiver, and Scholl embraced the idea.

"Those kids are very, very close friends," Otterbein said. "The unselfish attitude of both of them was great, and they realized we can be a better football team because of it.

"It was instant acceptance."

The rest of the offense is experienced, including the offensive line, where Concord High School graduate Chet Crowley is moving from tackle to guard. Crowley, whose cousin, Brad Rumsey, is a Concord graduate in his third year as long snapper, is joined by returning starters left guard Josiah Swartz and center Dan Stapf. Newcomers to the line, Jared Veldheer and Phil Davignon, have Otterbein excited.

"The offensive line is better than it has been in the time I've been here," Otterbein said.

Defensively, the Chargers are looking to the front line for leadership after Eric Weber and Andy Dion sparked a unit that tripled its sack output from the previous season.

Sophomore linebacker Tom Korte also draws Otterbein's praise, and that should not be taken lightly. Otterbein was a star linebacker when he played for Hillsdale in the late 1970s.

"He might be our best defensive player," Otterbein said.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 Notebook

Check out Jeff Chaney's weekly run down as's GLIAC columnist. Yeah, he's a Grand Valley alum, but he can still write pretty well...and knows the league.

Read Jeff's Column

A Whole Bunch of Updates

What's new at

-New Podcast Episode

-New Game Day Page with Gannon Preview
-Sandy Balone's Tailgating Info

Little Chargerblue looking Tough

This summer my mom was digging through some old stuff and found a sweatshirt I wore when I was 3. She sent it to us to see if Little Chargerblue, who is also 3 could fit into it. Being the horse-crazed kid she is, the sweatshirt was instantly a hit. I guess even little kids dig vintage clothing. Here she is giving her best "game face" this summer while playing catch. It is a good thing the Chargers use a horse mascot or else she probably wouldn't like them. I have to still convince her that the Dallas Cowboys don't really ride horses and rope cows. Maybe I can get her to like the Denver Broncos instead.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Chargers Issue Season Preview

Hillsdale looks to continue upward climb in 2006

Aug. 8, 2006 - Progress can sometimes be a slow, frustrating process. It’s something that can never happen fast enough, but when it is visible, it jumps off a page like red out of a newspaper.

The Hillsdale College football team made solid progress in 2005, but not enough for the coaching staff or the players. More progress this season is not only hoped for, but expected.

In 2005, the Chargers finally shook loose the stigma of three consecutive 4-7 seasons with a 5-6 mark that was highlighted by a season-ending three-game winning streak, the first for the program in 10 years. The team is hoping that momentum, coupled with several returning skill players, will push the team north of the .500 plateau for the first time since 1999.
Hillsdale will have some holes to fill after bidding farewell to its biggest senior class in several seasons. Among those standouts were team MVP Chad Gurica and four-year starting tight end Keith Recker, who earned a spot in the Cactus Bowl back in January. Gurica set a school record with three kickoff returns for touchdown, while Recker finished second on Hillsdale’s all-time career receptions list.

Stepping to the forefront this season is a returning starting backfield and an experienced group of linebackers, two areas of strength for this year’s Chargers.

Senior tailback Phil Martin returns for his fourth season as the main ball carrier for the blue and white. Martin rushed for 1,022 yards in 2005, making him the first Hillsdale rusher to crack the 1,000-yard barrier in a season since Kevin Clive did it in 2002. Martin has a solid combination of toughness and speed and excelled at breaking a team’s back with long runs at the end of games last season. He enters his final campaign ranked third on Hillsdale’s all-time rushing list and is well within range of taking over the No. 2 spot early this season.

Full Story

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Condolences on the Passing of Former Charger Chris Mayone

The Charger family lost one the top receivers to ever wear the Blue and White this past weekend. Former Hillsdale College wide receiver Chris Mayone died tragically last Sunday while training for an upcoming marathon. Dave Dye, who coached Mayone at Hillsdale called him a "great student athlete from the early 1980's".

Mayone was an integral part of the 1982 GLIAC Championship team that ran off 12 straight victories before losing to Mesa St. in the national semi-finals. A favorite target of quarterback Pat Riepma, Mayone hauled in 50 catches (4th best single-season mark) for 732 yards (5th best single-season mark). He had four touchdown catches that season as well. His brother-in-law Dave Mifsud was one of the top pass catchers on the 1985 national championship team.

Mr. Mayone worked at National City Bank in the Business Credit Group. He was Vice President & Commercial Finance Account Executive in the Business Credit Division.

He was an active member of St. Regis Parish (Bloomfield Hills), serving on the Parish Council and the Finance Committee.

Funeral information: Visitation- – A.J. Desmond Funeral Home 2600 Crooks Rd. Troy , MI 48084 Thursday 8/24 from 5:00-8:00pm and Friday 8/25 from 2:00-8:00pm.

Funeral Mass at St. Regis Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, MI beginning Saturday morning at 10:00am.

Chris is survived by his wife Sharon, his 14 yr old daughter Sidney, and his 12 yr. old son Joseph.

Condolences are extended to family, friends, and ex-teammates.

Monday, August 21, 2006

D-II coaches upset over playoff idea

Sunday, August 20, 2006
By Howie Beardsley
The Grand Rapids Press

BAY CITY -- It is comfortably safe to presume that the football coaches of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference are not strong proponents of the NCAA.

Particularly when it comes to some, but not all, members of the NCAA's Division II Management Council agreeing to sponsor legislation recommended by a Division II football task force to create two football playoff brackets based on the number of scholarships programs offer.

"I'm against it because we're trying to make a stronger Division II while having some people go to I-AA," said Grand Valley State University coach Chuck Martin, whose Lakers have won three of the past four Division II championships, including last season's title.

"If you're trying to make the division stronger, how does dividing us make us stronger?"

"Show me a company, like IBM, that says, 'Hey, we're going to split, become two companies, and become stronger.'

"Show me a family that got split down the middle that became a stronger family.

"I love Division II, and I want it to be as strong as possible. Splitting the playoffs makes no sense. We have a good thing going, and we should keep it going."

The idea is to have one Division II football playoff -- a 1A postseason, if you will -- involving schools who offer zero to the maximum 36 scholarships that are split among their players, and a second playoff -- 1B -- consisting of programs who field teams with zero to 18 scholarships.

There's also been discussions to reduce Division II football scholarships at all member institutions.

For the record, it was the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference that initiated talks to split the Division II playoffs. The very same PSAC that used to hold its own in postseason play, and regularly throttled the GLIAC in head-to-head playoff games. Then PSAC officials decided to decrease football scholarships in the name of saving money while the GLIAC began to get stronger.

"I don't like it at all," Hillsdale College coach Keith Otterbein said of a possible dual playoff format. "It just muddies the waters. It's kind of setting limits.

"If you don't want to spend the money to have 36 full scholarships, and be at the maximum, or close to it, then accept getting your tail whipped. But don't punish those of us who do have 36 or so fulls.

"You look at Grand Valley, and this conference, and the phenomenal run in the playoffs we've had the last 10 years. It's because we aren't waiting around for someone else to pull everybody down."

Saginaw Valley State coach Randy Awrey, who competed in football at Northern Michigan, joined the rest of the league's coaches at their recent GLIAC media day to show his complete displeasure toward two playoffs.

"I'm a guy who would never have been able to go to college had I not been able to get a partial football scholarship," Awrey said. "I don't want to take opportunities away for young men to be able to go to college. And that will happen if schools start limiting scholarships to get into a lower-division playoff, or they force us all to limit scholarships.

"I want to do what's best for the kids. If you start watering down the playoffs, you're just making it easier for administrations to justify giving less scholarships to certain schools, and that's not fair to the kids."

Ferris State coach Jeff Pierce wants to know what happens if members in certain conferences don't see eye-to-eye as to which playoff to participate in.

"Will some members want to be in 1-A, and others in 1-B? That all sounds very messy to me," Pierce said.

According to Wayne State coach Paul Winters, the thought of two playoffs is ludicrous.

"It should be Division II, simple as that," he said.

"If you're a Division II team, and you're good enough, you play in the Division II playoffs. To give a benefit to someone who doesn't want to give a commitment doesn't make sense to me."

Any vote on accepting a dual playoff system won't be made until at least the 2007 Division II Convention. That's also plenty of time for the powers-that-be within the division to realize that a split postseason is absurd at best.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Message Board Attempt 4 or 5

I have tried to get some conversation going on message boards at least twice, maybe three times. Here is the latest attempt run by Frappr. All you have to do is put yourself on the map to gain access to the discussions. Use a fake name if you want. Let's get some talk happening.

Frappr Forum

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Charger Comment Podcast Updated

Finally Episode 3 of the Charger Comment is up and online.

Take a listen at

Stay tuned for more audio throughout the season.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Prepping for Rivals, Chargers Begin Camp on Saturday

Hillsdale Daily News
Saturday August 12, 2006

The 2006 season is about to begin for the Hillsdale Chargers. Players have been checking in Thursday and Friday and will take the field for the first practice on Saturday.

Head coach Keith Otterbein said after a long offseason he and his players are ready to put the pads back on.

“It’s great to finally get them back and get coaching them,” Otterbein said. “After all those things you work over and toil over and worry about all winter, and now you’ve got your guys and you’re looking at them and coaching them football so you’re making progress.

“They’re very optimistic. They worked extremely hard this summer, reported in great shape and are chomping at the bit to line up and play a little bit of football.”

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Boys are Back!

The Boys are Back
Thursday August 10, 2006

Summer vacation is officially over for the Chargers as the 2006 squad reported today. Not much action to report other than that testing has begun and will continue tomorrow along with meetings. Saturday is expected to be the first onfield action for the team.

Hillsdale opens the season on September 2 at Gannon University in Erie, PA. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 PM.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Chargers Picked 8th by League Coaches

Monday's 2006 GLIAC media luncheon churned out another version of the league pre-season coaches' poll and guess what?

Grand Valley was picked to win the league! No really, believe it or not they were.

Guess what else. Saginaw Valley was picked to finish second. Amazing!

And oh yeah, the Chargers were picked once again to finish in the bottom half of the league in the 8th spot. At first, I thought maybe the league office had released last year's poll, or the one before that, or before that, or get the point.

As a Charger fan, I could feel disrepected. But, I feel relieved. Let everyone look past this team. We will show them how good we are on Saturdays.

The only real story to come out of the annual event was Ashland's reception of 2 first place votes. One obviously came from the Lakers' Chuck Martin since he couldn't vote for his own team. I wonder who else thought the Eagles would be atop the league come Thanksgiving.

Here is the poll in its entirety:
School (first-place votes) Points
1. Grand Valley State (11).............. 143
2. Saginaw Valley State................. 131
3. Ashland (2).................................119
4. Northwood..................................117
5. Michigan Tech............................. 83
6. Ferris State................................... 81
Indianapolis.................................. 81
8. Hillsdale....................................... 65
9. Wayne State................................. 59
10. Findlay.......................................... 49
11. Northern Michigan....................... 34
12. Gannon......................................... 29
13. Mercyhurst................................... 23

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sale Sale Sale!

All apparel featuring the logo has been reduced by $2 to kick off the 2006 season. All styles for men, women, and kids are available. Help support and spread the word about by sporting one of our various items.

Logoed items available here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

NFL still in Recker's dreams

NFL still in Recker’s dreams

by Jim Metcalfe
Delphos (OH) Herald
July 31, 2006

HILLSDALE, Mich. — Keith Recker has decided to take his dreamt-of trek to the National Football League one step at a time.

He hopes that step one has already been completed with the recent finish of his first United Indoor Football League season with the Fort Wayne Freedom.

The Delphos native, son of Steve “Peanut” and Lisa Recker, is looking to parlay this season into at least the Arena Football League.

“I know I have to build my resume for the NFL. I’d like to get that opportunity but I have to build up to it,” Recker acknowledged. “I think I tried to take things too quickly last spring; that’s what I was working for.”

Having to play in the UIFL became a source of frustration to the 2002 St. John’s graduate.

“Before the season, I was doing a lot of stuff, like getting information out. My agent sent me some information and I was supposed to go to Detroit to work out but that didn’t happen; he didn’t have the pull he thought he did,” Recker said. “I’m working on getting a new agent based out of Columbus. He’s going to be sending films to the Arena League, especially the Columbus Destroyers.

“The good thing that I have now for Arena League or Arena 2 is I have some indoor films to send them. I didn’t have that from college.”

He’s hoping that the time from August to October, despite coaching wide receivers at Hillsdale College, where he completed his college career last fall, will be productive.

“I hope to be attending a couple of combines and camps for college free agents and try to get some notice and recognition. I know I need to work on running my routes,” he continued. “That’s what I worked on from the time I graduated from Hillsdale until now. Hopefully, coaching will help me do that. I will be learning the same stuff I’ll be teaching. That should help me pick things up quicker.

“Plus, I’ll be able to work out with these guys in the weight room.”

Another one of Recker’s goals for the offseason is to get faster.

“You don’t realize how much the game speeds up from college to even the UIFL. In AFL 1, it’s all man-to-man coverage,” he explained. “With my size, if I can improve my speed, that will be to my advantage. I also would need to learn to play the Jack linebacker position in Arena play since they go both ways. I worked with a guy who played quarterback and he told me that would be my best chance to get into Arena.”

Recker had to make a few adjustments to play in the UIFL.

“I had to play wide receiver, so I had to make the adjustment from tight end. There is no tight end in Indoor play,” he added. “Getting used to being split out wide all the time took some time. One of the big differences between the UIFL and Arena Football is I didn’t have to play defense here. All I had to do was play receiver. They put together some teams from Arena 2 and other leagues and that was one of the different rules they came up with.

“People don’t realize that there are some talented players in Indoor play. Rocky Harvey was all-Big Ten first-team at Illinois a couple of years ago. Even though it’s not the NFL, it’s still a big adjustment as far as speed goes. There’s a lot of talented players out there looking for the same thing I am; a break.”

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