Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Veldheer Family Shares its 2007 Season Pictures

Many thanks to Jim and Mary Veldheer for making their fan photos from the past season available to Charger fans everywhere. Just visit their page on SmugMug to view this great shot and several other from this past season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rockin the Dale back in the day

Mock Rock 1985: Sigma Chi House does Rebel Yell

Recruiting: Anthony Mifsud Note: Anthony Mifsud is the son of former Charger Dave Mifsud. Dave previously held the Hillsdale Single Season Receiving Touchdown Record before Aaron Waldie broke that record this fall.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
College football: Recruiting
Dearborn quarterback learns value of patience
Tom Markowski / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Finding the right college is more complicated than Anthony Mifsud first thought.

Mifsud, named The Detroit News Dream team quarterback last season, led Dearborn to the Division 2 semifinals as a junior and to the regional finals last season.

With his high school football career behind him, Mifsud is anxious to make the jump to college.

His next step is to find the program that's a good fit not only athletically but academically. To do this patience has become a must.

"It's crazy," said Mifsud, who has a 4.0 grade-point average and scored a 29 on the ACT. This week, he also will have completed the second of two college courses he enrolled in this semester.

"When I think about it, I don't like the way it's done. But I understand they have to get the best players possible.

"I'm trying to enjoy it. I know, once it's over and I've made my decision, I'll be relieved."

Two weeks ago Mifsud, took an unofficial visit to Hillsdale College. The beginning of the dead period for recruiting began Monday (Dec. 17), so Mifsud's recruiting has been put temporarily on hold. He has one official visit scheduled for Jan. 12, but even that is subject to change. Princeton has offered him an official visit that weekend, but it's possible Mifsud will take an official visit to Villanova or, possibly, Richmond that weekend. The coaching staff from Davidson has expressed an interest in Mifsud and there's a chance he'll take an official visit in mid-January, but a date has not been set.

Other schools that have been in contact with Mifsud include Holy Cross and a few Division II schools like Grand Valley State.

It's common for Division II schools to wait until mid- to late January to offer recruits scholarships. Coaches at these schools are often put on hold by recruits who are holding out in hopes of gaining a scholarship offer from Division I schools.

It's like a recruiting waterfall. The best are scooped up by schools like Michigan and Michigan State. Further down are mid-major schools like Central Michigan and then Division I-AA, Division II and Division III.

Signing day is Feb. 6, so there's no reason to push the panic button.

Nevertheless Christmas at the Mifsuds won't be as relaxing as they had planned.

Mifsud remains confident an offer will come. Until then, he'll continue on with his classes and playing varsity basketball.

"I spoke with coaches from Villanova last week," Mifsud said. "And they might want me to visit on the 12th (of January). That might put me in a bad spot. I won't be able to go to both."

These are the decisions he will surely make after conversations with his family over the holidays.

You can reach Tom Markowski at (313) 223-4633 or

Monday, December 17, 2007

AP Little All American Team

AP's Little AllAmerica football squad
Dec 13 2007 1:06PM
Associated Press
AP's Little All-America Football squad

FIRST TEAM Offense Quarterback David Knighton, junior, 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, Harding.

Running backs Xavier Omon, senior, 5-11, 220, Northwest Missouri State; Danny Woodhead, senior, 5-9, 200, Chadron State.

Wide receivers Weston Dressler, senior, 5-8, 164, North Dakota; Almonzo Banks, senior, 6-2, 220, West Liberty State.

Tight end Kolo Kapanui, senior, 6-5, 255, West Texas A&M Linemen Ben Hochstein, senior, 6-4, 298, Nebraska-Omaha; Heath Benedict, junior, 6-6, 320, Newberry; Brandon Barnes, senior, 6-2, 322, Grand Valley State; Mackenzy Bernadeau, senior, 6-4, 303, Bentley; Tim McCutcheon, senior, 6-4, 305, California, Pa.

All-purpose player Ashton Gronewold, senior, 5-10, 190, Missouri-Rolla.

Kicker Jared Guberman, junior, 5-10, 190, West Georgia.

Defense Linemen Brandon Swain, junior, 6-4, 255, West Texas A&M; Curtis Johnson, senior, 6-3, 245, Clark Atlanta; Kurt Kissner, senior, 6-3, 245, Mesa State; Bryan Robinson, senior, 6-3, 292, Wesley.

Linebackers Michael Eubanks, senior, 6-2, 225, Delta State; Jerrell Freeman, senior, 6-2, 205, Mary Hardin-Baylor; Anthony Adams, senior, 6-2, 240, Grand Valley State.

Defensive backs Randy Kush, junior, 5-10, 189, Nebraska-Omaha; Cary Williams, senior, 6-2, 190, Washburn; Kendall Ricketts, senior, 5-10, 190, Central Missouri; Matt Kostelnik, senior, 6-1, 198, Mount Union.

Punter Michael Podobnik, junior, 6-0, 230, ArKansas Tech.

SECOND TEAM Offense Quarterback Mark Nicolet, senior, Hillsdale.

Running backs Bernard Scott, junior, Abilene Christian; Justin Beaver, senior, Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Wide receivers Scott Peters, senior, Winona State; Cedric Jones, sophomore, Valdosta State.

Linemen Brandon Bennett, senior, Williamette; Derek Blanchard, senior, Mount Union; Tony Burson, senior, Midwestern State; Vince Cashdollar, senior, Ashland; Christian Morton, senior, South Dakota.

Tight end Mike Peterson, senior, Northwest Missouri State.

All-purpose player De'Audra Dix, senior, Johnson C. Smith.

Kicker Tyler Lorenz, sophomore, California, Pa.

Defense Linemen Louis Ellis, junior, Shaw; Mike Czerwien, senior, Waynesburg; Jake Visser, junior, Ferris State; Dan Skutta, junior, Grand Valley State Linebackers Jared Brock, junior, West Texas A&M; Lateef Ferguson, senior, West Chester; Adrian Pynenberg, senior, Wabash.

Defensive backs Ranardrick Phillips, senior, Tarleton State; Brandon Carr, senior, Grand Valley State; Brandon Carr, senior, Bethel; Sherard Reynolds, junior, Valdosta State.

Punter Alex Groh, sophomore, Occidental.

THIRD TEAM Offense Quarterback Greg Micheli, junior, Mount Union.

Running backs Nate Kmic, junior, Mount Union; Devron Wallace, senior, Shepherd.

Wide receivers Elfren Quiles, senior, Kutztown; Jake Allen, senior, Mississippi College.

Tight end Bryan Bergman, senior, Carthage.

Linemen Caleb Woodall, senior, Mary Hardin-Baylor; Reid Kirby, junior, Northwest Missouri State; Patrick Gildea, senior, Southern Connecticut; J.D. Whited, senior, North Alabama; Brennan Fortune, senior, St. John Fisher.

All-purpose player Tyler Sherden, senior, Luther.

Kicker Jeff Schebler, sophomore, Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Defense Linemen Don Miller, senior, Alfred; Ron Ellington, senior, Catawba; Kirby Griffin, junior, California, Pa.; Pat McCullough, senior, Mount Union.

Linebackers Will Clewis, senior, Central Oklahoma; Kyle Follweiler, senior, Wilkes; Jared Erspamer, senior, Northwest Missouri State.

Defensive backs Nick Weber, senior, Wartburg; Clay Hamblen, senior, Georgetown, Ky.; Broderick Mondy, senior, Northeastern State; Chris hemphill, senior, Central Washington.

Punter Brandon Larkin, senior, Clark Atlanta.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APNP 12-13-07 1255CST

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nicolet 2nd Team Daktronics All American

Hillsdale senior quarterback Mark Nicolet continues to collect hardware. He was named as the 2nd team quarterback on the Daktronics annual division II All American team. The team is elected by division II sports information directors

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mark Nicolet Brings Home McAvoy Award

First Charger Honored with Trophy Named for Hillsdale Legend Jack McAvoy

GLIAC Release, 12-11-07

Hillsdale College senior quarterback Mark Nicolet has been named recipient of the 2007 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Jack H. McAvoy Award as announced by Commissioner Tom Brown.

The award is presented annually to the GLIAC football player who best combines outstanding character and leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.

A native of Zionsville, Indiana, Nicolet has earned a 3.6 grade point average (4.0 scale) while majoring in Financial Management. He has been named to the GLIAC All-Academic football team three times and is a four-time member of the Hillsdale College Dean’s List.

This past season, Nicolet was a semifinalist for the Draddy Award, which is presented to the nation’s most outstanding college football student-athlete. Off the field, Nicolet is the leader of Hillsdale’s chapter of Athletes in Action and has served as the scholarship chairman of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He received the Jeff H. and Lis L. Coors Scholarship, which goes to the Hillsdale College student-athlete with
outstanding moral values, strong Christian leadership, active participation in church and involvement in Christian youth groups on campus.

On the field, Nicolet posted a record-setting season in 2007. He broke seven school records en route to leading Hillsdale to its best record this decade (8-3). Nicolet threw for a school-record 426 yards in a 49-28 win over Ashland University. Two weeks later, Nicolet shattered a long-standing school record when he completed 34 passes in a 37-0 home win over Michigan Technological University. He would go on to setsingle-season school records for completions (240), passing yards (3,335) and passing touchdowns (31). His 3,145 passing yards in GLIAC games also broke the conference record for passing yards in one season.

The two-time team captain was named the GLIAC Player of the Year for his efforts as well as earning Daktronics First-Team All-Region accolades.

“This award recognizes the accomplishments of our well rounded student-athletes,” stated Commissioner Brown. “The McAvoy Award is not just given on the basis of athletic ability, but is given to a student-athlete who has performed well in the classroom and has a strong sense of community involvement. Mark Nicolet is a shining example of the 4,000 quality student-athletes we have in the GLIAC.”

Nicolet becomes the first Hillsdale College player to earn the McAvoy Award. The Award is named for former Hillsdale College director of athletics and head football coach, Jack McAvoy, who was instrumental in the founding the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference (MIFC), now known as the GLIAC.

2007 Mark Nicolet, Hillsdale
2006 Mike Klobucher, Ferris State
2005 Matthew Shem, Northern Michigan
2004 Neil Baumgartner, Saginaw Valley State
2003 Josh Sherko, Northern Michigan
Scott Stuible, Northwood
2002 Jason Battershell, Saginaw Valley State
2001 Chris Volz, Indianapolis
2000 Alex Kowalski, Michigan Tech
1999 Mo Harris, Ferris State
1998 Jeff Fox, Grand Valley State
1997 Matt Fishburn, Wayne State
Eric Tree, Michigan Tech
1996 Chris Pulliams, Ferris State
Jack H. McAvoy Award Winners

Friday, December 07, 2007

Riepma Steps Down as Northwood Coach, Remains AD

Northwood University Release:

MIDLAND, MICH. - The Northwood University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced the resignation of Head Football Coach Pat Riepma. The University has promoted Mike Sullivan to the role of Head Football Coach.

Riepma will maintain his role as Athletic Director, a title he has held since November of 2000.

"I am very appreciative to Northwood for the opportunity to coach for 15 years," said Riepma. "I have been blessed to experience relationships with some excellent coaches and terrific student-athletes."

Having just completed his 15th year as head coach of the Northwood football program, Riepma turned Northwood into one of the elite programs in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Northwood has won three GLIAC Championships over the past nine seasons while earning four NCAA Division II Playoff bids.

Riepma was named Northwood’s head coach prior to the 1993 season. With his program in place, the Timberwolves took off in the 1998 season. Over the final 10 seasons of his coaching career, Northwood posted a record of 74-34 (.685).

A look at the Northwood record book shows the level of success the Timberwolves have achieved under Riepma, who holds virtually every coaching record at Northwood. He currently ranks first in career victories (90), career-winning percentage (.566), wins in a season (10), and points in a season (483).

Full Release

Monday, December 03, 2007

Nicolet, Vanover Head to Cactus Bowl D2 All Star Game

Nicolet, Vanover selected to play in 2008 Cactus Bowl

Hillsdale College Release

December 3, 2007 - Hillsdale College senior football players Mark Nicolet and Matt Vanover have been selected to play in the 2008 Cactus Bowl, the Division II Football "all-star game." news story image

The game will be played on Friday, Jan. 11 in Kingsville, Texas, at Javalina Stadium with a 6:35 p.m. local time kickoff.

This marks the first time two Hillsdale players will participate in the game. Keith Recker played in the 2006 Cactus Bowl, and offensive lineman Silas Johnson played in the 2003 game from Hillsdale.

The honor is just the latest in an award-filled season for both news story imageNicolet and Vanover. Each player was named First-Team All-GLIAC and First-Team All-Region. Nicolet was the 2007 GLIAC Player of the Year, while Vanover set a GLIAC record with a punting average of 43.4 this season.

The Cactus Bowl is one of the primary stops for NFL scouts. Nicolet and Vanover will suit up for the East Team in the game.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Awrey out at Saginaw Valley


GLIAC football power Saginaw Valley State fired coach Randy Awrey and will voluntarily reduce its scholarship count for two years and forfeit conference wins after determining it had committed NCAA rules violations in 2005 and this past season.

Saginaw submitted a report to the NCAA Friday after an investigation by an independent auditing firm and outside legal counsel revealed level one secondary violations.

Saginaw will give up two scholarships each of the next two seasons. The program also will vacate any GLIAC wins in which two ineligible players participated.

Awrey's contract was set to expire Dec. 31. Note: Hillsdale adds a win to the 2005 record as both Bob and Tony Awrey played in the September 24, 2005 game at Hillsdale.

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Regional Allignment for 2008

The NCAA is once again realigning its regions for football and all sports. Hillsdale and the GLIAC remain in the Northwest Region but trade the liquidating NCC for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Here is's Bob Eblen's take on the matter:

New Regional Alignment

Beginning next season, Division II will once again be realigning the regions for football. The basic alignment as far as conferences go:

Northeast Region:


Southeast Region:


Northwest Region:


Southwest Region:


The GNAC's five teams (not an official conference) will be in the southwest region.

As I understand it, the driving force behind this new alignment is, as strange as it may sound, volleyball. D-II's leadership wanted to equalize playoff opportunities for volleyball and at the same time, create regions that were the same for all sports. Hence the new alignment.

The problem with these new regions in football is that they are stupid. You're going to put four conferences in one region and two in another call it fair? I thought this was the reason we changed everything around back in 2004-- to equalize the number of teams in each region. Now we swing back the other way and put over 40 teams in the Northeast again? This makes zero sense.

I understand the concept behind regionalization and it probably does make sense at this level in sports like basketball where there are 280+ teams. But the folks setting the rules in this division have to understand that strict regionalization makes no sense in football and only serves to hurt the sport.

Division II is claiming to have made many strides over the past couple of years in shoring up its image and establishing an identity. As far as I'm concerned, decisions like this one make those claims pretty hollow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Five Chargers on All Region Team

We knew all along Mark Nicolet was the top quarterback in the the Northwest Region. Here is further proof as Nicolet was named to the first team of the Daktronic's All Region Team.

Tom Korte and Matt Vanover also gained some well earned recognition with first team nods at linebacker and punter respectively. This is Korte's 2nd straight appearance.

Aaron Waldie (wr) and Jared Veldheer (ol) were named to the All Region 2nd team.

Congratulations guys!

Quarterback: Mark Nicolet, Sr., Hillsdale (Mich.)
Running Back: *Amos Allen, Sr., South Dakota; +Joique Bell, So., Wayne State (Mich.); +Brian McNeill, Jr., Nebraska-Omaha
Wide Receiver: *Weston Dressler, Sr., North Dakota; Scott Peters, Sr., Winona State (Minn.)
Tight End: Jared Bronson, Jr., Central Washington
Offensive Line: *Brandon Barnes, Sr., Grand Valley State (Mich.); Mitch Braegelmann, Jr., North Dakota; Vince Cashdollar, Sr.,
Ashland (Ohio); Ben Hochstein, Sr., Nebraska-Omaha; Christian Morton, Sr., South Dakota
Defensive Line: *Rob Lewis, Sr., Nebraska-Omaha; *Dan Skuta, Jr., Grand Valley State (Mich.); *Jake Visser, Jr., Ferris State
Linebacker: *Anthony Adams, Sr., Grand Valley State (Mich.); Tom Korte, Jr., Hillsdale (Mich.); Shane Simmons, Sr., Western
Washington; Jeff Souder, Jr., Nebraska-Omaha
Cornerback: *Brandon Carr, Sr., Grand Valley State (Mich.); Dustin Rice, Sr., Augustana (S.D.)
Safety: *Randy Kush, Jr., Nebraska-Omaha; Tyler Reed, Jr., Southwest Minnesota State
Kicker: Brandon Hellevang, So., North Dakota
Punter: Matt Vanover, Sr., Hillsdale (Mich.)
All-Purpose Back: Ryan Chappell, So., North Dakota

Quarterback: +Brad Iciek, So., Grand Valley State (Mich.); +Mike Reilly, Jr., Central Washington
Running Back: Alex Wiese, Sr., Winona State (Minn.)
Wide Receiver: Johnny Spevak, So., Central Washington; Aaron Waldie, Jr., Hillsdale (Mich.)
Tight End: Brandon Hill, Sr., Mercyhurst (Pa.)
Offensive Line: Bill Bourdlais, Sr., Ferris State (Mich.), Sam Himmelman, Sr., Central Washington; Jake Krause, Sr., Nebraska-
Omaha; Nick Urban, Jr., Winona State (Minn.); +Brian Okonofua, Jr., Wayne State (Mich.); +Tim Schneider, Sr., South Dakota;
+Jared Veldheer, So., Hillsdale (Mich.)
Defensive Line: Randy Earl, So., Minnesota State Mankato; Ryan Kees, Jr., Saint Cloud State (Minn.); Troy Pribnow, Jr., Wayne
State (Neb.)
Linebacker: Nick Baldetti, Sr., Wayne State (Neb.); Dion Harvey, Sr., Findlay (Ohio); Buddy Wood, So., Central Washington;
Steven Yarbrough, Sr., Tiffin (Ohio)
Cornerback: Shawn Cunningham, Sr., Winona State (Minn.); DeQwan Young, Sr., Saint Joseph’s (Ind.)
Safety: Chris Hemphill, Sr., Central Washington; Cheyne Nelson, Sr., Michigan Tech
Kicker: Paul Potemra, Fr., Bemidji State (Minn.)
Punter: Paul Potemra, Fr., Bemidji State (Minn.)
All-Purpose Back: Anthony Schreiber, Sr., Bemidji State (Minn.)

* Top vote-getter at position (where multiple players are selected) ... + Tied for final spot at position on that team

Breakdown by School (first team/second team in parenthesis)
Ashland 1 (1/0), Augustana 1 (1/0); Bemidji State 3 (0/3); Central Washington 6 (1/5); Ferris State 2 (1/1); Findlay 2 (1/1); Grand
Valley State 5 (4/1); Hillsdale 5 (3/2); Mercyhurst 1 (0/1); Michigan Tech 1 (0/1); Minnesota State Mankato 1 (0/1); Nebraska-
Omaha 6 (5/1); North Dakota 4 (4/0); Saint Cloud State 1 (0/1); Saint Joseph’s 1 (0/1); South Dakota 3 (2/1); Southwest
Minnesota State 1 (1/0); Tiffin 1 (0/1); Wayne State (Mich.) 1 (1/0); Wayne State (Neb.) 3 (0/3); Western Washington 1 (1/0);
Winona State 4 (1/3)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mark Nicolet Season Highlights

Well so much for this video helping Mark Nicolet win the Harlon Hill Trophy. Grand Valley's Brad Iciek and North Dakota's Wes Dressler were recently voted as Northwest Region's representatives.

Nonetheless, we can still enjoy all Mark gave us this season. Check out also the great offensive line play and amazing performances from the receiving corps. There were so many highlights and I didn't have access to everything. If anyone creates a season video for the whole team, I would love to see it and be able to share it with the rest of the D2 world.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Free Decor - Mini Helmet Contest

Hey everybody,

Here is some free decor for your rooms in Simpson or whatever crumbling old houses you players might be living in right now. Married guys, just try and hang this up in your house. Extra bonus points for you if you can.

Download this .pdf. Print it out (Hint: It's pretty ink intensive. Use somebody else's printer.). Piece it together and hang it up.

Fully assembled, the poster is approximately 5 foot by 6 foot.

The first person to email me a digital picture of it up on a wall with themself next to it gets the last Charger mini-helmet I have left.

Get to work!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nicolet Named GLIAC Player of the Year, 4 others 1st Team

Hillsdale quarterback Mark Nicolet has been named 2007 GLIAC Player of the Year.

Receivers Aaron Waldie and Nick Gurica join Nicolet who was also named to the all-league 1st team as a qb.

Defensively, LB Tom Korte and punter Matt Vanover are first teamers as well.

Chargers named to the second team include OL Jared Veldheer and DL Eric Weber.

Honorable Mention goes to Chet Crowley (Sr./OL), Josh Hutchison (Sr./DB), Vinnie Panizzi (So./RB), Matt Patillo (So./TE),
Dan Staph (Sr./OL), Josiah Swartz (Jr./OL)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Charger Post-season Awards

Hillsdale College Release

November 13, 2007 - After its most successful season this decade, the
Hillsdale College football team announced its team award winners at the
annual banquet Sunday afternoon.

Senior quarterback Mark Nicolet received the Roy Beck Most Valuable
Player Award after a record-setting season. Nicolet also received the
Leonard Urbonik Award for scholarship, leadership and ability.

Nicolet set single-season school records for passing yards and touchdown
passes in 2007, and set a new GLIAC record for passing yards in
conference games in one season.

Nicolet and junior linebacker Tom Korte received the Captains Awards.
Korte led the team in tackles with 109, and in interceptions with five.
Korte also received the Ralph Miller III Award as the team's outtsnding
linebacker for the second year in a row.

Senior wide receiver Nick Gurica received the Howard "Champ" Messenger
Award, as well as the Outstanding Offensive Back Award. Gurica shattered
the school record for receptions in a season with 78. He also set
single-game school records with 13 catches in a game twice.

Fellow wide receiver Aaron Waldie received the E.P.E.P. Award (Every
Player Every Play). Waldie broke the school record for touchdown catches
(18) and receiving yards (1,139) in 2007. His 110 points scored are
second-most in a season in school history.

Senior punter Matt Vanover was given the One Play Warrior Award for
turning in one of the finest season a punter has ever had in Charger
history. Vanover averaged 43.4 yards per punt, a new single-season GLIAC
record. He was also named GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week twice.

Sophomore Jared Veldheer received the Outstanding Offensive Lineman
Award, while junior Eric Weber took home the Outstanding Defensive
Lineman Award for the second year in a row.

Defensive back Cody Henderson was named Outstanding Freshman. Henderson
earned a starting safety spot early in the season and played extremely
well throughout the season. he was one of two true freshmen to get
regular playing time on the team.

Senior Josh Hutchison was named the team's Outstanding Defensive Back.
Hutchison intercepted four passes and was second in the GLIAC with 12
pass breakups during the season.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Defense Gets Overlooked Where it Matters Most

At the end of the day, what really matters for a defense? When it all comes down to it, keeping people out of the endzone matters most.

The Chargers finished smack dab in the middle of the GLIAC for total yards yielded, but finished #3 in least points allowed. Hillsdale's defense showed it could stop opponents deep in Charger territory as they finish #2 in redzone defense. These numbers went a long way to help Hillsdale finish #3 in Passing Defense Efficiency.

Over the years when Hillsdale has played its best, the defense has been great at taking away fumbles and interceptions. This year the Chargers dominated turnover margin with a +18. That means they took the ball away 18 times more than they gave it away. The next closest was Saginaw Valley with a +12. Three Chargers finished in the top 10 for interceptions. Tom Korte led the league with 5 picks. Josh Hutchinson had 4 and Jared Kell nabbed 3 this season. Hutchinson ended up 2nd in the league for passes defended with those picks and 12 more break-ups.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Whatta Year!

The silence of Muddy Waters Stadium said it all last night. When the last second ticked off the clock and my daughter and I started for the car and the drive back to the Lakeshore, I couldn't help but marvel at just how quiet the entire Muddy Waters Stadium was. It wasn't a disappointment that the Chargers had run out of time against Saginaw Valley. It was a disappointment that the guys who thrilled us all season had run out of Saturdays. It was a disappointment that the dreams we all wanted for this bunch of guys had slipped just past their fingertips. We weren't disappointed in these guys. We were disappointed for these guys.

It took me about as far as the Burger King on M-99 before those feelings had past and I began to look at how amazing the year truly was and just how lucky I was to bring a little bit of it to the readers of

We saw a great offensive line allow record after record to be shattered. Every record below can be tied to great line play.

We saw a defense get better and better all year. Huge plays when the Chargers needed them came from a group that played with a ton of heart and persevered all year.

Then of course there was the offense, on fire all year.

Here is a run-down of just a few of the milestone performances this year. There were other single game records, but these are for the season.

Matt Vanover:
Single Season GLIAC record for punting average: 44.5 yards per punt

Mark Nicolet:
Single Season GLIAC record for net passing yards: 3145 yards (GLIAC games only)
Single Season Hillsdale record for net passing yards: 3335 yards
Single Season Hillsdale record for total offense: 3541 yards
Single Season Hillsdale record for passing touchdowns: 31
Single Season Hillsdale record for passing attempts: 371
Single Season Hillsdale record for completions: 240

Nick Gurica:
Single Season Hillsdale record for most receptions: 78
1055 yards receiving is #2 highest Hillsdale total ever recorded.

Aaron Waldie:
Single Season Hillsdale record for touchdown catches: 18
Single Season Hillsdale record for receiving yards: 1139 yards
63 receptions is #3 highest Hillsdale total ever recorded.

Vinnie Panizzi:
1085 rushing yards is the #6 highest Hillsdale total and best performance since 2002.
16 rushing touchdowns ties Scott Schulte for the #3 highest Hillsdale total and best performance since 1992.

Mark Petro:
Single Season Hillsdale record for most extra-points: 55

Stay tuned as I uncover more.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

HDN: One Snap at a Time

Chargers’ Mark Nicolet draws on faith to stay focused amid whirlwind season

Jim Pruitt, News Editor
Hillsdale Daily News
November 9, 2007

It may take a win and a prayer for Hillsdale College to make the playoffs, but its quarterback has faith to weather the storm: Faith in his team, faith in the system and a faith in God.

So when Mark Nicolet takes that first snap Saturday against Saginaw Valley State University, he won’t be caught up in the moment, thinking what the game means or what’s coming up.

He will be concentrating on making the play.

“I take it one snap at a time,” Nicolet said in an interview Wednesday night.

These are heady times for the Chargers senior. He is among the top quarterbacks in the nation in Division 2, with several single–season records on his resume.

His arm and leadership have brought Hillsdale College to its first winning season since 1999 and on the verge of the school’s first playoff spot since 1985. He is the star of the team and the rage across campus and among the Charger faithful.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Week 11: Biggest Podcast Ever! (Shortest one too)

Bigshots Allen Iverson and Jim Mora come on the podcast to talk playoffs...well we try anyway.

Then, I get down to what's really important this week against Saginaw Valley.

Click to listen. November 9: Thanks Chargers!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hillsdale Daily News: Catching On

Hillsdale Daily News Photo
Receiving duo play big roles in Chargers’ prolific offense

Hillsdale Daily News
November 8, 2007
RJ Walters, Sports Writer

They are fairly short, have funny grins on their faces when talking about each other and might just be the best receiving duo in all of Division–II football this year.

They are Hillsdale College wideouts Nick Gurica and Aaron Waldie of course.

Gurica, a senior, is currently leading the GLIAC in receptions (68) and Waldie, a junior, has obliterated the single–season receiving touchdowns mark at Hillsdale (17) while leading the nation in that category.

Coupled with a record–breaking campaign from senior quarterback Mark Nicolet, the tandem has the Chargers on the brink of a possible playoff berth at 8–2 and it’s a number of different factors that have brought about their success.

Being part of a diverse offense with many weapons is a big key according to both.

“I don’t think we had the weapons last year but now we can spread it out more and our offensive line has just been giving great pass protection,” Gurica said. “My freshman year our quarterback control and protection wasn’t very good and I just think the way our offense is allows us just to do what the defense is giving us and it’s just clicking.”

Full Story

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So Impressed...

Special to
Andy Brown
WCSR Play-By-Play

I had a chance to sit down with four Chargers Wednesday night and all I can say is how impressed I am. As I talked with Mark Nicolet, Aaron Waldie, Nick Gurica, and Tom Korte, I was struck that whenever I tried to praise their play as individuals, they deflected the praise to their teammates and coaches.

Some highlights of the interviews that will play during the broadcast of the Saginaw game Saturday:

--There is no talk of playoffs, there is just talk of Saginaw. To a man, the players said their entire focus is being 1-0 this week, nothing more.

--Nick Gurica claims that his brother Chad is the best Gurica in Chargers history.

--Mark Nicolet talked about how disappointed he was for his coaches that they went 5-6 last season. He felt that the coaches had prepared them to win, but that he and his teammates had not kept up their end. He said that was what drove him to improve over the off season.

--Tom Korte talked about how his decision to attend Hillsdale came down to last minute phone calls with Chuck Martin from Grand Valley, and Coach Otterbein from Hillsdale. He said that Coach Otterbein made the difference, and that he has never regretted the decision.

--Aaron Waldie admitted to being in the zone as he caught five touchdowns against Findlay. Both he and Mark admitted to being disappointed in having to come out of the game in the third quarter.

--Mark Nicolet has aspirations to resume his football career in the NFL after this season, but he refused to talk about it with me. He said that there will be a time for that down the road, but that he is completely focused on the game at hand this week.

--Nicolet talked about how exciting it was to prepare for the game this week, not knowing whether or not it will be his last game. Having the chance to play on November 17 has been his goal since the end of the Saginaw game last season.

--Each of the players spoke about how their faith has been a key to the season.

You can hear the entire interview during our broadcast Saturday. I can also pass along that coach Otterbein thinks that Saginaw has a great defense, and that his offense will be tested Saturday. He put the chances of Hillsdale getting into the playoffs at 50/50 (provided they beat Saginaw).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Chargers Break GLIAC Team Record, Close to Another

Hillsdale has thrown the ball for a first down 143 times in GLIAC games this year. That is a new single season mark, breaking the mark of 140 set by Mercyhurst in 2000.

Hillsdale's current third down conversion rate is 53.6%. The GLIAC record for an entire season is 52% set by Grand Valley in 2001. If the Chargers can have some success on 3rd down, they will likely break the Lakers' record.

Great Fan Pictures from Doug Waldie

Many thanks to Doug Waldie for sharing these great Chargers photos.

Findlay Game

Wayne State Game Team Shop 3 Day Sale

Save $20 on an order of $75 or more from the Team Shop hosted by Cafe Press.

Enter the code HOLIDAYVIP at checkout.

Hurry! The sale ends at 11:59 PM (PST) on November 8, 2007.

Factualizing the Playoffs

Here is the prescribed curriculum from the NCAA. Let's see how it looks right now for Hillsdale compared to Ashland in the event both teams win this Saturday. Notes in Bold

This comes directly from the 2007 Division II Championship Handbook as updated by the NCAA on Sept. 27, 2007 Download for yourself.

Primary Criteria.
• In-region Division II won-lost results; Ashland at 8-1=.888, Hillsdale at 9-2=.818

These are added to the next two criteria to get a final number.

• Overall Division II strength-of-schedule (SOS) (opponents’ average winning percentage
and opponents’ opponents’ average winning percentage) (see Appendix L of the manual for more
details); Hillsdale will carry an advantage in SOS. Many scenarios play into and many math problems are involved. The end result will be very close. The committee will have to decide whether the small margin is significant enough to award the spot. If it is not significant enough they move to further criteria.

The NCAA lists the following as tie-breakers in the manual.

• Head-to-head competition; Hillsdale 49 Ashland 21
• Results versus common opponents; AU +1 with win against Ferris
• Results against Division II teams greater than .500; These could vary depending on what teams do this weekend. Hillsdale seems to hold a slim advantage in most cases.
• Trend performance (most recent four games beginning with the first regular season
ranking); Both 4-0
• Overall won-lost results;
• Division II won-lost results (games won-cumulative results of opponents; and games
lost-cumulative results of opponents);
• Results against Division II teams less than or equal to .500; and
• Results versus non-Division II opponents.

Wow! Bottom line. Hillsdale has to win. Get there and support them! Playoffs or no playoffs, this has been a historic season of Charger football.

Hillsdale to Honor Jack McAvoy's Years of Service to Hillsdale, The GLIAC, and DII

In 1990, the leadership of Jack McAvoy played a major role in shaping the landscape of NCAA Division II football as we know it today.

As athletic director at Hillsdale College, McAvoy led the charge to create the D2-only Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference. The league united several football playing schools focused on Division II membership from the old Heartland and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conferences. Prior to the MIFC, the conferences included D2, D3, and NAIA schools. The league would later re-adopt the GLIAC moniker and stands today as one of the top Division II football conferences in the country.

The Jack H. McAvoy award is presented annually to the GLIAC football player who best combines outstanding character and leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.

As a lineman at Hillsdale, McAvoy played for Coach Muddy Waters and helped start the record setting win streak recently broken by Grand Valley State.

Now some 53 years after playing his last down of football for Hillsdale, the former Charger head coach and AD doesn’t have an ounce of quit in him.

“Coach Mac” has been fighting cancer for some time now and is bound and determined to whip it.

“Tommy, this damn thing isn’t going to beat me,” he recently told a former player who stopped by to catch up with his old coach.

Jack reports he is feeling fine with no side-effects from his chemotherapy.

The Hillsdale Football family will honor Coach McAvoy for a lifetime of service to Hillsdale, The GLIAC, and Division II Football Friday November 9th with an evening reception (private, by invitation) and a special halftime recognition ceremony during the Chargers’ final regular season game against Saginaw Valley.

All friends, colleagues, and former players are invited to honor Jack at halftime, a 2:30 PM kickoff at Muddy Waters Stadium. Notes of thanks, congratulations, and encouragement may be sent to Hillsdale c/o head coach, one of McAvoy’s former players, Keith Otterbein, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI 49242.

Chargers Inch Closer in Regional Rankings


1. Nebraska-Omaha (9-0)
2. Grand Valley State (9-0)
3. North Dakota (8-1)
4. Central Washington (8-1)
5. Ashland (7-1)
6. Winona State (9-1)
7. Hillsdale (8-2)
8. South Dakota (6-4)
9. Saginaw Valley State (6-3)
10. Wayne State (Nebraska) (7-3)
11. Michigan Tech (5-5)
12. Indianapolis (6-4)

Well folks, the win by Hillsdale at Findlay and the South Dakota loss to UNO has moved Hillsdale one spot forward in the regional rankings released yesterday.

The Chargers now sit 7th, one step outside the coveted Top 6. Things will get very interesting with a number of big games on the slate.

First and foremost, Hillsdale must dispatch of #9 Saginaw Valley when the Cardinals visit Muddy Waters Stadium. A Saginaw win eliminates Hillsdale but probably won't be enough to put SVSU into the mix.

Two GLIAC opponents who can help Hillsdale this week are #11 Michigan Tech when Findlay visits and #12 Indianapolis who travels to Northwood. Husky and Hound wins will boost Hillsdale's strength of schedule and weaken Ashland's. Ashland didn't play either Tech or Indy. Indy has already secured a winning record. Tech can do that with a win and boost Hillsdale's resume as the Huskies part of the criteria is "results versus teams .500 or above".

Central Washington hosts UNO. A win by the Mavericks will drop CWU to 8-2 but how far the Wildcats drop is hard to estimate, and it is likely that they are already into the field. Nothing is certain until the NCAA announcement on Sunday.

Winona State (9-1) sits in the coveted 6th spot and plays #10 Wayne State College (7-3) in the Metrodome this Saturday. Either of these teams is a lock. A Winona win likely gets them a playoff spot outright. A Wayne State (Nebraska) win means "Earned Access" comes into play. The winner of the game will be the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champ. Earned Access will replace the #6 seed with Wayne State thus removing a GLIAC or NCC team. For me, I will be cheering for Winona. I would much rather see a team with a 10-1 record be awarded a playoff site than an 8-3 team.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Waldie Takes GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week

Hillsdale College's Aaron Waldie has been named GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week for his 5 touchdown receptions against Findlay this past Saturday.

The junior from Sylvania, OH had a record-setting day for Hillsdale in its 45-7 win over Findlay. Waldie caught eight passes for 148 yards and a school-record five touchdowns. His five TD catches set a single-game record, and gave him the single-season mark of 17 touchdown catches this season. Waldie also set a single-season school record in receiving yards in the game, with his 148 giving him 1,106 for the season.

All Kinds of Charger Records and Milestones Set at Findlay

Milestones set by members of the Hillsdale Charger football program this past Saturday at Findlay:

RB Vinnie Panizzi eclispses 1000 yards rushing.
QB Mark Nicolet goes over 3000 yards passing.
WR Aaron Waldie surpasses 1100 yards receiving.
PK Mark Petro kicks his 50th extra point.

Records that fell at Findlay:

Nicolet extends single-season passing yards record to 3,037. He also sets the single season passing touchdown record at 29. Mark's 215 completions are a Hillsdale College single-season record as well.

Waldie sets the new Hillsdale receiving touchdown record at 17 for a season and ties the single-game touchdown catch record with 5. In addition, Waldie breaks Ed House's single-season receiving yardage record and now has 1106 on the season.

Nick Gurica now has the most receptions in a season with 68.

Mark Petro sets a new single-season extra point record with 52.

The team's 411 points this year are a new Hillsdale record.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hillsdale or Ashland? The Debate Rages.

With one week of the 2007 schedule remaining, the debate rages on as to who should be awarded a spot in the NCAA Division II football playoffs-Ashland or Hillsdale?

Both teams must win their remaining games. Hillsdale has the much tougher task as the Chargers host feisty Saginaw Valley at 6-3. Ashland hosts winless Gannon.

Fans from across the region have been duking it out at's message board.

It would be a bitter ending to a great season if Hillsdale is left at home while Ashland plays on into the postseason.

Adding to the bitterness of the argument is the fact that Ashland was trailing Grand Valley before the game was canceled due to too much lightning in the area. Call it good luck for Ashland, bad luck for us. But, let's leave that out of the argument. Ashland fans point our not playing Grand Valley as equally lucky for us and unlucky for them. Neither of us officially played Grand Valley. Let's focus on what we do know.

Hillsdale thoroughly dismantled Ashland 49-28 in a game that was far more of a rout than the 21 point margin.

The NCAA adds winning percentage, strength of schedule, and opponent strength of schedule together to determine a team's overall body of work. Even though Ashland has one less, it is quite possible mathematically that Hillsdale's schedule numbers will map up .071 advantage the Eagles will carry in winning percentage if the clubs both win on Saturday.

Wins by Indy and Michigan Tech will help Hillsdale's numbers even more. Ashland didn't play either school but did play both of Tech and Indy's opponents, thus wins by the afore mentioned boost Charger numbers and weaken Ashland numbers.

All in all, a committee will decide. Let's just hope they see it in a Charger blue way. Maybe Mark Nicolet's record setting day against Ashland will help sway them.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video could be worth a trip to the playoffs.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Chargers Roll on the Road to 45-7 Victory

Mark Nicolet became the first Charger to ever throw for 3000 yards in a season. He found Aaron Waldie in the endzone 5 times today. Waldie shatters the single season TD catch record of 12 and moves it to 17. Great overall effort and by far the best showing away from the 517 area code.

Grea job fellas!

Get the scoop from or go to the Gametracker. Tony Nicolette's Gliac Column

Hillsdale (6-2, 7-2) at Findlay (3-5, 4-5)

Findlay looks to recover after a rough outing last weekend and see if they can't give themselves a shot at a winning season. Slowing down the high-powered Hillsdale offense will be required in order to do so. The Chargers have had almost no trouble moving the ball on the road, but for some reason the defense has had a hard time keeping up its end of the bargain away from Muddy Waters.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Continued balance. The Chargers have really improved the ground game over the past few weeks, and no longer rely on Mark Nicolet alone to move the ball. Doing the same this week (much like Ashland did vs. Findlay last week) bodes well for them.
- Avoid mistakes. Hillsdale racks up the yardage away from home, but they've also helped their road opponents stay in games with some sloppy play. The Chargers have essentially been in the playoffs for the last three weeks, so they need to keep that mindset here and play a clean game.
- Get stops. Against better teams this year, Findlay has consistently had trouble finishing drives. HC needs to make sure this continues in this game. Keeping the Oilers off the board and setting yourself up with short fields can put them at a disadvantage early. If Findlay gets behind and has to throw, advantage Hillsdale.

Findlay Keys:
- Line it up. Don't make the mistake that Tiffin did last week and try to stop the Chargers from passing. First of all, it can't be completely taken away. Second, the Chargers have shown they are more than capable of running the ball effectively when given the opportunity. Minimizing and containing is Findlay's best shot here. They won't be able to completely stop or take away one particular thing that HC does.
- Successful ground game. If Joel McDaniel and Jonathan Bell get back to both being over 100 yards this week, Findlay is in business. This keeps them in control of the tempo, and keeps Hillsdale's offense off the field.
- Score points. When Findlay has won games this year, they have finished drives and found ways to score. The Oilers will be able to run the ball in this game (Hillsdale is eleventh in the league and gives up 200+ per game on the ground), but settling for FG's or "zeroes" when they get into the red zone will spell almost certain doom.

Prediction: Hillsdale needs a ton of help to make the post-season, but the help (should they get it) won't do them any good if they don't handle their own business first. Like Ashland, I think they'll be dialed-in for this one. They'll need to be, as their road difficulties are well known and their soft spot against the run plays to Findlay's strength on offense. I'm going with Hillsdale here, but I'm not convinced that it's a lock by any means. Hillsdale 38, Findlay 26.

Full Column

Friday, November 02, 2007

How High Can Nicolet Fly?

Mark Nicolet broke Hillsdale's single season passing yardage record this past Saturday when he took his 2007 total to 2770 yards, now 106 yards past Mike Gatt's mark set in 1985 enroute to a Charger national championship.

The most amazing thing about Nicolet's feat is that he did it in 9 games compared to the regular season and playoff games Gatt needed.

The intriguing aspect of Nicolet setting the record so early is that he has at 2 and possibly more games to push it even further. He has averaged 307 yards per game. Two performances at half that clip still puts him past the elusive 3000 yard mark that no other quarterback in blue and white has been able to attain.

Is 3500 yards attainable? Who knows?

I bet if you ask Nicolet, he would trade it all for a shot at playing on 11-17.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Big Regional Game on CSTV Tonight Nov. 1

Watch Nebraska Omaha battle South Dakota tonight on TV. CSTV will carry the game live. Charger fans need to cheer for UNO.

Check your cable or satellite listings. Dish Network carries CSTV on 152.

Team needs editors, too - Opinion

Mary Petrides
Hillsdale Collegian

November 1, 2007

Saturday's football game was a rush: the Chargers won 31-14 in one of the most exciting home games of the season.

Tiffin University boasted a good-sized crowd, packing the visitor bleachers with far more fans than were in Hillsdale's student section. Perhaps this was because of the weather: It was cold, wet and windy enough to make birds tipsy as they flew over the field.

I was there, in the pep band, huddling in penguin formation between songs and sipping the hot apple cider that Sarah Mitchell brought for us.

I heard Tiffin's fans scream. I saw the shirtless and visibly hypothermic pit posse do
pushups on the soggy turf. I felt my embouchure freeze every time I put my mouthpiece to my lips. I heard Simpson residents sing "Glory, glory, what a wonderful pair of pants / the pants are marching on," and I saw their banner of pinstriped slacks on a broomstick.

I can't remember having so much fun or laughing so hard at a Hillsdale football game. At the end of the game my voice didn't work, my nose was running like a cheetah, and I wasn't sure if all my toes were still connected to my feet. And it was worth it.

Notably absent from the stands, however, were several "Collegian" editors who last week urged Hillsdale students to "pack the bleachers with our hand-painted signs and smiles" and "give them the applause and hollering they deserve."

To the editorial board's credit, News Editor David Landow came for the second quarter. He hollered once or twice, but mostly sat alone on the cold, wet bleachers huddled in a black coat and matching hat.

He carried no hand-painted signs.

Hillsdale's student section would have been nearly doubled if the entire editorial board had done what they asked their fellow Hillsdale students to do. But one editor showing up for one quarter without a hand-painted sign doesn't "pack the bleachers with our hand-painted signs and smiles."

Write, editors. Write, because the pen is mightier than the sword.

But know that actions speak louder. It doesn't take a sword to attend a football game.

Editor's note: Not only do we write with mighty pens, we editors here at The Collegian pride ourselves on letting our freelancers mock us, even when they don't bother to find out what out-of-town trips and graduate school tests kept us from the game. Not to worry, though, we'll always support our teams in print.

Team needs editors, too - Opinion

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More Fun with Chuck: I've Got Your Back Ferris State

As part of the Grand Valley and Ferris State rivalry week, a contest was held. Fans were asked to make amusing videos and the best one's producer would win $250 in prizes.

A Grand Valley student was the winner with a parody of a Britney Spears fan whining "Leave Britney alone." His "Leave Ferris Alone" was featured at halftime with the Lakers already up 34-0. Ferris fans felt the showing of the video was in poor taste and unsportslike. I tend to agree, especially considering the context of the score and that Ferris players were reportedly coming back onto the field for the second half when it was shown.

So Ferris fans and any other D2 fans, I present this little tribute to Grand Valley coach Chuck Martin for you.

It's all in fun. I guess I should have entered the contest.

I apologize for forgetting to thank Cowboy Eric at one of the other great D2 fan sites! I "borrowed" the pictures for the galleries.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chargers Remain in 8th in Regional Log Jam

NCAA Division II Northwest Regional Rankings (October 29, 2007)

1. Nebraska-Omaha (8-0)
2. Grand Valley State (8-0)
3. North Dakota (7-1)
4. Central Washington (7-1)
5. Ashland (6-1)
6. South Dakota (6-3)
7. Winona State (8-1)
8. Hillsdale (7-2)
9. Saginaw Valley State (6-2)
10. Michigan Tech (5-5)
11. Wayne State (Nebraska) (6-3)
12. Northwood (Michigan) (4-4)

No movement this week as the leaders of the Northwest Region all hold serve.

Important games to watch this week include:

1. Nebraska-Omaha - 6. South Dakota (Thurs. Nov. 1)
4. Central Washington at MN St. Mankato
5. Ashland - Wayne St. (MI)

Running Game Propels Chargers to Big Win

Jim Pruitt, News Editor
Hillsdale Daily News

While still possessing one of the best passing attacks in the nation, Hillsdale College found a new weapon in its arsenal — a running game.

Out of rhythm in the air, the Chargers used a bruising ground attack to separate themselves from Tiffin in a 31–14 nonconference game Saturday at Muddy Waters Stadium. The win keeps Hillsdale’s playoff hopes alive as they prepare for a road game at Findlay this week.

Vinnie Panizzi rushed for a career–best 161 yards and two touchdowns to help Hillsdale (7–2) secure the win under cloudy skies and brisk northwest wind. The Chargers gained more yards on the ground (261) than they did in the air (190) for the first time all season.

“Now Findlay and Saginaw Valley have two facets to defend against,” Chargers offensive coordinator Barry Fagan said referring to Hillsdale’s next two opponents.

Full Story

Friday, October 26, 2007 Tony Nicolette's Gliac Column

Tiffin (3-0 GLFC, 7-1) at Hillsdale (6-2, 6-2)

The Chargers have a lot to gain with this game. Despite Tiffin's schedule not being overwhelmingly strong, they are still 7-0 against Division II opponents. A win here can only help the Chargers in their quest to gain entrance to the playoffs. Tiffin looks to prove they will be able to hang with GLIAC opponents when they enter the conference next year.

Tiffin Keys:
- Solid offensive output. QB Matt Root is a solid player completing 65.7% of his passes and averaging over 230 yards per game passing. Hillsdale has been prone to giving up yardage, so Tiffin should be able to move the ball. WR's Dyshaun Edwards and LaMar Tipton have been Root's main targets this year; Pierece Wade is averaging upwards of 90 yards a game on the ground.
- Contain the Chargers. Stopping Nicolet, Gurica and Waldie is darn near impossible - especially at Muddy Waters Stadium. But the Dragons need to come close. If the Hillsdale offense is able to do whatever it wants, TU could be in trouble.
- Avoid the shootout. Both teams can move the ball but Hillsdale definitely has the advantage at home, especially in a track meet.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Play some defense. Tiffin has shown the ability to move the ball, but against lesser competition. The Chargers need to do what they can to frustrate the Dragons and not let them gain confidence on the road.
- Offense back on track. Mark Nicolet really didn't have his best stuff at Mercyhurst last week. With that said, the Lakers have actually been pretty solid against the pass so Nicolet's struggles were not shocking. Tiffin's lone loss this season was to a Ohio Dominican club that throws the ball very well, so if the Chargers can emulate the game plan ODU used they should be able to move the ball via the air.
- No mistakes. Turnovers helped Mercyhurst stay close last week. Giving a team like Tiffin any extra help could very easily prove costly. Don't allow that to happen.

Prediction: Despite playing clubs of little to no national acclaim, the Dragons continue to rack up wins having lost only twice since the start of 2006. Hillsdale has proven itself to be more than formidable this season, but they let mistakes get in the way of being undefeated to this point. Losses against Ferris and UIndy arguably should not have happened, and Tiffin would love to add its name to the list of teams that aided in snuffing out HC's playoff hopes. Much like Northern, Hillsdale has shown they are a much better club at home and I think they will look that way again this week. Hillsdale 37, Tiffin 28.

Full Column

Regional Games to Watch

October 27, 2007
1. Nebraska-Omaha 7-0 at St. Cloud St. (4-4)
2. Grand Valley 7-0 - Ferrris St. (4-4)
3. North Dakota 6-1 at Minn. Duluth (3-5)
4. Central Washington 6-1 - Augustana (3-6)
5. Ashland 5-1 - at Findlay (4-4)
6. South Dakota 5-3 (5-2 D2) - MN St. Mankato (4-4)
7. Winona State 7-1 at MN Crookston (1-6)
8. Hillsdale 6-2 - Tiffin (7-1 / 7-0 D2)
9. Saginaw Valley 5-2 at UIndy (5-3)
10. Indianapolis 5-3 - SVSU (5-2)
11. Minnesota State Mankato 4-4 at USD (5-3 / 5-2 D2)
12. Findlay 4-4 - Ashland (5-1)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Collegian Gets After Its Readers to Bleed Charger Blue.

The Collegian David Bykowski's Independents Column

Tiffin Dragons (7-1) at Hillsdale Chargers (6-2), 2:30 ET

For Tiffin, this game technically has little significance this season. The Chargers are but a blip on a schedule where games against Missouri-Rolla and Central State remain, two obstacles separating the Dragons from a GLFC title. For Hillsdale, the game has more significance: ranked #8 in the latest regional rankings, the Chargers need wins in this game and subsequent tests against Findlay and Saginaw Valley State to have any hope of sneaking into the playoffs. But in reality, the greatest meaning to this game is the fact that with Tiffin joining the GLIAC next season, this is the kind of game that can start a long conference rivalry.

As expected at the beginning of the season, Tiffin has plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball. QB Matt Root has emerged as the leader under center with the versatile Donnie Johnson playing just about any offensive skill position for the Dragons. Root's arm has been good for over 1,800 yards so far this season with many of those thanks to receptions by WR Dyshaun Edwards and LaMar Tipton. On the ground, it seems like it's a different leader every week: throw the names of Pierece Wade, Alvin McKnight, and even Donnie Johnson into a hat, pull one out, and there's your leading rusher. Jon Hemmelgarn has started to see more action recently and has emerged as yet another threat in the Dragons' versatile offense. Defensively, it's hard not to start with a pair of linebackers: leading tackler Parris Burt and sophomore Drew Douthit, who already has 12 tackles for loss and six sacks. The defensive line has put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks thanks to DL Luke Seal with a team-high 13 tackles for loss and converted offensive lineman Wyatt Thames, who has a team-high eight sacks on the year.

Hillsdale, however, has been quite a surprise this season. Picked ninth in the GLIAC in the preseason coaches poll, the Chargers' only blemishes on the year have been close losses to Indianapolis and Ferris State, and they have a big win over Ashland (#5 in the regional rankings) and a shutout win over Michigan Tech. QB Mark Nicolet has been nothing short of amazing this season, completing 68.5% of his passes for over 2,500 yards on the year and 24 touchdowns to just five interceptions with WR Nick Gurica (58 catches, 850 yards, 8 TD) and Aaron Waldie (49 catches, 898 yards, 12 TD) being the favorite targets. The defense hasn't been great, but in most cases, it has gotten the job done, especially at home. When it does click, it's usually against the pass, as Hillsdale has 15 interceptions on the season as a team, and DB Josh Hutchison has deflected and broken up a number of passes this season, so throwing anywhere near him would not be recommended.

Tiffin's pass defense has been somewhat suspect throughout this season, particularly in a good-but-not-great defensive secondary, and you can be sure that Hillsdale will look to come out with a game plan similar to the one that Ohio Dominican had in their win against the Dragons. The Chargers certainly have the quarterback and receivers to beat Tiffin's secondary, and as long as Hillsdale defense can get enough stops, the Chargers should be able to defend their home turf. But this game definitely has a good chance of being a shootout.

Prediction: Hillsdale 41, Tiffin 35

Full Column

Monday, October 22, 2007

Regional Rankings: Chargers Move up a Pair to #8

Hillsdale moves up two spots from 10th to 8th place this week in the regional rankings. Ashland remains in the 5th spot with its win at Ferris State. Remember the rankings are all mathematical and measure primarily winning percentage in addition to strength of schedule. The Chargers must win their final 3 games if they hope to qualify for a playoff spot. Even if Hillsdale and Ashland both win out, the Chargers have a good shot at catching the Eagles when full strength of schedule is measured. Hillsdale's remaining 3 opponents are 16-6 against division II competition. Ashland's remaining opponents are 7-17. Other factors are calculated as well, including head-to-head results.

Korte Named GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week

Hillsdale College Release

Tom Korte named GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week
October 22, 2007 - Junior linebacker Tom Korte won his first career GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week honor Monday morning. The award was announced by the conference office.

Korte was a key part of Hillsdale's 42-33 win over Mercyhurst College Saturday afternoon in Erie, Pa. After missing the Oct. 13 game vs. Wayne State due to injury, Korte returned to the Charger lineup in a big way, recording a team-high eight tackles and two interceptions.

His second interception came with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers were trying to come back from a nine-point deficit. His pick sealed Hillsdale's second road victory of the season.

Korte has been a starter at linebacker ever since he arrived on Hillsdale's campus in the fall of 2005, and has established himself as one of the finest players at that position in the conference. Korte was named First-Team All-GLIAC in 2006, and was named honorable mention All-American by Don Hansen's Football Gazette. Korte led the GLIAC in tackles last season with 134, and has maintained that pace this season. He was named Hillsdale's team MVP in 2006.

In 2007, Korte has 44 solo tackles, and 74 total tackles, which rank him second in the conference. He has a team-high four interceptions on the season and has 5 1/2 tackles for loss. He was also an Academic All-GLIAC selection last year.

Korte is a 2005 graduate of Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School.

Sam McGuffie: UM Recruit

For all of you who also bleed Maize and Blue. Check out who's coming our way. Look out Buckeyes! Check out this one too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hillsdale Grad Wins KC Marathon

Congrats to 2007 graduate of Hillsdale College Peter Sercer for winning the Kansas City Marathon this past Saturday. It was Sercer's first attempt at the 26 mile-plus distance. He finished in 2 hours 30 minutes and 42 seconds with no other competitors in sight.

On his first try, 22-year-old wins KC Marathon
Kansas City Star

Mercyhusrt Victory: Truly a Team Effort

Yeah, I called the Hillsdale win over Mercyhurst College yesterday "ugly". Spotting a team with a 4-4 record 14 points on the road was pretty ugly. Four turnovers were pretty ugly. But, once you look beyond that you can find some really great accomplishments from the Charger football team.

All year we have marveled at Division II's top trio of quarterback Mark Nicolet and receivers Aaron Waldie and Nick Gurica. They have posted ridiculous, video game-like numbers and have been the star attractions for the blue and white's quest for the D2 playoffs. You would think that if a team could lock down those three statistically the Chargers would be dead in the water. Like Kramer on Seinfeld always said, "You would think so....but you would be wrong."

Nicolet had his toughest day of the year yesterday. Having posted 300 yard or more efforts over the past six games, Mercyhurst gave him fits all day. Mark had thrown 2 picks all year, but the 3 over and 5 under zone by the Lakers clogged up the field and MC nabbed 3 interceptions. Gurica and Waldie were both held to 28 and 30 yards respectively. In the end, all that meant was that different Chargers would step up and win this one.

AJ Kegg nearly broke the 100 yard mark in receptions on Saturday as he caught 4 balls for 92 yards, including a 28 yarder and a clutch 4th down reception that eventually led to Hillsdale scores.

Vinnie Panizzi continued to legitimize the Charger running threat as Hillsdale posted 254 rushing yards. Behind a bullying performance by the Hillsdale offensive line, Panizzi carried 29 times for 112 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Another kid who has spent 4 years in the wings of the Hillsdale ground game is Brett Lark. The senior has played most of the season as the #3 back but he has been impressive in his chances to shine following a TJ Campbell injury. Larked carried 5 times for 69 yards yesterday including a beautiful 59 yard blast deep into Mercyhurst territory.

Gurica even got into the run game a bit. Hillsdale completely fooled the Lakers and put things almost on ice with a 12 yard end-around that Gurica took into the endzone virtually untouched. H-back Billy Kanitz, who scored an earlier touchdown, sealed an end and tackle Jared Veldheer drove the only other Laker half-way to Syracuse. Gurica's touchdown came virtually at the same point during this week's in-doubt affair that his big catch against Wayne State occurred in that still in-doubt affair.

Of course, Nicolet and Waldie didn't go completely unnoticed. The Charger quarterback kept an option and lowered his shoulder to bull through Mercyhurst for a key first down on that last touchdown drive. Waldie tied Dave Misfud's 22 year-old single season touchdown reception record of 12 with the Chargers' first points of the game. Nicolet dropped a perfect pass into all kinds of traffic.

Of course, this win would not have been at all possible if the Charger defense hadn't done its job. There used to be a sign hanging over the equipment room at Hillsdale that read: "We furnish everything but GUTS". Hillsdale sure packed enough of those for this road trip.

After missing most of last week with an ankle injury, Tom Korte returned to his role as the All-American candidate that he is. His 8 stops led Hillsdale, as did his 2 interceptions. The first came on an MC fourth down attempt. Korte sniffed out the screen perfectly, putting the ball back into Charger hands. That spark would lead to Hillsdale's 2nd touchdown, tying things at 14-14. Even bigger that momentum shift was the game saver on what would prove to be Mercyhurst's last offensive play. Facing 3rd and 10 from its own 40, Eric Weber got pressure on Laker QB Mitch Phillis. Korte broke on the ball and secured the win.

Another great defensive performance came from db Josh Hutchinson. He showed why he is the fastest player in the GLIAC as he ran down Laker Richard Stokes for a touchdown saving tackle. Hutchinson broke up 3 passes, made 6 solo tackles, and had a pick of his own. That one came with Hillsdale clinging to a 28-27 lead and would help motivate a 14 play 84 yard drive, culminating in a Panizzi touchdown.

True freshman Cody Henderson continues to shine as he contributed 5 tackles, a pass break-up, and a tackle for a loss.

I had to come back and add a comment about this kid. Mark Petro has gotten so automatic, that we might be starting to take him for granted. 6 of 6 PATs were no easy task.

Hillsdale showed a different wrinkle this past Saturday. When its marquee showmen struggled, the Chargers showed a true team effort with big performances from a number of guys all working toward 11-17.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tony Nicolette: GLIAC Column

Hillsdale (5-2, 5-2) at Mercyhurst (3-4, 4-4)

This is a game that looked like it would be very interesting and have a big impact on the conference a couple of weeks ago. Now, it's one team trying to stay on course for a shot at the playoffs while the other is just trying to get back on course at all as the high-octane Hillsdale offense pays a visit to Erie. The Lakers will try and stop the bleeding of a three-game losing streak.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Tough defense. The Chargers are still short some key players, but they need to not be the catalyst that gets Mitch Phillis and Co. back on track. Keeping them rattled is their best bet.
- Run the ball. Vinnie Panizzi had a big day against Wayne State last week. Look for more from him this week against the less than impressive MC run defense.
- "The road is your friend". Hillsdale has really struggled to have a great performance away from Muddy Waters. They must overcome this if they want to make and succeed in the playoffs.

Mercyhurst Keys:
- Stop the run - well, stop anything. The Laker defense has been, well, offensive the last three weeks. You know Nicolet is going to get his, and if MC allows Hillsdale to run the ball as well this one could be gruesome.
- Offense must re-ignite. Hillsdale's defense has not been fantastic thus far this year, especially on the road. This is when Phillis and Stokes must get things going the way they were a month or so ago.

Prediction: While Mercyhurst should be able to move the ball (I know, I said that last week as well), I just don't see how their defense is going to be able to slow down Hillsdale's offense. The Charger road woes have been almost exclusively on defense, as they are averaging more than 37 points a game away from home. With the Mercyhurst defense playing the way it has the past few weeks, that average should go up. Hillsdale 58, Mercyhurst 38.

Rest of Column

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mark Nicolet, semifinalist for Draddy Trophy

Hillsdale College Release

October 15, 2007 - Hillsdale College senior quarterback Mark Nicolet has been announced as one of 16 Division II semifinalist for one of the most prestigious college football postseason awards.

Nicolet is a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, also known as the Draddy Award. The awards recognizes players who excel both on the field and in the classroom. Eligible players must carry a minimum grade point average of 3.2 and must have demonstrated outstanding news story imageleadership on the team and in their communities.

The award is named after Vincent dePaul Draddy, a quarterback from Manhattan College who developed the Izod and Lacoste brands.

Past winners of the award have included Peyton Manning, Chad Pennington, Craig Krenzel and Danny Wuerffel.

There will be 15 finalists announced on Oct. 25. Each finalist will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and be recognized as part of the 2007 National Scholar Athlete Class. The winner will be announced at the NFF Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. This will be the 18th year the award will be presented.

Nicolet is currently enjoying a record-breaking season for the 5-2 Charger football team. He has compleyed 164 passes in 236 attempts for 23 touchdowns and two interceptions. He leads the GLIAC with 2,398 passing yards this season, and has broken single-game school records for completions and passing yards this season. He needs three touchdown passes to break the school's single-season touchdown pass record, and is less than 300 yards away from Hillsdale's single-season passing yardage record.

Nicolet Takes Passing Efficiency Lead, Others Ranked in D2 Elite

Passing Efficiency,

Rank Name, Team G Pass Att./Pass Com/Int Yds PassTD Pass Eff
1 Mark Nicolet, Hillsdale 7 236 164 2 2398 23 185.3
2 Brad Iciek, Grand Valley 6 126 82 3 1271 15 184.3
3 Danny Freund, No. Dakota 7 179 120 5 1864 17 180.3
4 Billy Malone, Abilene Chr. 7 208 137 2 1992 20 176.1
5 Mike Reilly, Central Wash. 6 200 133 1 1771 19 171.2

Total Offense,
1 Ben King, Minn. St. Mankato Sr. QB 7 377 2582 368.9
2 Mark Nicolet, Hillsdale Sr. QB 7 280 2458 351.1
3 Keith Null, West Tex. A&M Jr. QB 7 338 2417 345.3
4 David Knighton, Harding Jr. QB 6 329 1934 322.3
5 Ted Schlafke, Minn. Duluth Jr. QB 7 442 2198 314.0

Total Passing Yards,
1 Ben King, Minn. St. Mankato Sr. QB 7 337 199 12 20 2516
2 Keith Null, West Tex. A&M Jr. QB 7 314 211 7 25 2454
3 Mark Nicolet, Hillsdale Sr. QB 7 236 164 2 23 2398
4 Chris Dougherty, Saginaw Valley Sr. QB 7 263 172 6 21 2075
5 Billy Malone, Abilene Christian Jr. QB 7 208 137 2 20 1992

Receptions per Game,
1 Nick Smart, Southwest Baptist Sr. WR 7 85 793 7 12.1
2 Dusten Copeland, Western St. Jr. WR 7 58 803 2 8.3
3 Cedric Jones, Valdosta St. So. WR 6 48 522 5 8.0
4 Ashton Gronewold, Mo.-Rolla Sr. WR 7 55 665 7 7.9
5 Nick Gurica, Hillsdale Sr. WR 7 54 822 8 7.7
14 Aaron Waldie, Hillsdale Jr. WR 7 46 868 11 6.6

Receiving Yards per Game
1 Elfren Quiles, Kutztown Sr. WR 7 48 957 7 136.7
2 Aaron Waldie, Hillsdale Jr. WR 7 46 868 11 124.0
3 Scott Peters, Winona St. Sr. WR 7 40 862 9 123.1
4 Weston Dressler, North Dakota Sr. WR 7 46 840 7 120.0
5 Nick Gurica, Hillsdale Sr. WR 7 54 822 8 117.4

Vanover, GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week

Matt Vanover nets second GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week honor this season
Hillsdale College Release

October 15, 2007 - For the second time this season, Hillsdale College punter Matt Vanover was named the GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week. The award was announced by the conference office Monday morning.

Vanover had three punts in Saturday's win over Wayne State, but each were effective in giving the Chargers field position advantage. Vanover's three kicks spanned a total of 145 yards, an average of 48.3 yards per punt. He also kicked a 61-yard punt, his third boot this season of 60 or more yards.

Vanover previously won the award in September. He currently leads the GLIAC with 46.6 yards per punt, five yards per punt more than any other player in the conference.

Hillsdale is 5-2 on the season, and plays at Mercyhurst College at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Chargers are ranked 10th in the latest Northwest Region rankings, released Monday afternoon.

Vanover is a 2004 graduate of Adrian High School.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hillsdale Moves up to #10

The Chargers creeped up one spot in the latest NCAA Northwest Region Poll from 11th to 10th. Remember all voting is done via a mathematical formula that figures winning percentage and strength of schedule. There are no pollsters or computers, just math.

Here are this week's matchups:
1. Nebraska-Omaha (6-0) hosts Minnesota Duluth (3-4)
2. Grand Valley State (6-0) at Northwood (3-3)
3. North Dakota (6-1) idle
4. Central Washington (5-1) vs. Western Washington (2-4) in Seattle
5. Ashland (4-1) at Ferris State (4-3)
6. South Dakota (4-3) at Augustana (3-5)
7. Winona State (6-1) hosts Bemidji State (4-3)
8. Minnesota State Mankato (4-3) host St. Cloud State (3-4)
9. Saginaw Valley State (5-2) idle
10. Hillsdale (5-2) at Mercyhurst (4-4)
11. Michigan Tech (4-4) at Northern MI (1-5)
12. Indianapolis (5-2) hosts Wayne State (2-5)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gurica ties mark in Hillsdale win

Gurica ties mark in Hillsdale win
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Citizen Patriot staff reports

It was another victory and another record-setting performance Saturday afternoon for the Hillsdale College football team.

The Chargers stayed unbeaten at home with a 35-21 victory over Wayne State at Muddy Waters Stadium, and Nick Gurica tied his own single-season school record for pass receptions in a game with 13.

Gurica, a senior from Adrian, had 13 catches for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Earlier this season, Gurica broke the school record of 11 with 13 catches.

Gurica's record-tying catch couldn't have been bigger. With Hillsdale holding a 28-21 lead, Gurica hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Mark Nicolet for his 13th catch of the game with 5:10 left in the fourth quarter. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Gurica caught a 9-yard touchdown pass with the Chargers trailing 21-20.

Gurica also had a 15-yard touchdown reception the first quarter as Nicolet completed 26 of 33 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns.

Hillsdale also had its running game in order as Vinnie Panizzi had 158 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Panizzi had a 2-yard touchdown run, while Billy Kanitz had a 1-yard touchdown run.

The victory left Hillsdale with a 5-2 record overall and in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Hillsdale has won five games in each of the last two seasons but has not reached six in a season since 1999 (8-3).

Hillsdale has four games remaining, including two at home (Oct. 27 vs. Tiffin and Nov. 10 vs. Saginaw Valley State) and two on the road (Oct. 20 at Mercyhurst and Nov. 3 at Findlay).

D2 Northwest Regional Recap

Here is how ranked teams from NCAA Division II's Northwest Region faired on Saturday.

1. Nebraska-Omaha (5-0) beat UND 28-17, now 6-0
2. North Dakota (6-0) lost to UND 28-17, now 6-1
3. Grand Valley State (5-0) beat UIndy 41-17, now 6-0
4. Central Washington (4-1) beat Western Oregon, 49-14, now 5-2
5. Ashland (3-1) beat Northern MI 47-21, now 4-1
6. South Dakota (3-3) beat Western Washington 24-10, now 4-3
7. Winona State (5-1) beat Northern State 49-10, now 6-1
8. Michigan Tech (4-3) lost to SVSU 33-16, now 4-4
9. Minnesota State Mankato (3-3) beat UMD, 35-14, now 4-3
10. Indianapolis (5-1) lost to GVSU 41-17, now 5-2
11. Hillsdale (4-2) beat Wayne State 35-21, now 5-2
12. Minnesota Duluth (3-3) lost to Mankato 35-14, now 3-4

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Way to Finish! Chargers Win 35-21

Everything that did not happen right at Indianapolis for Hillsdale, did happen this Saturday as the Chargers turned in a fantastic finish to their tilt with Wayne State. Vinnie Panizzi turned in a great ground performance for Hillsdale as he had his best day ever in blue and white. The sophomore carried 28 times for 158 yards and a touchdown. Mark Nicolet got his 6th straight 300 yard game with a 26 of 33, 312 yard, 0 interception, 3 touchdown performance. Nick Gurica led all receivers with 167 yards on 13 catches and all three of those touchdown passes from Nicolet. The biggest td came in the 4th quarter to give Hillsdale a 34-21 lead which with the Mark Petro extra point turned out to be the final score.

The Charger defense turned in a gutty effort, playing without its leader Tom Korte who continues to nurse an ankle injury. The Chargers got big, big stops in the final quarter as Wayne was forced to go to the air while playing catch up. Alex Wocjik had 13 stops and true freshman Cody Henderson had 10. Evan Brown forced and recovered a big fumble in the first half.

HC moves to 5-2 and remains in the playoff hunt.

Front Page News!

This blog is hitting the big time! Believe it or not, The Grand Rapids Press put the Chuck Martin Voodoo Doll on the front page of the sports section yesterday. Wouldn't it figure that a perennial scout teamer like me would make the front of the sports section by dinking around with Photoshop. It's all in fun and all of the GVSU fans I have talked to have gotten a big kick out of it.

I am actually going to venture out to Allendale tonight as a guest of's Tony Nicolette after I finish watching the Chargers and Wayne State on webcast. It should be a good game between Grand Valley and Indianapolis.

Here's the article:

Grand Valley streaking toward football history
Friday, October 12, 2007
By Greg Johnson
The Grand Rapids Press

ALLENDALE -- At, an unofficial fan site for Hillsdale College football, a visitor can print a kit to "Build Your Own Chuck Martin Voodoo Doll."

It is Hillsdale that currently boasts the longest winning streak in Division II college football history at 34 games.

Grand Valley State, coached by Martin, stands at 33 consecutive wins heading into Saturday night's homecoming battle with Indianapolis, the second-place team behind the Lakers in the Great Lakes Conference.

Never mind that Hillsdale set the record between the years of 1954 and '57 behind former Michigan State coach Frank "Muddy" Waters; some folks there apparently liked bragging about it for 50 years. (Andy's note: It's part of who we are buddy. It's not about being has-beens or living in the past. It is the bar Charger Football ultimately strives to attain once again.)

"Carefully cut around outline," it says under an outlined picture of Martin holding last year's Division II national title trophy. "Fold on center line. Tape point A to B. Keep in gross place. Apply whatever curse necessary."

Martin figures having curses wished on him for winning is better than the alternative. Not that the Lakers are talking about it.

"We don't talk about it at all," he said. "I'm sure our kids know. I'm sure our coaches know. I know. We are awfully proud of our winning streak. We're happy there is a winning streak. It's great that people every week hear about a winning streak because that means you have one. It's better than a losing streak. That's not much fun."

Read More

Friday, October 12, 2007 Tony Nicolette's Gliac Column

Wayne State (1-4, 2-4) at Hillsdale (4-2, 4-2)

The Warriors will try and make it two straight this week after roughing up Gannon last Saturday. Hillsdale will have to shake off letting a big game get away from them last week at UIndy. Based on how well the Chargers throw the ball and how poorly WSU defends the pass, I'd say things will be a little rosier this weekend in The Dale.

Wayne State Keys:
- Graham/Bell - We've heard a ton about these two guys in the pre and early season. Thus far, Joique Bell has been the only one of the two to stay healthy enough to have a major impact. If these two can have a big day and keep HC's offense on the sideline, WSU's chances improve dramatically.
- Secondary must step up. As I mentioned earlier, the Warriors have been getting torched of late by opposing passing games. Hillsdale LOVES to sling it, so if WSU doesn't do a good job of shutting down the passing lanes this game will likely get out of hand.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Avoid the let down. Last week's loss has to be tough to accept, but the Chargers need to do so and forget about it. Winning out is their best shot at a playoff berth, so HC needs to come out firing and put last week behind them.
- Do what you do: Nicolet chucks it all over the joint, Hillsdale scores points. They may not get a better match-up the rest of the season, as WSU is eleventh in the GLIAC in pass defense.
- Contain Graham/Bell. So far, WSU hasn't been able to threaten anyone via the air. If HC can keep these two from controlling the clock and the flow of the game, they'll be in good shape.

Prediction: Hillsdale has to be ticked at letting last week get away from them. They always play better at home, and WSU's secondary is definitely vulnerable. I think the Chargers recover. They need to, as their playoff season is essentially under way. Hillsdale 55, Wayne State 28.

TWIG Notes

- The dynamic Hillsdale duo of WR's Aaron Waldie and Nick Gurica continue to torch opposing secondaries. Waldie ranks second nationally with 800 receiving yards, and Gurica is fifth with 655. Both are also second and fifth respectively in receiving yards per game, and Waldie is tops in the country with eleven receiving TD's.
- Congratulations to Ashland's Vince Cashdollar, Hillsdale's Mark Nicolet, and Wayne State's Frank Lietke. Each has been named a semi-finalist for the National Football Foundation's Draddy Trophy. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. There were only sixteen semi-finalists in all of Division II, so to get three of those sixteen out of the GLIAC is fantastic. Well done, fellas!
- Despite a lack of help around him, Joique Bell is having another great season for Wayne State. The super-soph is seventh in the country in rushing with 874 yards, and is tied for third nationally in scoring with Ashland's John Schroeder at 15 points per game.
- Last week, teams having their Homecoming game went 5-0 in the GLIAC. So far this year, the league's teams are 7-1 in their Homecoming games, with only Mercyhurst dropping its game against Ashland. Grand Valley, Ashland, and Findlay try their hands this weekend.

Full Column

Thursday, October 11, 2007

CSTV: Brandon Misener, A Regional Affair

The only rankings that matter for the playoffs are the regional rankings

Oct. 11, 2007
By Brandon Misener
Special To

The first regional rankings came out Monday, and like every year, there were some shockers. Those of us who have been following the transition from the old ways to the new methods of selecting the playoff were not shocked at all by the rankings. In fact, if one would decide to put in the time to do the math, they aren't that hard to figure out.

Along with the regional rankings came the typical questions for those following them for the first time.

"How can Grand Valley be ranked No. 1 in the country but No. 3 in their own region?"

hose of us who have been following Division II know the answer. National ranking in the AFCA or polls have nothing to do with playoff selection. The regional rankings are all that matter from a playoff participation standpoint.

Practically, the NCAA could release only one regional ranking, the one at the end. After all, that is when all schedules and results are complete. All we are seeing now is a mid-season snapshot of what would happen if the playoffs were to start on Saturday.

This early release of the regional rankings provides a barometer to allow teams to figure out different scenarios that ensure their participation in the playoffs.

Teams can move up or down based upon a couple of factors, but they can only control one. Winning and losing D2 games has a huge impact on where a team will be ranked. The other factor, strength of schedule, is something over which the team has no control. They have to play the teams on their schedule, as do the teams with which they are fighting for participation.

This Week

It would be hard to live up to last week, but this week is no slouch when it comes to great contests. In fact, it's very close.

There are three equally great contests. The first kicks off Thursday.

Delta State at Valdosta State

The teams are both Top-10 teams and both have playoff and Gulf South Conference championship aspirations. The most interesting thing about this game is that both have new coaches and neither team has faced competition nearly as tough as it will in this game.

The winner of the game will essentially be a win over North Alabama away from a conference championship and an undefeated season. The loser is still likely to be in the playoffs, no matter its result against UNA.

Catawba at Carson-Newman

This is how things "used to be" every year in the South Atlantic Conference. Whichever team won this game would end up as the SAC champion.

In the past two years, Presbyterian and Newberry have won the conference while Catawba and Carson-Newman didn't live even live up to their conference reputations, much less their national standing.

They're both back in the SAC and the nation.

And they're both pretty close to being locks for the playoffs. After this game, Wingate is the toughest team on the schedule of both C-N and Cat U. Right know, that looks like a winnable game for both teams - meaning the loser of this game will likely only have one loss at the end of the season.

Nebraska-Omaha at North Dakota
This is a battle of two heavyweights in Division II.

In spite of the fact that both are undefeated and unlike the first two games between ranked opponents, this game is extremely important to both teams.

Either looks like it could be the class of the North Central Conference, but there are still tough opponents left in conference play. In addition, they both play in the same region as Grand Valley, who will most likely go undefeated during the regular season.

Provided it wins the rest of their games, the winner would most likely have the top seed in the region with Grand Valley in the second slot. The loser, however, will likely have to play in the first round (no bye week) and potentially travel to Allendale in the playoffs - not a desirable situation.

Midwestern State at Tarleton State
Tarleton State has quietly put together an undefeated season. Midwestern State suffered its first loss last week against West Texas A&M.

However, the stakes are the same for both.

In spite of the fact that Midwestern has a loss, they only have one really tough game left - Abilene Christian. Tarleton, however, has games left with Abilene Christian and West Texas.

Both teams need this game to give themselves some room for error the remainder of the way.

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