Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Charger Family

Thanks to all who read, commented, and contributed to this year. Special thanks to all of the Chargers and the staff that is rebuilding Hillsdale College Football into an elite program.

Doing this website has truly blessed me by getting to meet all of you. May this holiday season be safe, restful, and full of memories.

Nine months 'til kickoff!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Three Chargers Tabbed by Daktronics

The annual Daktronics All Region foootball team has been announced, as picked by Super Region 3 Sports Information Directors.

Three Hillsdale College Chargers made the team this season.

1st team defense: Tom Korte LB
2nd team offense: Jared Veldheer OL
2nd team defense: Drew Berube DL

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Send Condolences to GVSU's Skuta via Facebook

D2 football superstar defensive tackle Dan Skuta recently lost his 24 year-old brother. This comes just days before his Grand Valley State Lakers face off against Ashland in a second round playoff game.

It doesn't matter what color the jerseys and helmets somebody wears at a time like this.

C'mon Charger fans, players, and coaches. Let Dan know you are thinking of him in what has to be a very rough time in this young man's life.

Join the Facebook group and post a message on the wall for Dan and his family.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2008 Commemorative DVD Now Available for Purchase

2008 Charger Football DVD now available!!! The 2008 season was a memorable one for the Hillsdale Charger Football Team. Buy your commemorative DVD now by sending a $10 check to:

Jim Veldheer
4550 Old Grand River Trail NE
Ada, MI 49301

The DVD includes the following pictures:

- a special tribute to the senior players
- game and sideline action
- pre- and post game activities
- tailgating at home and on the road
- family, friends and coaches

Here is a sample of just part of the 23 minute long feature video that is just one part of the whole project.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Official Release: 14 players receive All-GLIAC honors from Charger football team

Hillsdale College Release

Fourteen players receive All-GLIAC honors from Charger football team
Tom Korte receives third First-Team nod
November 13, 2008 - A 7-4 season turned in by the Hillsdale College football team was rewarded with a total of 14 players receiving All-GLIAC honors.

The 2008 All-GLIAC football team was revealed by the conference office Thursday afternoon. The team was compiled by a vote of the 12 head coaches in the GLIAC.

Four Chargers earned spots on the First-Team All-GLIAC, led by senior linebacker Tom Korte. This marked the third straight year Korte has earned First-Team All-GLIAC accolades. He finished fifth in the conference in tackles this season with 114, and was second in tackles-for-loss with 18.

Three other Charger players received First-Team honors for the first time in their careers.

Junior offensive lineman Jared Veldheer was named to the First-Team after getting Second-Team All-GLIAC accolades in 2007. Veldheer was a dominant left tackle who was a key part of Hillsdale's high-scoring offense. He hasn't allowed a sack in 33 career starts at Hillsdale.

Junior wide received A.J. Kegg was named to the First-Team after a breakthrough season for the Chargers. Kegg finished with 74 catches for 888 yards and nine touchdowns. He had the second-most receptions in a single season in school history, and was sixth in receiving yards in the conference.

Junior defensive lineman Drew Berube rounds out the four First-Team players for Hillsdale. Berube enjoyed his finest season in 2008 with his ability to make game-changing plays from his end position. He led the GLIAC with 19 tackles-for-loss this season, including a season-high 4 1/2 in the seaosn finale at Tiffin Nov. 8. He was tied for first in the GLIAC with 10 1/2 sacks.

Making Second-Team All-GLIAC from Hillsdale were the kicking combination of punter Eric Schweller and placekicker Mark Petro. It was the first All-GLIAC honor for each of them.

Schweller's story is a remarkable one this season. He started the season as a defensive lineman, but became the team's punter on Oct. 4 after an injury to starter Andrew Wilburn. Schweller went on to average a school-record 45.0 yards per punt in six games. That average was also number one in the conference.

Petro enjoyed a productive season as the team's placekicker, leading all GLIAC kickers in total points with 80. His 35 extra-points were second in the conference, and his 15 field goals made were first overall in the GLIAC.

Senior defensive lineman Eric Weber made the Second-Team after turning in another solid season for the Chargers. He was ninth in the conference with six sacks, and had 7 1/2 tackles-for-loss and 43 total tackles on the season.

Senior Alex Wojcik had his best season in 2008, leading Hillsdale's secondary from his safety position. Wojcik led the GLIAC with six interceptions and was second on the team with 73 total tackles.

Earning honorable mention honors for Hillsdale were: linebacker Austin Niemiec, running back Vinnie Panizzi, offensive lineman Josiah Swartz, tight end Matt Patillo, wide receiver Aaron Waldie, and defensive lineman Mark Yassay.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

14 Chargers named All-Conference

Breaking news: Chargers named all-conference

Here are Hillsdale College Chargers making the All GLIAC Football Team for 2008.

1st Team: WR AJ Kegg, OL Jared Veldheer, DT Drew Berube, LB Tom Korte
2nd Team: K Mark Petro, P Eric Schweller, DT Eric Weber, DB Alex Wojcik
HM: RB Vinnie Panizzi, WR Aaron Waldie, OL Josiah Swartz, DT Mark Yassay, LB Austin Niemiec, TE Matt Patillo

Correction: Vinnie Panizzi was originally omitted from the HM list.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Waldie's Record Breaking Catch

With his 25th touchdown of his career, Aaron Waldie set the all-time Hillsdale record for most ever receiving touchdowns.

Paul File was on hand to capture these images as Waldie takes the pass from Charger QB Troy Weatherhead, makes his way into the endzone, is congratulated by his teammates, and finally flips the ball to his dad Doug in the stands.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tom Korte Named 2008 MVP

The Hillsdale College Football team closed the books on the 2008 season with its annual banquet on Sunday.

Receiving team MVP honors for the second time in his career was Charger linebacker Tom Korte. Korte was #5 this season for total tackles in the GLIAC and second in tackles-for-loss. In his four year career, Korte led the team in stops 3 years with 395 tackles. He also had 9 interceptions. This is the 2nd time in 3 years that Korte has won the award.

Other awards handed out on Sunday:
Captains Awards: Korte, Jared Veldheer, Aaron Waldie
Offensive Freshman of the Year: OL Reid Meador
Defensive Freshman of the Year: DB Nick Hixson
One Play Warrior: PK Mark Petro
Joseph M. Vijuk Defensive Lineman: Eric Weber (3 time recipient)
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Jared Veldheer (2 time recipient)
Offensive Back of the Year: RB Vinnie Panizzi
Defensive Back of the Year: Alex Wojcik (6 interceptions led GLIAC)
Every Player Every Play Award: DL/Long Snapper Schuyler File
Howard "Champ" Messenger Award recognizing achievement on and off the field: OL Josiah Swartz
Leonard Urbonick Award, for Scholarship, Leadership and Ability: OL Phil Davignon

(photo courtesy of Paul and Patty Korte, posted at Chargerblue Space)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hillsdale Release: Chargers close out 2008 football season with thrilling 37-36 win at Tiffin.

Chargers close out 2008 football season with thrilling 37-36 win at Tiffin
November 8, 2008 - In the last game of the 2008 season, there were enough thrills, big plays and tense moments to fill an entire season. But it was a game, and a season, that ended on a positive note for the Hillsdale College football team.

The Chargers wrapped up the season with a 37-36 win over Tiffin University on the road Saturday afternoon. Hillsdale College finishes the 2008 season with an overall record of 7-4, and 6-4 in the GLIAC. The Dragons finished their first season in the GLIAC with a 1-10 record.

After building a 30-7 lead by halftime, Hillsdale watched Tiffin’s explosive offense storm back to eventually take a 36-30 lead with 2:35 left to play. But Hillsdale’s offense had one last drive left in it, and it cashed in at the most crucial time.

Sophomore quarterback Troy Weatherhead found junior wide receiver A.J. Kegg in the back of the end zone for a beautiful pass and catch for the game-winning score with 1:26 left in the game. Weatherhead guided the Chargers 66 yards down the field in just five plays and 63 seconds for the winning drive.

Tiffin got the ball back with 1:20 left in the game. But junior defensive end Drew Berube sacked Dragons’ QB Matt Root, forced a fumble, and recovered the fumble with 55 seconds left to seal the win. The play capped an outstanding game for Berube, the reigning GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week.

Berube finished the game with seven total tackles, 3 1/2 sacks and 4 1/2 tackles for loss, in addition to his forced fumble and fumble recovery.He was a disruptive force the entire game for the defense.

Weatherhead notched career-highs in completions (28), attempts (43) and passing yards (360) in the game. He threw touchdown passes to Kegg (2) and tight end Matt Patillo in the game. Weatherhead finished the season with 2,874 passing yards, the second-most in a single season in school history, and set a school record with 242 completions this season. He beat Mark Nicolet’s school record for completions in a season - 240 in 2007 - by two.

Full Story

Chargers Hold off Tiffin, win finale

After leading 30-7 at the half and 30-15 after 3, Hillsdale gives up 21 in the 4th to go down 36-30 late. Weatherhead leads a 70 yard drive and finds Kegg just inside the end line to put HC up 37-36. Drew Berube ices it for Hillsdale on the next possession with a sack, forced fumble, and recovery.

Hillsdale prevails 37-36, finishes 7-4 (6-4 in GLIAC).

Week 11 Podcast: Your Tiffin Pregame Show

I fly solo this week and blab on and on about this great season, a peek at Tiffin, and lots of thank yous to all who have made this a great season.

Click to listen. November 8: Hillsdale at Tiffin

Thursday, November 06, 2008 Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column

Hillsdale (5-4, 6-4) at Tiffin (1-8, 1-9)

Tiffin wraps up its first GLIAC campaign on their home turf against a Charger group looking for its seventh win of the season. As I've mentioned previously, the Dragons have not folded the tents once this season as far as I can tell so despite the disparity in the records HC will have its hands full.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Pin your ears back - The TU offensive line has had its issues this year. Unless the Dragons post 187 yards on the ground, they'll set a new GLIAC record for the lowest rushing total for a team for a year. Add to that the fact that they've given up a league worst 39 sacks, and the HC defensive front can/should wreak plenty of havoc.
- Plenty of Throwin' - Look for Kegg, Waldie, Holmes and Patillo to have plenty of business against a TU secondary that's allowed 19 TD's this year.

Tiffin Keys:
- Gotta protect Root - The senior QB has actually had a pretty great season considering the constant pressure he's been under. If they can keep him upright, Edwards and Raspberry are terrific deep threats. TU isn't second in the league in pass offense for nothing.
- Contain Panizzi - Tiffin's next to last in the league giving up almost 184 yards per game on the ground. If Vinnie gets rolling and HC keeps Root and Company off the field, it will be harder for TU to stay in this one.

Prediction: All the numbers point to Hillsdale in this one and I do think they'll win. Despite only winning once, however, Tiffin has proven that they aren't always a gimme. Look for the Dragons to keep this one interesting. Hillsdale 34, Tiffin 20.

Full Article

HC Preview: Tiffin

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Chargers travel to Tiffin for 2008 finale
Hillsdale tries to end season with back-to-back wins

Hillsdale College Release

November 5, 2008 - The Hillsdale College football team will take the field for the final time in the 2008 season Saturday, as the Chargers battle Tiffin University in Ohio, starting at 1 p.m.

Hillsdale can close out the season with back-to-back victories for the first time since 2005 with a win over the Dragons. Hillsdale is coming off a 34-14 thumping of Ferris State last weekend in its last home game of the season, while Tiffin is fresh off a 32-28 loss at Michigan Tech.

The Chargers (6-4 overall, 5-4 GLIAC) have clinched their second-straight winning season, an achievement the team hasn't earned since the 1995 and 1996 seasons. Hillsdale closed out the 2005 season with three straight victories.

Tiffin has struggled in its first season as a member of the GLIAC. The Dragons are 1-9 overall, with that lone win coming in a four-overtime thriller against Northern Michigan. The Dragons have been nationally ranked at different points during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but have endured some tough losses against the rigorous competition the GLIAC offers.

Hillsdale and Tiffin have played a completely even series in the four meetings between the schools. The seires is tied 2-2, with both teams winning once at home, and once on the road in the four-year history of those meetings. The teams had a four-year contract to play one another in non-league competition from 2004-07, and now in 2008, they face each other as league rivals for the first time.

Full Article

Monday, November 03, 2008

Berube is GLIAC Defensive POW

Hillsdale College Release:

Drew Berube named GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week

November 3, 2008 - Hillsdale College junior Drew Berube has been a force along the defensive line all season for the Charger football team. Monday morning, he received his first conference honor for his great play this season. news story image

Berube, who played his high school football at Hillsdale High School, was named the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week by the conference office Monday. He is the second player on the team to receive the defensive player of the week award this season, joining senior teammate Alex Wojcik.

Berube led an outstanding defensive effort by Hillsdalein Saturday's 34-14 win over Ferris State Saturday afternoon. Berube had four tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery that helped the Chargers shut out the Bulldogs in the second half.

Berube is ranked in the top three in three GLIAC defensive categories. He is third in sacks with 7.0, tied for second in tackles-for-loss with 14.5, and is first in forced fumbles with four.

Hillsdale ios 6-4 on the season and will wrap up the 2008 campaign at Tiffin University at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Waldie becomes All-Time Hillsdale Touchdown Leader

It was senior wide receiver Aaron Waldie's third touchdown reception of the season, yet the one that will live on most visibly in Hillsdale College football history.

With 24 ticks left in the home finale, Charger quarterback Troy Weatherhead found Waldie open in the endzone on a 2nd and 4 play from the Ferris State 7. The score was his 25th career TD catch, the most ever by a Hillsdale player. It was not only a record breaking exclamation on a fine career played at Muddy Waters Stadium for Waldie, but a dagger into the Bulldogs sealing a 34-14 victory.

Kegg's 66 catches move him to #2 on all-time single season list

Hillsdale College's AJ Kegg has now moved into second place on the Hillsdale College list for most receptions in a single season. With one game to go in this his junior season, Kegg has hauled in 66 catches so far. Nick Gurica's 78 from a year ago is the all-time Hillsdale single season record.

All-Time Single Season Reception List

1. Nick Gurica, 78 catches, 2007
2. AJ Kegg, 66 catches, 2008
3. Ed House, 65 catches, 2001
4. Aaron Waldie, 63 catches, 2007
5. Nick Gurica, 57 catches, 2006

So this Weatherhead think he might be okay for us?

One of the old adages my dad would share with me from his football coaching experiences is that you never want to follow a legend. The shadow is just cast too far and that no matter what you do, you are constantly being compared to the legendary feats that are still fresh in everyone's memories.

Hillsdale College quarterback Troy Weatherhead might know the feeling. While we have all been asking ourselves whether Weatherhead will be able to fill the shoes vacated by all-world Mark Nicolet and even if some of these young guys are going to push for his job, we have nearly failed to enjoy one of the most prolific years ever by a Charger quarterback.

With Saturday's 24 for 33, 315 yard, 4 touchdown home finale performance, Troy now sits #3 on the single season top ten passing list with 2515 yards and a game still to go. He passed Kyle Keefer's old mark set in 1999 of 2435 yards and is 149 yards shy of second place Mike Gatt's 2664 set during the Chargers' 1985 run to a national title. Weatherhead's 214 completions were good enough to pass Gatt's 210 for #2 on the single season completions list.

He's not going to catch Nicolet's 3,335 performance that is unfortunately for Weatherhead probably too fresh in most fans' heads and not even a year old. That's okay. Weatherhead still has some time to distance himself from Nicolet. Remember, this kid is a SOPHOMORE and playing his first full season. For a little comparison and to see how the quarterback position at Hillsdale has changed, look at that all-time list. In Mark's first full season as a starter, he landed on the list at then #3 with 1,996 yards. All we heard from Otter and his staff this summer was that Troy "just needed to keep the car on the road and not worry about being Mark Nicolet". It's safe to say that Weatherhead has more than done that. Sure there have been growing pains but nobody has taken those to heart and learned from them more than #16.

But like learning from growing pains, Troy will tell you that following Nicolet isn't the worse thing in the world. He has always acknowledged that the red-shirt and freshman years practicing with Mark taught him a ton about what it takes to be a quarterback in this offense.

Troy Weatherhead does not have to be the next Mark Nicolet. All he has to do is be Troy Weatherhead. I talk a lot about how easy it is to get spoiled as a Charger fan and that we just take the success for granted now. Well, let's not get too caught up in it all that we don't stop to enjoy or recognize great performances...whether they are as spectacular as one we were just privileged to experience.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Chargers beat Ferris 34-14

Hillsdale College press release

Charger football team celebrates Senior Day with impressive 34-14 win over Ferris State
November 1, 2008 - For senior wide receiver Aaron Waldie, Saturday’s football game between Hillsdale College and Ferris State University was a dream fulfilled.

Waldie broke the all-time record for career touchdown catches (25) in school history as part of a 34-14 victory by the Chargers over the visiting Bulldogs. Hillsdale is now 6-4 on the season and 5-4 in the GLIAC, while Ferris State also has that same record. The Chargers will close out the 2008 season with a road game vs. Tiffin University Saturday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m.

Waldie, and 16 other seniors, were honored on Senior Day in a pre-game ceremony at the home finale, and the team played with effort and intensity worthy of Senior Day. The Chargers jumped out to a 14-0 lead, then scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to close out their home schedule with a 5-1 record for the second consecutive season. Waldie and linebacker Tom Korte, the only fourth-year seniors on the team, opened their Charger home careers on Sept. 10, 2005 with an identical 34-14 win over the Bulldogs, making this game the perfect bookend to two careers that will stand out in the 117-year history of Hillsdale College football.

The Charger offense was brilliantly called throughout the game, as the team used big plays to score in the first half, then grinded out long drives that ate time off the clock in the second half. That unpredictability was a key in Hillsdale’s balanced effort throughout the game.

On its third play from scrimmage, Hillsdale used the big play to take an early lead. Quarterback Troy Weatherhead launched a long pass to wide receiver Andre Holmes, who outmaneuvered and outran two Bulldog defenders to score a 72-yard touchdown that electrified the crowd. Holmes caught the pass, made two moves upfield and used his tremendous speed to reach the end zone.

Full Story Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column, Jared Veldheer Profile

Ferris State (5-3, 6-3) at Hillsdale (4-4, 5-4)

An interesting match-up. Ferris has been flat at times of late, especially on offense. While Hillsdale has moved the ball pretty well recently, they have been prone to giveaways in the red zone.

Ferris Keys:
- Stuff the run - When Vinnie Panizzi has big games, HC usually wins. The 'Dawgs need to keep him under 100 yards.
- QB Consistency - Things have been "by committee" under center of late. That's great, as long as the play is solid. When Parrish took over last week, he only hit on 9 of 20 against a weak NU defense. That won't cut it at Muddy Waters.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Blitz a lot - Getting after whichever QB is in there and not letting them get comfortable is a must. They'll likely get their rushing yards, but if you can contain that and then force mistakes in passing situations you set yourself up nicely.
- Score in the Red Zone - I can't a recall a team giving away more scoring chances at their opponent's goal line. They've got to stop doing that and get points in those situations.

Prediction: Ferris really hasn't been especially sharp of late, but when they get into stretches like this they always seem to start playing well. They'll need to as HC has to feel like they let one get away last week AND the Chargers are always much better at home. I'm tempted to make this a "coin flip" special, but I just can't see Hillsdale not taking care of this one at home. Hillsdale 31, Ferris 28.

Getting to Know - Jared Veldheer

While we normally stick to seniors, this week we have a top-flight junior from the league as our special guest. Hillsdale College OT Jared Veldheer is our guy, and here are some of his thoughts:

- What is your major?

- What's your favorite class?
Developmental Biology

- Other than your home field, what are your favorite & least favorite places to play in the GLIAC?
Favorite would have to be at Northern Michigan playing in the dome. Least favorite is Ashland.

- How is life on the road in the GLIAC? How do you pass the time on the long trips?
Its not too bad (besides traveling up to the UP). I usually listen to music or watch cut-ups of other team's defenses on my laptop.

- Who is the hardest hitter on your team? In the GLIAC?
The hardest hitter on our team, and in my opinion is the hardest hitter in the GLIAC is Tom Korte. He is an animal.

- How many text messages do you get/send in a day?
One or two. I'm not the biggest texter.

- What's your favorite food?
A Moe's chicken burrito.

- What's your favorite TV Show?
That's a tough one. My favorite comedy is the Office. My favorite action/drama is Lost.

- What influenced your decision to choose Hillsdale/playing in Division II?
My older brother played basketball here so I was already familiar with the campus. When I started getting recruited I really liked the coaches here and felt like Hillsdale was the right choice for me.

- What do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to attend medical school.

Thanks so much, Jared. Best of luck the next couple of weeks, as well as in your senior campaign next year.

Full Column

Friday, October 31, 2008

Collegian: Show Some Love, Hillsdale.

Show some Charger love, Hillsdale
Nathan McClallen
Issue date: 10/30/08 Section: Opinion

In a 2003 Sports Illustrated on Campus review, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale was voted the worst college sports town in America. It wasn't necessarily due to lack of success; more blame was placed on the large majority of students who would rather party than attend games. This nationally publicized embarrassment caused an immediate turnaround in school spirit. Last January, the SIU Salukis were the first mid-major basketball program to host ESPN College Gameday, an honor usually reserved for established basketball programs such as Kansas University or the University of North Carolina.

After being involved in the revolution at SIU, I see similarities in the lack of school spirit here at Hillsdale College. It's easy to have low expectations since Hillsdale is widely known for its academics, but I'm not willing to settle for underachievement. If over 70 percent of the student body is involved in sports or Greek life in some way, then why is it that players on the sidelines often outnumber the entire "student section" on game days?

The apathy here may be a result of any number of things, but there is no reason it has to be the way it is. True, Hillsdale students may have a heavier workload than the average college student, but let's not get carried away. When questioned about their absence, most students would reply that they were studying all day, or had to write a paper. There must be some way to free up those hours in the middle of Saturday afternoon. If you plan ahead and attend the game, the rest of your day will probably be more efficient. I am skeptical that someone's entire day is consumed by intense scholastic endeavors.

Even if some Hillsdale students do homework from sun-up to sundown, a football game at 2:30 p.m. on a Saturday should be the perfect time for a much-needed break from studying. If you actually take advantage of your free ticket, you may learn to appreciate other aspects of the experience. Some are drawn to the appeal of taunting the opposing team's scrawny punter; others may enjoy the antics of the pep band. At the last home game, one extracurricular display involved a group of students attempting over 200 push-ups (in increments of 7, 14, 21, etc., as the Chargers scored). While it's amusing to see a skinny shirtless guy in front of a crowd, it's even better to watch him realize that he cannot physically complete 49 push-ups.

It would be great to see a complete transformation of the approach the student body takes towards athletics, but that may not be a realistic short-term expectation. If nothing else, come support your football team on Senior Day this Saturday. Let's see what it's like to have a real crowd. Make signs, paint your face, just have fun. With or without your presence, senior Tom Korte will annihilate the opposition like Achilles on the battlefield.

But, you should still come and cheer him and the rest of the seniors on to victory.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Podcast Week 10: Bring on the Bulldogs

Hillsdale returns home to face the Ferris State Bulldogs on Senior Day.

Hillsdale Sports Information Director Brad Monastiere joins the program this week.

Click to listen. October 30: Hillsdale vs. Ferris State

HC Preview: Ferris State

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Chargers wrap up home schedule with game vs. Ferris State
Teams have played each other for 35 straight years

Hillsdale College Press Release

October 29, 2008 - One of the GLIAC's longest-running rivalries will be renwed Saturday, as the Hillsdale College football team hosts Ferris State University. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium.

These teams have played each other every year since 1972, and have enjoyed a competitive rivalry over the years. This year, both teams enter their meeting with winning records and a strong desire to conclude their good regular seasons with victories over tough opponents.

This is the third time in four years the Bulldogs will make the 3 1/2 hour trek south to Hillsdale to face the Chargers. Hillsdale has won the last two home meetings against Ferris State - 34-14 on its 2005 Homecoming/home-opener game, and 29-27 in a memorable night game played in a misty rain on Sept. 23, 2006. That was the last night game played in Hillsdale.

Ferris State (6-3 overall, 5-3 GLIAC) sits in fourth place in the GLIAC and in 10th place in the latest Division II regional rankings. The Bulldogs are coming off a dramatic 19-13 win over Northwood University last week. The Bulldogs scored a touchdown with less than a minute left in regulation to clinch the victory.

The Bulldogs feature the third-best scoring defense in the GLIAC, allowing just 18.7 points per game. Hillsdale is fourth on that list, allowing 19 points per game. The Bulldogs are second in the GLIAC in total defense, and one of their best games as a defensive unit came in a loss to Grand Valley State. Ferris State held the Lakers to a season-low 31 points in a competitive 31-13 decision.

Ferris State also has the best pass defense in the league, which figures to get tested against Hillsdale's passing offense, which is third-best in the conference, averaging 259.8 yards per game through the air.

Full Story

Saturday, October 25, 2008

(Updated) Opportunistic Warriors beat Chargers in Motown

Wayne State is probably the most unglamorous team in America with a 7-2 record. This ain't a fashion show though and the Warriors did what they had to do in order to get past Hillsdale 14-7 in Detroit.

Hillsdale outgained Wayne State in total yardage but the Warriors held Hillsdale twice on fourth down thwarting 1st quarter Charger drives. A fumble and 2 interceptions kept the Chargers from finding the endzone as well.

The biggest bright for Hillsdale came as they got their only points on a beautiful Troy Weatherhead to Vinnie Panizzi strike in the first quarter that covered 36 yards.

Full Stats available here.

Transcript of live blog from WSU website

Brad Monastiere, Hillsdale College Sports Information Director's recap:
Wayne State edges Hillsdale 14-7 in defensive struggle
October 25, 2008 - On a cold, windy day in Detroit, the Hillsdale College football team got shut down by one of the best defenses in the GLIAC, as the Chargers lost 14-7 to Wayne State University. Hillsdale drops to 5-4 overall and 4-4 in the GLIAC, while the Warriors improve to 7-2 on the season.

In the lowest-scoring game played by the Chargers in nearly two years, the Wayne State running back duo of Joique Bell and Daryl Graham made the difference in a long drive late in the fourth quarter for what turned out to be the game-deciding score.

Bell scored from one yard out, capping an 11-play, 67-yard drive that took 5:35 off the clock and broke a 7-7 tie with 2:47 remaining in the game. The Chargers had two more possessions in the final two minutes, but were unable to score against an athletic and stingy Warrior defense. This game marked the fewest points scored by a Hillsdale team since Oct. 15, 2005, in a 7-3 loss to Ashland. The Chargers had averaged 31.5 points per game against Wayne State in the past four meetings between the two teams.

Hillsdale’s offense did a good job of moving the ball against Wayne State. The Chargers gained 341 yards of total offense compared to 309 by the Warriors. But Hillsdale turned the ball over three times, twice on interceptions and once on a fumble at the Wayne State one-yard-line. Although Wayne State passed for just 96 yards, the team didn’t commit a single turnover and held a seven-minute edge in time of possession in the game.

The Chargers took an early 7-0 lead on a 36-yard touchdown pass from sophomore QB Troy Weatherhead to junior WR A.J. Kegg. Less than halfway through the first quarter, the Chargers held a 7-0 lead. But those would be the final points scored by Hillsdale on the day, as Wayne State showed why it’s ranked second in the GLIAC in average points allowed per game.
Full Story

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chargerblue Space Hits Milestone

This week, Chargerblue Space hit a major milestone. As of this post on Friday night, there are now 1,055 pictures posted. That is an amazing number. What is an even more amazing thought is the fact that those pics have come from only a handful of users. Imagine how many Charger pics (Paul File) are still out there waiting to be uploaded and enjoyed by the rest of the Hillsdale faithful.

Thanks to all who have made Chargerblue Space such a success. Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column

Hillsdale (4-3, 5-3) at Wayne State (5-2, 6-2)

The Chargers put together one of their better offensive displays last week. Repeating that this Saturday will prove difficult. They are facing a WSU club that posted its second shutout of the year a week ago, and is second in the league in points allowed (13.6 per game).

Hillsdale Keys:
- Play YOUR game - WSU likes to force the issue in terms of field position. They do this with special teams and great defense. HC can't get caught up in that kind of thing. Move the ball, don't turn it over (Wayne State is tops in the league at +13), and cash in when you're in the red zone.
- Stuff the Run - Wayne's weakness all season has been on offense. Exploit this. Don't let Joique and Company get things going on the ground. Kevin Smith is talented but inexperienced, and may not be suited to having to throw a bunch if the Warriors are behind late.

Wayne State Keys:
- If it ain't broke - don't fix it! Wayne's methods haven't been pretty this year, but at 6-2 it's hard to argue their effectiveness. Admittedly, WSU has stumbled a bit at times. That said, they've only lost twice and it could be argued that one of those losses shouldn't have happened. Keep forcing the issue the same way you have been.
- Have at least SOME offense - Yes, the D has been great. However, Hillsdale has all the weapons they need to light things up. Moving the ball and eating clock have to happen to keep that powerful HC unit off the field or they may get things figured out and get WSU in a hole.

Prediction: This is a pretty interesting match-up. WSU certainly has its strengths, but for the second time in three weeks they'll face one of the league's better offensive units. The last time they did so, they took a pretty good lickin'. It's hard for me to pick against what they've been doing this year (especially at home), especially considering that they now realize that the playoffs are not an unrealistic possibility. With all of that said, I have a Hillsdale hunch again this week for some reason. Hillsdale 24, Wayne State 16.

Full Column

Week 9 Podcast: This one is Bush League

Hillsdale heads to Wayne State on Saturday. Warrior play-by-play man Chad Bush makes his annual return to the podcast to preview this one.

Get out your wallets because Li'l Chargerblue is back with another round of 5 stars plays as she picks this week's winners around the GLIAC.

Click to listen. October 18: Hillsdale at Wayne State

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wayne State Preview from

Hillsdale College Release
(Photo from Hillsdale Daily News,

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Playoff implications on the line as Chargers head to Detroit to face Wayne State

GLIAC contenders collide at noon Saturday

October 22, 2008 - The football teams at Wayne State University and Hillsdale College have a rivalry that spans more than 35 consecutive seasons of matchups. Saturday's game between the two teams in Detroit will be one of the first with playoff implications for both teams.

The Chargers, 5-3 on the season, will play Wayne State (6-2) starting at noon Saturday at Wayne State's Adams Field. The winner of this game figures to gain a significant edge in the race for a top-three spot in the GLIAC, as well as better positioning for an NCAA playoff berth.

The last time the Warriors sported a record of 6-2 or better through eight games was in 1977. With wins in their last three games, the Chargers can equal their 8-3 ledger from last season.

Both teams are coming off resounding victories, but through very different means. Hillsdale tied its season-high with 49 points in a 49-25 rout of Northern Michigan University at home. After trailing 17-7 late in the second quarter, the Charger offense exploded for 21 points in less than three minutes, between the end of the second and beginning of the third quarters, to pull away from the Wildcats.

The Warriors scored possibly their most impressive win of the season, shutting out Ferris State 19-0 on the road last weekend. Despite scoring just one offensive touchdown, the athletic and opportunistic Wayne State defense forced four turnovers and had one defensive touchdown in recording its signature victory of the season.

Full Release

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What about the Hillsdale College Defense you ask?

Thanks to whoever anonymously commented on the Jackson paper's recap of Saturday's game, "What about the defense, Losik?"

You ask and you shall receive.

Hillsdale wins 49-25 and obviously 25 isn't the most impressive number for a defense in terms of points allowed. But like anything, you have to drill down into those numbers in order to get the real story about this football game.

Let's look deeper into some key defensive moments that helped the offense overcome some early mistakes and pull away tying its biggest points production of the year.

Even though the Charger D's initial series of the day resulted in a Northern fieldgoal, Hillsdale kept Wildcat back Mark Boussuah out of the endzone three straight carries from point blank range.

Two of the most impressive defensive moments came on early back to back series and were nearly identical. After forcing Northern into a 3rd and 10, Drew Berube picked up his 6th sack of the year forcing 4th and 21. Kam Mueller did the same the next time NMU touched the ball, sacking QB Carter Kopach on a 3rd and 10.

Maybe not as specular but just as important, the Charger defense did its part to keep an offense with a hot hand on the field as much as possible just before the half. Having cut the 'Cat lead to 17-14 on the biggest pass play of the year, a 59 yarder from Troy Weatherhead to Andre Holmes all things were going the Chargers' way. On the ensuing possession, Hillsdale stuffed NMU on 3 plays and even picked up a Northern false start forcing the Wildcats to punt from their own 30. That series only used 38 seconds of clock time and gave Hillsdale the ball back at it's own 38. It would take Weatherhead and company 5 plays before taking back the lead for good at 21-17 on a 14 yard AJ Kegg reception and Mark Petro extra point.

The hot streak continued on both sides of the ball right into the 3rd quarter. Vinnie Panizzi took his first 2nd half carry 71 yards to the house. Palmer Schoening ended NMU's next touch with an interception and the Charger defense stopped Northern's 4th down conversion try a series later. Hillsdale led 35-17.

Northern closed within 10 to make the score 35-25 but the Chargers protected the lead allowing the offense to add the final 14 points. Speaking of the final points, the defense deserves a lot of credit for at least the last 7. After another 3rd down sack by Matt Szula, the Charger pressure got to the NMU punt team causing punter Garret Peck to chase the football to his own 3.

If you figure in that botched punt with all of the tackles for loss by the Chargers on the day, Hillsdale took away 62 yards of rushing for a total of 87 yards allowed. Hillsdale is 3rd best in the GLIAC against the run allowing 3.7 yards per carry.

In other categories, Hillsdale is ranked 3rd in the GLIAC with 10 interceptions and Alex Wojcik is #1 in the league with 4.

The 24 sacks this unit has recorded is good for 2nd place in the league. Drew Berube and Eric Weber are tied for third with 6 a piece. Tom Korte leads the league with 14.5 tackles for loss.

Hillsdale is #2 in red-zone defense, #2 in fewest opponent 3rd down conversions, and #3 in fewest opponent 1st down.

The Charger defense will next be tested at noon Eastern as Hillsdale travels to downtown Detroit to face Wayne State this Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Mary Veldheer and can be found at Chargerblue Space.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Regional Schedule for the rest of the season

At 5-3, the Chargers have not been able to crack the Super Region 3 poll. Above is the remaining slate for teams ranked in the top 10. The top 6 teams at the end of the season earn playoff spots with #1 and #2 getting first round byes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 Quick turnaround sparks Hillsdale to big win

Quick turnaround sparks Hillsdale in big victory
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Citizen Patriot staff reports

The Hillsdale College football team erased a 10-point, second-quarter deficit quickly Saturday afternoon and defeated Northern Michigan 49-25 at Frank ``Muddy'' Waters Stadium.

Hillsdale, 5-3 overall and 4-3 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, scored 21 points in a span of 2 minutes, 27 seconds between the end of the second quarter and the first play of the third.

The flurry began with a 59-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Troy Weatherhead to Andre Holmes. The Chargers took the lead just before halftime when Weatherhead threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Kegg.

On the first play of the second half, Vinnie Panizzi ran 71 yards for a touchdown. Panizzi finished with a career-best 175 yards on 22 carries, and he tied his career high with three touchdown runs.

Holmes added a 4-yard touchdown pass from Weatherhead in the fourth quarter for the first two-touchdown game of his career. Holmes caught five passes for 99 yards, and Weatherhead was 20-for-29 for 301 yards and three touchdowns.

Hillsdale backup quarterback Brad Otterbein, a graduate of Hillsdale High School and son of coach Keith Otterbein, scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 3-yard run to complete the scoring.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Downtown Andy Brown on the Podcast

Hillsdale welcomes the Northern Michigan Wildcats to Muddy Waters Stadium on Saturday.

WCSR's Andy Brown checks in to talk about the Chargers and this week's game..

Click to listen. October 18: Hillsdale vs. Northern Michigan Preview of Saturday's NMU game

Hillsdale College Press Release

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Hillsdale returns home to host Northern Michigan
Chargers won last year's meeting 42-41

Click on the link below for this week's game notes.

Game Notes (.pdf)

October 15, 2008 - One week after playing the number one-ranked team in the nation on te road at night, the Hillsdale College football team returns to more familiar surroundings this Saturday, as the Chargers host Northern Michigan University. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium.

Hillsdale is 4-3 overall on the season and 3-3 in the GLIAC. The Wildcats, coming off a 24-10 road loss to Wayne State, are 1-5 overall and in conference play.

This game marks the second straight long road trip for Northern Michigan, having driven down to Detroit and back last weekend. Long trips aren't unusual for this Upper Peninsula team, who routinely travel eight hours or more for its road games. The last time NMU played at Hillsdale was in the Chargers' home opener for the 2006 season, and the Wildcats rallied from a 14-point, first-quarter deficit to beat the Chargers, 31-24.

Since that game, Hillsdale has been extremely tough at home. Hillsdale is 12-2 at Muddy Waters Stadium since that game, and have won seven of those games by 17 or more points.

Full Release Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column

Northern Michigan (1-5, 1-5) at Hillsdale (3-3, 4-3)

Despite having lost two of three, the Chargers still have an outside shot at the playoffs. They'll need a lot of help, but even if the help arrives it won't do them any good if they don't win the rest of their games. The struggling Wildcats should prove to be a welcome sight.

Northern Keys:
- Offensive Balance - Yes, Wayne State's defense is good - but so is Hillsdale's. 68 yards passing again this week doesn't have a much better chance of cutting it against the Chargers either.
- Beware the Explosion - Hillsdale's offense has moved the ball well over the past month, but hasn't really scored a lot of points. Don't let this be the game where they put it all together and post a big number.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Snap out of it - Yes, the Chargers have dropped a couple of late - but to good teams and despite offensive outputs that weren't horrible. Now is when they need to get things figured out and dialed in and get a complete effort from the offense, defense, and special teams. They play a pair of clubs the next two weeks (Wayne and Ferris) that presently sit at 5-2, so they need to get things clicking now.
- Big Day for Troy and the Offense - As I mentioned above, I almost feel like Hillsdale is on the verge of a break-out game. Troy Weatherhead really has played decent of late, and the weak Wildcat defense may be just what he needs to really let loose.

Prediction: I'm rolling with The Dale breaking out of their funk in this one. Not sure what makes me say that, but it's a hunch I can't ignore. Add in the fact that NMU might be travel-weary with their second straight trip Down-State, and I think the situation is ripe for a big day for the Chargers. Hillsdale 49, Northern Michigan 14.

Full Column

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Charge On!

Thanks to Jim Veldheer for capturing this moment after the Findlay game.

Find more videos like this on Chargerblue Space

The white and blue,
Charge on! Charge on!
We're rooting for you.
Our spirits soar like banners high,
With every score as the Hillsdale men,
Go charging by.
Fight on!
You men from the hill,
Fight on! Fight on!
With all of your will.
Let's unite anew, come on!
Men of White and Blue

Monday, October 13, 2008

Veldheer gets mention at

by Josh Buchanan, and NFL Draft Bible


Scouts have been coming through Hillsdale College this season and will be back again next year to see junior RT JARED VELDHEER (6070E, 311E) due to his long arms, athletic ability, size, and ability to dominate. He had 14 knockdowns and allowed no sacks against Ashland earlier in the year and has been a bully to opposing defenders. The biggest thing keeping him from being an elite tackle at this point is raw technique, not finishing as much as he should, and level of competition. His quick feet, ability to maul opponents, and to beat them with finesse will surely attract the attention of NFL teams in the spring. Veldheer earned 2nd team All-GLIAC honors last season but will likely earn 1st team All-GLIAC this year and pick up some All-America honors as well.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Top-ranked, undefeated Grand Valley State defeats Charger football team, 41-10

Hillsdale College Release:

Top-ranked, undefeated Grand Valley State defeats Charger football team, 41-10
October 11, 2008 - Saturday night, the Grand Valley State University football team showed Hillsdale College why it’s the number one team in the nation.

Using several long-yardage scoring plays, the Lakers beat the Chargers 41-10 in front of 14,161 people at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale. Grand Valley State is now 6-0 on the season while Hillsdale falls to 4-3 overall and 3-3 in the GLIAC. The Chargers are back home next weekend, hosting Northern Michigan University at 2:30 p.m.

Grand Valley State scored on an 89-yard touchdown pass and a 60-yard touchdown run on its first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead very early in the first quarter. The Lakers would later score touchdowns that covered 41, 61, 22 and 32 yards over the course of the game. Grand Valley State is known for its team speed, and that speed was on full display on those scoring plays.

Full Story

Friday, October 10, 2008

Get Yer Pix on Chargerblue Space is your place to view, post, and share the best Charger football pictures.

Week 7 Podcast

The Chargers head west this Saturday to take on GVSU under the lights in Allendale.'s Tony Nicolette is the guest this week.

Click to listen. October 11: Hillsdale at Grand Valley Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column

Hillsdale (3-2, 4-2) at #1 Grand Valley (5-0, 5-0)

It's Homecoming in Allendale, and GV will face the Chargers for the first time in a few seasons. The Lakers have been decidedly sharp on offense the last couple of weeks, and the defense is allowing less than five points a game in their last four outings. HC has been moving the ball pretty well lately, but they have had some trouble finishing drives and putting points on the board.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Finish Drives - If you get a chance to score points on the Lakers (or anyone, for that matter), you better do it.
- Stuff the Run - GV has been much more of a "run first" bunch this year. The Chargers are second in the league in run defense, and they'll need to live up to that ranking this week.

GV Keys:
- Rotten Return - HC QB Troy Weatherhead (Comstock Park, MI) returns to Metro-Grand Rapids for his first start at The Shipyard. While he's shown quite a bit of poise thus far this season, he hasn't seen a pass rush quite like this yet. Look for GV to try and rattle him and force some mistakes, and really test Jared Veldheer and his mates with how well they can pass protect.
- The Offensive Line - It's been terrific all year, and the Lakers have run the ball well regardless of how good the defense was that they were facing. This bunch will need to be solid again, and be sure they get a hat on Tom Korte whenever possible.

Prediction: GV has been playing at a rather high level the past two weeks. While they did split a pair of games, Hillsdale really can't say the same. Unless these trends make a sudden, quantum shift it's hard to think HC will go into Allendale and take this one. Grand Valley 35, Hillsdale 15.

Full Column Hillsdale linebacker back home to face GVSU

Hillsdale linebacker back home to face GVSU
by Greg Johnson | The Grand Rapids Press

Hillsdale's Tom Korte is a Catholic Central graduate who leads the GLIAC with 11.5 tackles for a loss and has 2.5 sacks.

ALLENDALE -- Hillsdale College middle linebacker Tom Korte periodically comes home to Grand Rapids and often has to answer the Grand Valley State and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference questions.

"Yes, we're in the same conference; no, we haven't played Grand Valley since I was a freshman because it's just the way the schedules have worked -- you know that explanation," he said.

"I would be lying if I said that this game wasn't a little bigger. I get to come home. I'll have a lot of family and friends there. We're playing the team that's No. 1 in the country -- the team at the top of the conference. It's big."

Korte, a senior linebacker, preseason All-American and the Chargers' leading tackler, is expected to play a major role in the outcome against the Lakers on Saturday night.

"Korte has had a phenomenal career there," Grand Valley coach Chuck Martin said. "He's all over the field, he's physical, has a great motor and he is also great at stripping the ball. He makes a lot of plays."

Martin admitted Korte was one of the prize recruits that got away when he graduated from Catholic Central.

"We really liked him, and he has just excelled, too," he said. "I'm sure he will be fired up coming home. We'll try to be ready for him. I think our guys will see on film that he's different than the linebackers we have faced so far this season. This guy goes downhill, reads quick, reacts quick and hits people. We have to make sure we get him blocked."

Korte, 6-foot, 235 pounds, leads the GLIAC with 11 1/2 tackles for loss, ranks fourth in tackles per game (11) and has 2 1/2 sacks as Hillsdale has built a 4-2 record. The Chargers are second in the league behind Grand Valley in the team rushing defense statistics (117.8 yards per game).

Hillsdale officials said the NFL has shown interest in the star linebacker by sending scouts to several practices and games. Korte, who is in a pre-dental program and will graduate in May, said football past college is something he will consider.

"I feel right now I would like to play more," he said. "That's later though. I came here to help (Coach Keith Otterbein) turn this program back in the right direction and win games."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hillsdale vs. Grand Valley Preview:

Hillsdale Release:

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Charges face the ultimate test vs. top-ranked Grand Valley State Saturday night
Lakers haven't lost to Chargers since 1994

October 8, 2008 - For anyone competing at the high level of college athletics, games like the one the Hillsdale College football team plays Saturday night are what it's all about.

The Chargers, fresh off a 20-13 homecoming win over Findlay, travel to Allendale to battle undefeated and No. 1 ranked Grand Valley State University at 7 p.m.

These two teams haven't played one another since Oct. 8, 2005, when the Lakers defeated the Chargers 38-10 at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium. Since that game, Grand Valley State has won two more Division II national championships, while Hillsdale has taken a big step up the GLIAC ladder, going 8-3 in 2007.

Hillsdale is currently part of a big traffic jam for third place in the GLIAC. Three other teams: Ferris State, Michigan Tech and Wayne State, are all tied with the Chargers with 3-2 records in conference play. Ashland is also 4-2 overall, but its 4-1 GLIAC mark put it in second place, one game behind the Lakers.

This week, the first NCAA Division II regional football rankings came out, and Hillsdale is not in the top 10. However, after this weekend, the Chargers will have already played three of the top four teams in that poll: Grand Valley State, Ashland and Michigan Tech.

Hillsdale hasn't beaten Grand Valley State since 1994, but there have been several close games in the series betwene the teams in recent years. The games between the Chargers and Lakers were decided by five points or less in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2000. But starting in 2001, when the Lakers rose to become a national power, the games weren't as closely contested. The closest game between the two teams was played in 2003, when GVSU beat Hillsdale 37-24. The Lakers played just one other regular season game in 2003 that was decided by fewer points, and that was a 9-6 overtime win over the Univeristy of California-Davis, a I-AA school.

Full Release

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Charger Kicking Game is Tops in the Country

Hillsdale place kicker Mark Petro is currently ranked #1 in the NCAA Division II with 1.83 field goals per game. He is ranked 24th in scoring with 8.5 points per game.

The punting combination of freshman Andrew Wilburn and backup junior Eric Schweller whose day job is on the Charger defensive line lead D2 in net punting at 39.95 yards per punt.

Search the rest of the current NCAA Division II national statistics.

Monday, October 06, 2008

More Pics from FJ Gaylor's visit to Hillsdale.

Check out this one of Tom Korte and 8 others from professional photog FJ Gaylor's visit to Hillsdale this week. Gaylor was on campus to shoot photos for admissions and other promotional purposes. I would say he got some great ones.

Read FJ Gaylor's blog post.

Wojcik and Schweller are GLIAC Players of the Week

Hillsdale Release:

October 6, 2008 - For the first time this season, Hillsdale College teammates earned GLIAC Player of the Week accolades in the same week.

Senior defensive back Alex Wojcik was named the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week, and defensive end/punter Eric Schweller was named the GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week. Both awards were announced by the conference office Monday afternoon.
news story image
Wojcik was in the center of several big defensive plays in Hillsdale's 20-13 win over the University of Findlay. He blocked a field goal in the first half, and intercepted a pass on the Charger 13-yard-line with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory. He finished the game with eight total tackles and four solo stops. Wojcik has a team-high three interceptions this season.

Schweller, normally a starting defensive lineman for Hillsdale, news story imagewas pressed into punting duties due to an injury to freshman Andrew Wilburn. Schweller performed very well, launching four punts that averaged 47 yards per kick. Two of his punts pinned the Oilers inside their own 20-yard-line. One of Schweller's punts was measured at 58 yards.

Wojcik played his high school football at Detroit Catholic Central, where he was part of two state championship teams. Schweller played at Bellbrook High School in Bellbrook, Ohio

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Late interception seals 20-13 Homecoming win for Hillsdale College, over Findlay

Late interception seals 20-13 Homecoming win for Hillsdale College, over Findlay

Hillsdale College Release

Chargers have won five straight Homecoming games

October 4, 2008 - A common theme in the four victories this season by the Hillsdale College football team has been key plays by the defense at key times. That same trait was on full display in Saturday’s 20-13 Homecoming win by the Chargers over the University of Findlay.

A last-minute interception by senior safety Alex Wojcik turned out to be the game-clinching play for Hillsdale, who is now 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the GLIAC. The Oilers fell to 2-4 with the loss. The Chargers will hit the road next week to face No. 2-ranked Grand Valley State University in Allendale at 7 p.m.

The Charger defense held Findlay to a 4-for-15 mark on third-down conversions, made one fourth-down stop, and held the news story imageOilers to 1-for-3 on chances inside the red zone. Wojcik’s interception was the second forced turnover of the game for Hillsdale, and the Charger defense recorded four sacks on the day.

Full Article

Call it an ugly win, but actually.....

HUGE CORRECTION: Eric Schweller punted for the Chargers on Saturday. I thought the box score was wrong. I was wrong. Very sorry to have reported it as Andrew Wilburn. Great job Eric.

A win is a win is a win is a win. Yes it is. Everything at Hillsdale College today was tailor made, an impeccable day for football. Unfortunately, the 20-13 Charger victory over the University of Findlay wasn't nearly as pretty as the surroundings.

If a mistake filled loss has the ability to cause the proverbial hang over a week later, then that game 7 days ago to Ashland was a potent concoction. Another 4 turnovers and an overall lack of crispness summed up a lot of the Charger performance today--things that drive coaches to the nut house.

But as Otter and his staff have greatly improved the Hillsdale College product to its current level, have we gotten so spoiled that we can't appreciate several positive aspects of the effort?

Luckily for Hillsdale, there were enough other great performances to more than offset the blunders.

Hillsdale completely bullied Findlay on both sides of the ball. By the end of the day, Oiler defenders were drawing straws on the sidelines to see who was going to face Hillsdale's Jared Veldheer. Big #66 had an absolutely dominating performance at his left tackle slot.

Speaking of bullying, Vinnie Panizzi continues to punish GLIAC defenders. The junior tailback had 117 yards on 27 bruising carries and a pair of touchdown. Speaking of bruising, Panizzi had to leave the field after one extremely hard collision. Fans were arguing over whether it was a busted collar bone or a separated shoulder. I guess none of the above was the correct answer because Panizzi returned shortly after and proved to be the most reliable option for Hillsdale today.

Mark Petro continued to be solid in the kicking game, connecting on field goals of 32 and 21 yards and a pair of extra points. Punter Eric Schweller got the nod today over Andrew Wilburn and uncorked a 58 yarder in second half. Schweller also dropped two of his four punts inside the 20. After today's performance, He and Wilburn are now statistically the GLIAC's top punting team.

The Charger defense wasn't flawless today but played awfully well. A trick double pass went for 37 yards on the last play of the first quarter and would set up the Oilers for a field goal that tied the game a 3 a piece. The only other really big play Hillsdale would give up on the day came later in the 2nd quarter, a 40 yard seam route that gave Findlay its only lead of the day, 10-3. Those 77 yards would account nearly 30% of the Oilers' offensive output.
The secondary would be redeemed as it was a Charger defensive back who would seal the victory with what became the day's prettiest single moment. Down only a touchdown with a minute and a half, Findlay made a 9 play 39 yard push all of the way to the Charger 25 yard line looking to force overtime. On 1st and 10 with 24 seconds left in the game, Alex Wojcik stepped in front of a Lanzara pass and iced it with an interception.

That big play on the Oiler's last possession bookended a blocked field goal that kept Findlay off the board as it took the game's opening possession to Hillsdale's 13.

Hillsdale held Findlay to just 50 rushing yards on the day, 3 better than the 53 surrendered last week against Ashland. Tom Korte played lights out once again as he collected another 12 tackles on the day. He had a lot of help though. Defensively Chargers were flying to the ball all day.

The Chargers had a field day pestering Findlay quarterback Anthony Lanzara who was sacked 4 times. Austin Niemiek got to Lanzara twice. Eric Weber had one solo sack and got some help from Drew Berube on another. The Chargers have 19 sacks on the year and are tied with Grand Valley for the league lead.

Speaking of Grand Valley, Hillsdale faces the Lakers in Allendale next Saturday night.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Podcast Week 6

The Chargers take on Findlay this Saturday and it is homecoming.

RJ Walters of the Hillsdale Daily News pays us a visit.

Click to listen. October 4: Hillsdale vs. Findlay

Recruitment Photography: Inside Hillsdale

Check out FJ Gaylor's latest blog post. He is a professional photographer who shoots pictures for colleges to use in their recruitment literature.

FJ is in Hillsdale this week and has posted some really nice pictures of life "up the hill".

Hillsdale Collegian: Get out of the library and support.

Get out of the library and support
By: Andrew Dodson
Posted: 10/2/08

A red headed student wearing a black hoodie with blue flames on the arms and the hood wrapped around his head had the nerve to bring his Western Heritage book with him to the game. Every time I glanced over, his head was buried in documents of the past while our defense fought through one of the most impressive second half defensive stands I've seen in my four years at Hillsdale - in the present. To attend a game that will very well determine post-season destiny and choose to ignore it is disrespectful and disgusting.

This was a tough weekend. Too many opportunities gone badly for the Charger football team in the waning minutes of their game versus the Eagles of Ashland University. Also, the Charger volleyball team experienced their third GLIAC loss for the first time in three years thanks to the Huskies of Michigan Technological University.

It wasn't the best weekend to be a Charger.

'What ifs' and pointing fingers won't change the GLIAC standings for either team, but there was an element missing from both games this weekend: fans. This is not a one-time problem relating to only this weekend either. Throughout this entire fall season, there has been a dramatic lack of student fans supporting the programs that build Hillsdale College as one of the greatest academic-athletic institutions in the country.

It's rare to see an athlete like senior linebacker Tom Korte, for example, who has several NFL scouts taking notice of him while juggling a biology major, chemistry minor and studying for entrance into dental school. Two-time first team all-GLIAC team member, senior setter Stephanie Booms, is another example of an athlete who performs at such a high level on the court and finishes an academic year off with a 3.944 grade point average. It is uncommon to see this and not enough students are taking advantage of our programs' greatness.

At the football game this past weekend, there were no more than 50 students in the Otter's Army student section. Two weeks ago against Northwood University was even worse - maybe due to poor weather. This weekend though, there were no excuses.

A red headed student wearing a black hoodie with blue flames on the arms and the hood wrapped around his head had the nerve to bring his Western Heritage book with him to the game. Every time I glanced over, his head was buried in documents of the past while our defense fought through one of the most impressive second half defensive stands I've seen in my four years at Hillsdale - in the present. To attend a game that will very well determine post-season destiny and choose to ignore it is disrespectful and disgusting.

A few hours later things were no different in Jesse Phillips Arena for the volleyball match. The diehard fans that support every chance they get were there, but it isn't enough. I have witnessed a packed gym for volleyball games in my time at Hillsdale and when opposing team's fan section, mainly made up of parents, is louder then the home-team's section, there's a problem.

Hillsdale College's academic load is difficult and weekends are convenient to finish up the work procrastinated from the beginning of the week, but is sparing a few hours away from the library going to determine the finale of one's academic career? When there are more people in the library and in dorm rooms studying on a Saturday afternoon then at Muddy Water Field, the purpose of the liberal arts education we seek from this college is unsuccessful. Life goes beyond the books. It's not a matter of the love of athletics; it's a matter of supporting your colleagues on and off the field, track and court.

With the most exciting fall weekend in Hillsdale College athletics coming up this week, take a break from studies, tell members of the cross country team good luck at the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, check results to see if our volleyball team upsets one of the nation's best volleyball teams at Grand Valley State University and stop by the swim team's Blue & White before heading to the field to cheer on the Chargers as they seek a Homecoming victory versus the University of Findlay Oilers.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Davignon Named to Small College All State - AFCA Good Works Team

Hillsdale College Release

Charger football player Phil Davignon one of 22 winners of the AllState Good Works Award
October 1, 2008 - Hillsdale College football senior Phil Davignon was honored today as one of 22 nationwide winners of the All-State Good Works Award.

Davignon, an offensive lineman on the team, was one of 71 players nominated for the award nationwide, which includes all divisions of college football, including Division I, II, III and the NAIA. The award recognizes players who "embody the true spirit of teamwork and giving back through selfless contributions and commendable acts of kindness," according to the press release.

Davignon is the first player from Hillsdale College to receive this award. He is a native of Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Click on the link below for the entire press release.

AllState Good Works Award release Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column

(Special note to Chargers home TV color commentator and road radio color commentator Dan Bisher for mentioning last week as well as Tony's column. Hopefully Tony's prediction for this week will be as accurate as last week's was.)

Findlay (1-3, 2-3) at Hillsdale (2-2, 3-2)

The Chargers look to rebound after a tough loss in a game that they probably sould have won. Findlay has been on a rather ugly slide over the last three weeks, and a trip to an ornery Hillsdale bunch is not likely to be the "cure for what ails 'em".

Findlay Keys:
- Sling it - Anthony Lanzara has proven that he can throw the ball relatively well. The Oilers need to stretch the defense and make big plays whenever possible.
- Cash in - UF is +7 this year in turnover margin. They need to not only force the Chargers into mistakes, they need to turn them into points.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Come out ticked - They lost a game they had done enough to win last week. Don't let it happen again.
- Get after Lanzara - HC is second in the league in sacks. Getting pressure in the UF backfield can force a few turnovers in the Chargers' favor.

Prediction: Findlay really seems to be struggling of late, and I have a hard time seeing how they can reverse that against a solid Hillsdale club that now has a pair of losses and needs to play with some urgency. Hillsdale 38, Findlay 8.

Tony's full Column

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Homecoming Happenings

Here is the schedule of events for Saturday October 4th.

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast

Grewcock Student Union

Tickets for all the day's events sold at registration.

9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Car Show

Sage Center and

Howard Music Hall Parking Lots

10:00 a.m.

Women Commissioners Meeting

Knorr Room

10:00 a.m.

Alumni Choir Reunion and Rehearsal

McNamara Rehearsal Hall

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Bookstore Open

New Location

Grewcock Student Union

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Legacy Scholarship Reception

Formal Lounge -

Grewcock Student Union

11:30 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Reunion Class Gatherings

2003, 1998, 1993, 1988, 1983,

1978, 1973, 1968, 1963, 1958

12:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Charger Tailgate

Oak and College Street Tents

Lunch: $5 per person

1:30 p.m.

Homecoming Parade

2:30 p.m.

Charger Football vs University of Findlay

Muddy Waters Stadium

Adults $6, Students $3,

Senior Citizens $2

Children ages 12 and under $2

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Post-Game Dinner

Knorr Family Dining Room

Grewcock Student Union

$5 per person

7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.

"On the Quieter Side..." Cocktail Reception

Formal Lounge and Patio

Grewcock Student Union

Cash Bar Available

8:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.


Featuring RARE EARTH!

Get Ready! * Feelin' Alright

I Just Want to Celebrate

$5 per person;

Cash bar available

Full Schedule

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

College Spotlight: Tinora graduate Eric Weber is a one-man wrecking crew at Hillsdale
College Spotlight: Tinora graduate Eric Weber is a one-man wrecking crew at Hillsdale
Lynn Groll

HILLSDALE, Mich. -- Whether it be in Tinora High School green and white or in Hillsdale College blue and white, Eric Weber has been a one-man wrecking crew during his gridiron career.

Weber arrived on the Hillsdale campus as a freshman with a small physique when it comes to Division II football standards at 6-2, 195, but has since transformed himself into a 245-pound monster in the trenches on the Hillsdale defensive line.

"He's been a kid that's developed," remarked seventh-year HC mentor Keith Otterbein, who was an award-winning linebacker for the Chargers from 1975-78. "We were excited to get him initially. He was a little bit undersized. That was one of the things we were a little afraid of. He's worked very hard to get himself built up for that stage. Obviously he's maintained his quickness while putting on that weight and adding that strength. It's made him a very difficult guy to block."

Weber aided Tinora to back-to-back Green Meadows Conference titles during his final two seasons with the Rams and led the Defiance six-county area each of those years in tackles. As a junior, Weber spilled 150 ball carriers before racking up 184 tackles as a senior during the fall of 2003.

"I think one of the big reasons I chose here was because it was a Division II football program with high competition-wise but also had really high academics," explained Weber. "I knew getting a degree here could really help me in the future.

"When I came here I was just under 200 and I think the heaviest I've been is about 250," added Weber. "My first year I just remember getting banged and beat up all the time in scout. That winter I just got in the weight room and worked hard and was eating in the cafeteria and eating about everything I could eat. Eventually the weight came on, and strength came with it, and I've been able to maintain it ever since. It was a lot of work, but I did it."

Full Article

RJ's Take on Saturday: Must Read

RJ Walters from the Hillsdale Daily News sheds a little perspective on Saturday's loss to Ashland.

It is too early to say how good of a career Weatherhead might go on to have, but it's also too early to say Weatherhead can't cut it at this level.

Ashland was a playoff team in 2007 for a reason and the GLIAC puts out more pro football players, arena leagues and the CFL included, than any other D-II conference and no coach will argue the game moves extremely fast for newly minted college QBs.

Fans on the other hand have a tendency to think quick and talk quicker. It would be easy to say Weatherhead handed the Eagles a win with the Chargers on the cusp of victory, but sometimes there is no better lesson than failure.

Nicolet failed time and again early on, just look at the team's record, but he lead the Charger's to one of their most successful season's ever in 2007.

The defense will continue to make plays, the coaching staff will do their best to arm Weatherhead for success and just watch-Saturday's heartbreak may turn out to be something Weatherhead looks back at as a turning point in the not-so-distant future.

Full Article

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Seeing Red, Chargers lose to Ashland

Despite trailing Ashland by two scores most of the game, Hillsdale had more than ample chances to get a win at home today. Unfortunately the Chargers fall to the Eagles 24-17 on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Muddy Waters Stadium.

The Chargers marched the opening drive deep into Eagle territory before putting the ball on the deck at the Ashland 20. The Eagles responded with an 80 yard touchdown drive of their own to take a 7-0 lead.

Ashland would extend the lead to 10-0 before Vinnie Panizzi and Hillsdale found the endzone with 12:00 left in the 1st half. Ashland answered to go up 17-7 but the Chargers and kicker Mark Petro added a 34 yard field goal to go in 17-10 at the half.

After Ashland missed a field goal on the opening drive of the second half, Hillsdale missed a golden opportunity. After methodically moving the Chargers down the field to the Ashland 7, Troy Weatherhead's pass was picked off by Ashland's cory Skoczen and returned to midfield.

The Eagles seemingly had the magic as Cundiff and receiver Joe Horn would hook up for a 14 yard Ashland TD 9 plays later. Ashland 24 Hillsdale 10.

Hillsdale clawed back to within a touchdown as the Chargers answered quickly. This time Weatherhead found TE Matt Patillo in the endzone for a 17 yard strike. Ashland 24 Hillsdale 17.

A resurgent Charger defense stifled Ashland quarterback Billy Cundiff and really clamped down on slippery Ashland running back Dawon Harvey the rest of the way. Unfortunately more red zone disasters were in store for Hillsdale.

After a beautiful 3 and out by Hillsdale's defense, the Chargers used two neat passes to Aaron Waldie and AJ Kegg and a couple of punishing runs by Panizzi to bring up a first down at the AU 13. Weatherhead's 2nd pick of the day would come on the next play.

Hillsdale wasn't dead yet though. With 6:20 left to play, the Charger defense hurried Cundiff into an awful decision to let a prayer fly instead of taking the sack. Charger Matt Szula would grab it at the at the 45 and return it to the Eagle 38.

Once again, Hillsdale methodically moved to the Ashland 4. The ballgame hinged on 4th and 2. Weatherhead took the snap and headed right down the line on the option. At the last minute his pitch to Panizzi was intercepted. The Eagles got the one first down they needed to run out the clock.

Despite the final outcome, there were some great performances by Hillsdale. Panizzi had a dominant day, finding the endzone once and ripping off 140 yards on 29 carries. Waldie was kept out of the endzone but still grabbed 9 balls for 94 yards.

The Chargers had 27 first downs and 399 total yards. The Hillsdale defense held Ashland to 53 yards rushing and sacked Cundiff 3 times. Tom Korte had 1 and a half of those as part of his 14 tackles. He had 5 total tackles for loss for 21 yards. Szula had 8 stops and the interception.

Hillsdale falls to 3-2 on the season 2-2 in the GLIAC. Ashland is now 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the GLIAC.

Findlay visits Hillsdale for homecoming next weekend. Kickoff is the traditional 2:30 PM.

Week 5 Podcast: Otter and Korte

The Charger Comment is back as Hillsdale welcomes Ashland.

Head Coach Keith Otterbein joins us as does a very focused linebacker Tom Korte. Hillsdale hosts Ashland this weekend.

Click to listen. September 27: Hillsdale vs. Ashland


Charger place kicker Mark Petro has been named GLIAC special teams player of the week for the second straight game.

Hillsdale College junior place kicker Mark Petro nailed three field goals overall, and accounted for the first six points of Hillsdale's 29-17 win over Indianapolis Saturday night. Petro, who ranks second in the GLIAC in scoring (9.5 ppg.), finished the game with 11 points overall.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Collegian looks at Charger staff away from the field

Otterbein's staff leads the way behind the football field

By: Casey Cheney, Hillsdale Collegian

Posted: 9/25/08
Their week begins Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. A rigorous regimen of analysis, strategy and implementation consumes the following days. The final horn blast the next Saturday signals the end of their grueling week.

In less than 24 hours, the process repeats. The assistant coaches of the Charger football team have committed themselves to this life.

Sunday, after grading Saturday's game, the coaches move on to their next opponent. This process carries into Monday, a day dedicated to more than 12 hours of analyzing film.

"When we start feeding it to our guys it's Tuesday and Wednesday," Nate Shreffler said. "Depending on how much I have for this week's opponent, I'll start on Wednesday on next week's opponent."

By Thursday, both player and coach are familiar with Saturday's game plan. Friday is reserved for final meetings before the game.

In the hours before kickoff, the coaches are involved with recruits who came out for the day. Nothing is left but to wait for the game's arrival.

With the initial kickoff, the strategy they've come up with faces the true test.

The coaches stand on the sidelines, looking for "anything that might be different from what we've prepared for," Shreffler said.

When the last seconds tick down on the clock, the team and staff have a brief reprieve from their duties.

"As soon as the game's over with, that's the end of the day," Shreffler said.

The Charger football coaching staff packs experience any NCAA Division I school would envy.

Offensive coordinator Barry Fagan carries the title of "the oldest member on staff" with coaching experience of more than thirty years. He coached for seven years at Hillsdale's rival, Ferris State University.

Defensive coordinator and secondary coach Craig Blanchard began at Hillsdale in 2005, after 12 years of coaching.

Fagan recalled coaching against Blanchard while at separate schools, naming Blanchard as the GLIAC's best secondary coach.

This year Shreffler entered his tenth year at Hillsdale, and his brother, Aaron Shreffler, the defensive line coach, enjoys his third season with Hillsdale.

Pat Hornak, halfbacks/tight ends coach, returns for his second season, and has also been the director of football relations for three years.

"He's like a mini head coach," Fagan said. "He has his hands in everything Otterbein has his hands in. He's the best tight end coach we've had since I've been here."

Hornak, a 2006 graduate and former Charger, also assisted the football staff while still a student at the school.

Full Article Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column

Ashland (2-1, 2-2) at Hillsdale (2-1, 3-1)

The Eagles return to "the scene of the crime". AU had one blemish on their GLIAC record last season, and it was a complete throttling at the hands of the Chargers in Muddy Waters Stadium. While I'm sure they're set on rectifying things, I know Hillsdale would like nothing more than to replicate last year's performance in this rivalry that has grown increasingly chippy over the last couple of seasons.

Ashland Keys:
- Get some stops - I know that AU can win in shootouts, but they could make things a lot easier on themselves by keeping HC off the board once in a while. The Eagles are currently tenth in the league in total defense, and that type of performance can cost them in a game like this.
- Hit'em with Harvey - We all know that Billy Cundiff and his crew can sling it around, but having a solid ground game with Dawon Harvey sure gives AU it's best chance. HC's lone loss this year was to Tech, and Phil Milbrath had a big day.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Harass Cundiff - He's not immune to mistakes, and the Chargers need to force some to keep the Eagle offense off the field.
- My cousin Vinny - Panizzi and the ground attack can have a big day against the Eagle D which gives up 200+ each week. If the Chargers can control tempo and keep the AU offense off the field, HC will have the advantage.

Prediction: Well, every time I've predicted a shootout so far this year things haven't really panned out as such. I have a feeling we'll see it here. Both teams have shown the ability to sling it around, and each defense has shown vulnerabilities. I don't like picking against the Chargers at home, but something tells me that AU knows they simply can't afford another loss the rest of the way and that will have them playing with a greater sense of urgency. Truthfully, I think this game is a coin flip. Since I can't really pick a tie, here goes: Ashland 40, Hillsdale 37.

full column

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hillsdale breaks 13 year drought in Indianapolis

Hillsdale College Release

Football team earns first win in Indianapolis in 13 years, 29-17 Saturday night
Defense steps up with four turnovers in win over Greyhounds
September 20, 2008 – For the third week in a row, Mother Nature was an additional opponent the Hillsdale College football team had to face. But, just like last week, the Charger defense ended up making the key plays that decided the game.

Resisting a second-half comeback by the University of Indianapolis, the Chargers won for the second week in a row, 29-17, Saturday night at Indianapolis’ Key Stadium. It is Hillsdale’s first win over the Greyhounds in Indianapolis since Sept. 30, 1995. Hillsdale is now 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the GLIAC, while Indy falls to 1-3 on the season.

Full story

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