Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

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

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Live Blogging: HC - Uindy

HC - Indy Delayed due to lightning

Estimated kick at 7:40 Eastern

No Podcast This Week: Big One Next Week

I am sorry to announce there will be no Charger Comment podcast this week. The perfect storm of technical and scheduling issues prevented me from getting a quality broadcast out to you.

I don't like to throw out the word "spectacular" very much but next week's episode will be just that: "Spectacular".....guaranteed.

I am going to try and set up a live chat during tonight's game at Indy. Kickoff is at 6:00. A link to the webcast is at

Thursday, September 18, 2008 Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column

Hillsdale (1-1, 2-1) at Indianapolis (0-2, 1-2)

These two are actually forging an interesting rivalry, as their games always seem to come down to furious comebacks and last-second heroics. Last year was no exception with the 'Hounds erasing a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to snag the victory. Both clubs being coached by Hillsdale alums is a fact that makes things even more intriguing between these two clubs.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Load the Box - Thus far, UIndy has struggled to throw the ball consistently. If Lance Lasker gets into the game at any point, the ground game will have to be stopped as that will be the primary way the 'Hounds will move the ball.
- Maintain Consistency - HC has moved the ball well and with balance in almost every game thus far. They have struggled at times to put the ball in the end zone, but that will take care of itself eventually if they're still posting the type of yardage numbers we've seen so far.

UIndy Keys:
- Lead with Lasker - UIndy currently leads the league in rushing offense. While Jenkins and Campbell have done the majority of the heavy lifting to that end, Lance Lasker can really make the 'Hound running game even more problematic for the Chargers (who are presently ninth in the league against the run, and gave up 120 rushing yards to a running QB last week).
- Play from in front - If the Greyhounds get behind, I don't see them as being all that capable of coming back - especially if the deficit is significant. Hillsdale does have that fire power, so the 'Hounds need to get that lead, build it, and close things out.

Prediction: These two always seem to play tight ones that go down to the wire. This is UIndy's first home game, and I'm sure they'll be glad to kick things off in their own place. I'm not sure that will be enough, however, as I think Hillsdale's overall offensive balance give them the advantage. Hillsdale 27, UIndy 19.

Tony's full column UIndy Preview

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Classic rivalry to write a new chapter as Charger football team travels to Indianapolis for battle vs. Greyhounds
Last two meetings have been decided in final minute
Click on this link for the Hillsdale College football game notes for Week 4

September 18, 2008 - During 117 seasons of football, the Hillsdale College program has developed some intense rivalries over the years with several different teams. But perhaps no rivalry the Chargers have had this decade has been as compelling as the one it enjoys with the University of Indianapolis.

Eight of the past nine games between these schools have been decided by eight points or less. The last two games haven't been won by the winning team until the final minute. A four-overtime epic made ESPN's SportsCenter in 2004. What will the 2008 clash hold? Find out starting at 6 p.m. Saturday from Indianapolis' Key Stadium when the Chargers and Greyhounds meet again.

Full Release

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hillsdale College to open Washington DC campus


HILLSDALE, Mich. -- Hillsdale College plans to open a new campus a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

The Michigan liberal arts college says it has purchased a building on Massachusetts Avenue near Union Station for about $8 million.

The Hillsdale Daily News reports the building will house the A.P. Kirby Center for the Constitution. The center is scheduled to open on Constitution Day, or Sept. 27, in 2010.

About 20 students from the college's political science and journalism programs will attend the center each semester.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chargers' Petro Named GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week

GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week:
Mark Petro - Hillsdale
(JR, PK, 5-10, 190, Rocky River, Ohio/Lutheran West)

Hillsdale College junior place kicker Mark Petro kicked a pair of field goals and was two-for-two in PAT attempets to help lead the Chargers to a 26-7 win over Northwood. His field goals of of 32 and 42 yards helped Hillsdle to build a 13-0 halftime lead. Petro currently ranks fourth in the GLIAC in scoring (9.0 ppg).

Special Teams Honor Roll: Dawon Harvey - AU, Jim Yates - FS, Jordan Marshall - UF, Todd Carter - GV, Chris Kollias - NU, Kurtis Fournier - SV, Dyshaun Edwards - TU, Shane Morris - WS.


Saturday, September 13, 2008 football team earns first win over Northwood in seven years, 26-7

Charger football team earns first win over Northwood in seven years, 26-7
Szula sets school record with 82-yard fumble return

September 13, 2008 - A game plagued by fumbles and high humidity saw the Hillsdale College football team make several key plays on both sides of the ball, as the Chargers defeated Northwood University for the first time in seven years, 26-7.

Hillsdale is now 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the GLIAC, while Northwood is 0-2 overall and in the GLIAC. Both of Hillsdale’s wins this season have come at Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium. Next week, Hillsdale returns to the road to face the University of Indianapolis for a 6 p.m. game.

Saturday began with strong rainstorms, but by the 2:30 p.m. kickoff, the weather had cleared, but the warm and humid conditions helped lead the way to seven total fumbles between the two teams. But the last fumble of the game, committed by the Timberwolves, was the turning point of this tight contest.

Full Story

Friday, September 12, 2008

Week 3 Podcast Now Online

Hillsdale returns home this week to face Northwood.

HC SID Brad Monastiere stops by to talk about the start of this season and what he expects the Chargers to face this Saturday.

Click to listen. September 12: Hillsdale vs. Northwood

More Hillsdale vs. Northwood Previews

Hillsdale College Sports Information Director Brad Monastiere's preview
Game Notes (.pdf)

Northwood University's Game Notes (.pdf)

Midland Daily News: T'Wolves look to bounce back vs. Hillsdale. RJ Walters sits down with Troy Weatherhead

Hillsdale Daily News sports editor RJ Walters sat down this week with Charger QB Troy Weatherhead this week. Here is just a snippet.

Hillsdale Daily News sports editor RJ Walters recently sat down with Weatherhead to discuss the beginning of his career, why Hillsdale is the right place for him and what other than football drives him on a daily basis.

HDN: After a highly successful high school career which generated a decent amount of interest from scouts why was Hillsdale the right choice?

Weatherhead: “After my trip to Hillsdale, I knew on my way home that if I wasn’t going the Division-I route then Hillsdale seemed like a really good place. Deciding was actually a pretty big decision because my senior year I had season tickets to Western Michigan and Central Michigan games and I took an official visit to Western...and their starting quarterback, the coaches son at the time went down with an injury that year and was granted a sixth year of eligibility. But initially they didn’t think he was going to get that sixth year so they offered a scholarship to a junior college kid and they said if they would’ve known a sixth year would be given to him they would have offered it to me. My parents though just told me it was kind of a sign...and they did ask me to come there as a ‘preferred walk-on’ but I’m sure there are a lot of those, so after that I called coach Otterbein right away and told him I was coming.”

Read full interview online.

Photo: Hillsdale Daily News

Rush I Phelta Thi Fraternity

You too can now own a piece of one of Hillsdale College's most legendary fraternities: I Phelta Thi.

Order your apparel online today! Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column

Here is an excerpt as Tony breaks down Hillsdale vs. Northwood.

Northwood (0-1, 0-1) at Hillsdale (0-1, 1-1)

Here's another early-season tilt where we'll be looking to learn a lot. Specifically, is Northwood really as bad as they looked in that first game? Also, how well does Hillsdale recover after a tough loss last week?

Northwood Keys:
- Play some D - They got rolled for 561 yards last week. Hillsdale's MORE than capable of doing the same thing.
- Clean it up - The Wood surrendered four turnovers last week. Enough said.
- Get the passing game going - I have no idea where that was last week, and I still believe the Woodbone can be potent if Klukowski can hit for at least 150 yards per game. If he doesn't, The Dale just needs to stick to its assignments on D and they can keep the ground game relatively in check.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Avoid mistakes - Hillsdale's offense has been plenty solid thus far, they just made too many mistakes last week to overcome. Avoid turnovers, finish drives, and make kicks.
- No letdown - Don't get caught up in last week's result/emotion, unless it's to be ornery about not getting it done.
- Panizzi - Get him well up over 100 yards. The resulting balance should get you past that defense.

Prediction: I don't normally get swayed too far in any direction by one game, but last week's performance by Northwood truly struck me - so much so that it has me concerned that I (along with the coaches) may REALLY have mis-judged what they had the capability to do this year. Maybe having a game under their belt will make a big difference. If it doesn't, Hillsdale certainly as the offense to hang big numbers like Northern did last week. My gut tells me this is likely to happen again. Hillsdale 48, Northwood 28.

Full column

Saginaw News: Sullivan circling the wagons at NU

Sullivan circling the wagons at NU
Friday, September 12, 2008

Mike Sullivan is the new football coach at Northwood University, but he sounds an awful lot like the former one.

Sullivan is circling the wagons at Northwood this week after the Timberwolves lost 30-7 at Northern Michigan on Saturday, in a game marred by four turnovers and 11 penalties.

''We're going to focus on Northwood University, Northwood football and getting better,'' said Sullivan, echoing the comments of Pat Riepma after losses.

The Timberwolves went to one end of the state to play in the Superior Dome, and this week travel to the other end of the state for a 2:30 p.m. game Saturday at Hillsdale.

Full Story

The Chargers lost to Michigan Tech 39-36 on Saturday, a week after scoring 49 points against St. Joseph's College.

''They have a very good offense,'' said Sullivan, who is working this week to plug the leaks in a T'wolves defense that allowed more than 500 yards of offense in the opener.

''The last time we faced (Hillsdale) was in 2005, and they're a much-improved program from that point,'' he said. ''Keith (Otterbein) is doing a great job.''

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Now, I'm not telling you who to vote for....

I'm not telling you who to vote for...but check out who is holding her own copy of Imprimis, the Hillsdale College speech journal. Chuck Jones, a Hillsdale supporter from Portland, OR had a chance to talk with Governor Palin while on the Hillsdale College Alaskan cruise this past August.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Huskies too much for rallying Chargers, HC 36 MTU 39

After grabbing the early momentum in the first quarter of their football game at Michigan Tech, the Hillsdale College Chargers would see the host Huskies rattle off the next 29 points.

A big turning point came in the first quarter when Hillsdale, leading 13-7, stripped Tech quarterback Steve Short at the goal line to stop a Husky touchdown. With the ball at its own one, Hillsdale's drive would last one play and would set in motion a big roll for MTU.

Tech brought the house on the next play and sacked Charger qb Troy Weatherhead deep in the endzone for a safety bringing the score to Hillsdale 13 Tech 9.

Michigan Tech would build as much as a 36-13 lead before Mark Petro would drill a 36 yard rain-soaked field goal with a minute left in the 3rd quarter. Hillsdale 16 MTU 36.

Tech would add a field goal on the next possession to go up 39-16 before the Chargers would go on a roll of their own.

After struggling a good bit of the day, Troy Weatherhead engineered a spectacular drive going 68 yards in 4 plays in just 1:17. AJ Kegg topped things with a 15 yard touchdown catch. Hillsdale 23 Tech 39.

Another 5 play quick strike drive would bring Hillsdale within 10 when Vinnie Panizzi would plow in from 3 yards out. The two point conversion would come up inches short. HC 29 MTU 39.

The defense would chip in on the theatrics, as they stripped Short again and linebacker Tom Korte returned the fumble all of the way back to the Husky 30.

It would only take 3 plays for the Chargers to find the endzone. Aaron Waldie's 13 yard reception and Petro's extra point brought the game within 3. Hillsdale 36 Tech 39 with 4:50 left to play.

Another great defensive series got Hillsdale the ball back quickly and the efficient Charger offense would move the ball easily within Mark Petro's range. Things went bad though when the Chargers were backed up 5 extra yards on a delay of game penalty before the snap on the field goal attempt. Things got worse and ultimately cost the Chargers the ballgame when the snap from the Husky 26 for the tying fieldgoal squirted through the holder's hands and all Petro could do was fall on it.

Michigan Tech was able to run out the clock and escape with the victory. 39-36.

A tough one to say the least, and not really pretty in a pouring down rain. A big salute goes to Hillsdale though for the valiant effort the Chargers showed. What looked like a blowout loss darn near ended up a victory for the Blue and White.

Hillsdale returns home next week to face Northwood.

On the day, Troy Weatherhead was 22 of 38 for 296 yards, 2 tds, and 2 interceptions. AJ Kegg had another 100+ yard day as he hauled in 5 balls for 105 and a touchdown. Aaron Waldie caught 5 for 68 yards and a score. Panizzi carried 19 times for 95 yards and a score. Brett Lark added 46 yards on 9 carries.

Defensively, Tom Korte had a big day with 12 and a half tackles, a sack and 2 fumble recoveries. Alex Wojic had 7 stops and a pick. Lance Smith had 7 tackles as well.

(photo by Doug Waldie as posted at Chargerblue Space)

HC vs. MTU Audio

Listen live at . Click on Mix 93.5.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Week 2 Podcast Now Online.

We head to Stockholm, Sweden via Skype to get Mark Nicolet's expert analysis.

Mark is currently prepping for his last regular season game as quarterback of the Stockholm Mean Machine.

We talk about the maturation of Troy Weatherhead and get Mark's insight to this week's matchup.

Listen to this week's episode. September 5: Hillsdale vs. Michigan Tech

Scouting Michigan Tech

Here is the skinny on the Huskies as published by

Michigan Tech: Keith White (Rhinelander, Wis.) ranks first in the nation in receptions after hauling in 11 vs. Winona State last Saturday (Aug. 30). The 6-4, 225-pound wide receiver had 100 yards vs. Winona and now has four 100-yard games in his career ... Steve Short (Iron Mountain, Mich./Kingsford) posted a 191.9 quarterback efficiency rating last week, which was the seventh-best in NCAA II ... Michigan Tech trails the all-time series with Hillsdale, 14-5, but the Huskies have won each of the last four games vs. the Chargers played at Sherman Field ... Tech is 19-4 (82.6 pct) in its last 23 games at home ... Michigan Tech received votes in the latest AFCA Coaches Poll ... The Huskies rank first in the GLIAC in red zone offense (4-of-4) and third down coversions (5-of-9). Chargers make longest road trip of season to battle Michigan Tech

FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Chargers make longest road trip of season to battle Michigan Tech Saturday afternoon

September 3, 2008 - Pillows will be fluffed and the buses will be fully gassed up this weekend for the Hillsdale College football team, as it makes its longest road trip of the season.

The Chargers (1-0) will make the 11-hour drive to Houghton to take on the Michigan Tech University Huskies (1-0) in the GLIAC opener for both teams. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Both teams come off impressive Week 1 victories. Hillsdale opened its home schedule with a one-sided 49-6 win over St. Joseph's College. The Huskies played on their new home artificial turf for the first time in a 26-21 win over Winona State, a playoff team from 2007. The two teams were picked to finished tied for fifth place in the 2008 GLIAC Preseason Football Poll, and come into this matchup evenly matched in many areas.

The last meeting between these teams saw the Chargers record their first shutout in 11 years, 37-0 over Michigan Tech. In that game, former Chargers QB Mark Nicolet set a school record for completions in a game with 34. Although Nicolet is gone, Hillsdale got a top-notch performance out of its quarterback in the first game of this season.

Sophomore Troy Weatherhead turned in a fantastic performance vs. the Pumas. He went 19-for-22 with 237 yards and two touchdowns. His quarterback rating of 206.9 is fifth in the nation after one game. He showed patience and accuracy from the pocket, and spread the ball around to many different receivers. Weatherhead's efficiency, along with the running of Vinnie Panizzi and Brett Lark, enabled Hillsdale to achieve a school-record 37 first downs in the opener.

Full Release

Thursday, September 04, 2008 Tony Nicolette's Weekly Column

Always make Tony Nicolette's column at part of your week. This week he recaps the opener and is picking the Chargers to take care of business in Houghton. He even has HC vs. MTU as his game of the week.

Hillsdale 49, St. Joseph's 6

The Story: While both clubs entered the season having to replace QB's who were arguably the best in the history of each respective program, I'd bet that most folks were pretty comfy with the notion that whoever took over the reigns for the Chargers would certainly have a bit more weaponry at his disposal in this one. That proved to be the case, and Troy Weatherhead took advantage by engineering TD drives on six of his first seven possessions as the starter. It's a great start to the season, and folks in The Dale have to be excited about this team possibly having even more potential then they had originally thought.

Weatherhead wasn't the only new starter to shine, as A.J. Kegg proved he could more than pick up the slack left from Nick Gurica's graduation. Add in a stifling defensive effort (SJU had only TWO first downs the entire game - HC had 37), and you have a blow-out that could likely have been much worse if the first-teamers had played deeper than the first series of the second half.

The Leaders:
HC QB Troy Weatherhead - 19 of 22 for 237 yds, 2 TD's
HC RB Vinnie Panizzi - 16 carries for 99 yds, 2 TD's
HC WR A.J. Kegg - 9 rec for 129 yds, 2 TD's

T's Take: While Hillsdale was not the only GLIAC bunch to defeat an overmatched opponent this past weekend, they were far and away the most impressive in the way they did it. While there are certainly no guarantees as to what will happen the rest of the season, it's obvious that Weatherhead is more than capable of handling the controls of the HC offense. He was very efficient and accurate against the Pumas, and if he can stay away from mistakes as he gains experience the Chargers have to be considered a legit contender in this league. The tests get tougher as the season progresses, and I'm keenly interested to see the results.

Game of the Week

Hillsdale (0-0, 1-0) at Michigan Tech (0-0, 1-0)

Both teams are coming off of solid wins. Tech beat a quality opponent in a close game. Hillsdale, on the other hand, blew out at team an inferior team and were convincing in the process. This game could have a major impact on the direction of the remainder of the season for both squads. I think Hillsdale's defense will be a much tougher test for Steve Short and company, and how they respond is important. Conversely, Hillsdale has had a tendency to lay eggs in their trips to the U.P. Avoiding that type of result will prove that the program has really begun to separate itself - both from its past, and possibly from most of the rest of the league.

Tech Keys:
- Short - How goes their QB, so go the Huskies. Of course, it isn't entirely that simple, but if you look at their results in his 18 career starts they typically win when he's mistake-free.
- D front must take charge - Stuffing Panizzi and the run game will put added responsibility on Weatherhead. Pressuring him from there and exposing his lack of maturity could slow down the Charger attack.
- Special Teams - Tech still seems to be struggling with this even after the troubles they had last year. Giving away PAT's and what not will catch up with you sooner or later - it always does.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Confidence - I think everyone now sees that the new QB is plenty capable. He'll see a tougher defense this week, but believing that he can handle things (even when they aren't going to plan) is a must.
- Waldie/Kegg - Tech's secondary has holes. Look for these two to find them.
- Force the issue with Defense - When Steve Short makes mistakes, it isn't usually because he's in the mood to be charitable. Forcing him into situations he doesn't like is what tends to breed most of his mistakes. Whether it's extra pressure, double coverage on his WR's, whatever. Just make him do things he doesn't want to and you can take away his ability to control the game.

Prediction: At this point, I have to take Hillsdale simply for the fact that they have much more balance on both sides of the ball. If they are truly a top-flight team in this league, they won't let the U.P. jinx affect them. If they're not, they'll make my pick look lousy - won't be the first or the last time for that, I can assure you. Hillsdale 33, Tech 25.

Other tidbits that Tony hits:

Recaps and previews of the rest of the GLIAC
Ashland fires defensive coordinator Nick Toth
Ask Ligs segment
Q & A with Ferris State's Jake Visser

Tony's full column

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