Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Thursday, October 15, 2009 Hillsdale's Wade plays major role in gridiron upset

October 15, 2009

Hillsdale's Wade plays major role in gridiron upset

Former Falcon linebacker rejoins starting lineup for victory over Grand Valley

By Dan O'Meara

Hillsdale College linebacker Marcellus Wade (#55 pictured above) talks with former Farmington High teammate Eddie Knoblock every Sunday about their football games the previous day.

Wade got the regular call from Knoblock, a linebacker at Northern Michigan University, on Saturday of last week instead.

Wade and the Chargers sent a shock wave around the Great Lakes Conference — and even the country — when they upset Grand Valley, the No. 1-ranked team in NCAA Division II, 27-24.

“I got a call from him within a half hour of getting out of the locker room,” Wade said. “He's like, ‘What did you guys do?' I said: ‘I'm still in shock.' It was really, really crazy, and it was a huge win for our program.

“It's the biggest win to happen in my career at Hillsdale. People ask, ‘Well, how good are you guys?' It shows we're right there with everybody in the league. It reverberated throughout the GLIAC.”

Wade, a fifth-year senior, made his first start in two seasons at inside linebacker and had his best performance since the fifth game of 2007. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Wade was instrumental in the victory with 10 tackles, including five solo stops.

With the outcome still in doubt, Grand Valley got the ball on a turnover at the Hillsdale 40-yard line.

“A lot of teams might have said: ‘Oh, here we go; this is where they take over,'” Wade said. “I looked around the huddle, and we didn't have that attitude.

“We stopped them two plays in a row. On third down, they got a pass interference call and a new set of downs. Less spiritual teams would not have fought through it the way we did.

“We held them to a field goal and took it 70 yards for a score. That was huge. I'll never forget that as long as I live. It says a lot about my team and what we've done to get to where we are.”

The Chargers are 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the GLIAC with four games remaining and a chance to qualify for the Division II playoffs after beating a team of Grand Valley's rank and reputation.

“If we win out, we have a good shot at getting in,” Wade said. “If we can take care of business from here on, I'd say we're in for sure.

“The next game will be bigger than the Grand Valley game, and it will be Wayne State after that. It's always fun to be playing for something in October.”

That Wade is even on the team, that he put himself in a position to earn a start and have the impact he did is due to his perseverance, hard work and commitment.

Wade, by his own assessment, has had an up-and-down career that began with him playing in every game as a true freshman in 2005.

An ankle injury late in that season resulted in surgery and Wade taking a redshirt year. He came back strong and started every game in 2007, finishing third on the team with 54 tackles.

But another injury in spring football the next year caused Wade to drop on the depth chart. It took until the middle of this season for him to work his way back into a starting role.

“At times I felt God was testing me throughout everything,” Wade said. “Last year I didn't play a lot and questioned where I was supposed to be.

“To start the Grand Valley game and come full circle, to get a win my senior year and do as well as I did, it's a wonderful experience. I associate that with where I'm supposed to be and the things I needed to do to get me to where I need to be.

“I had a lot of tests leading up to this moment. To start the game and play every snap and come out with a win, it's the stuff of fairy tales.”

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