Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009



Winona State Univ. release

WINONA, MN  -- Seniors, Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale College) and Jack Hiett (University of Nebraska at
Kearney) will share the top honors as the representatives of Super Region 3 for The Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club.

The representatives with the top two vote totals will be placed on a national ballot of final eight and the winner will be announced as part of the ceremonies of the Cactus Bowl Dinner on January 7, 2010..
Veldheer received seven (7) first-place votes from the Sports Information Directors of Super Region 3 and  totaled 77 points, while Hiett received six (6) first-place votes in his point total of 77. Each helped their respective squads reach the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Andy Schoonover (Minnesota State Mankato) also received six (6) first-place votes and totaled 72 points to place third in the final vote totals.

The following is the voting breakdown. First-place votes in parenthesis:
77 (7) Jared Veldheer Senior Offensive Tackle Hillsdale College
77 (6) Jack Hiett Senior Center University of Nebraska at Kearney
72 (6) Andy Schoonover Senior Offensive Guard Minnesota State University
39 (1) L.T. Brown Senior Center University of Mary
21 (1) Zach Meints Senior Offensive Guard Colorado School of Mines
20 (1) Benjamin Puffer Senior Offensive Tackle Chadron State College
20 Bill Noethlich Senior Offensive Tackle Southwest Minnesota State University
4 Josh Teeples Senior Nose Guard Adams State College

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pre-order your 2009 Commemorative Charger DVD

The final mix of the 2009 commemorative Charger DVD is in the final mix and will feature all of the slide shows and videos produced this season by and few add-ons from the playoffs.

Trio of Hillsdale Chargers named to Daktronics Super Region 3 Football Squads

Senior offensive tackle Jared Veldheer and senior defensive end Drew Berube have both been named to the Daktronics Super Region 3 first team offensive and first team defensive football teams respectively. Senior place kicker Mark Petro earned second team offense honors.

Veldheer started all 46 games of his career and never allowed a sack from his left tackle position. He was named first team All-GLIAC this season.

Berube was also named first team All-GLIAC after leading the league in sacks and tackles for loss.

Petro now holds the record for career field goals at Hillsdale with 49 and will be best known for his game-winning 34 yard field goal in overtime against Minnesota State. The win was Hillsdale's first playoff win since joining the Division II ranks in 1990. Petro as well, was an All-GLIAC selection.

Full Team:

Daktronics Super Region 3 Offensive Player of the Year
RB - Joique Bell, Wayne State (MI)

Daktronics Super Region 3 Defensive Player of the Year
LB - Robbie Aurich, Minnesota-Duluth

All-Region First Team Offense
QB - Silas Fluellen, Wayne State (NE)
RB - Joique Bell, Wayne State (MI)
RB - Rustin Dring, Nebraska-Kearney
RB - Isaac Odim, Minnesota-Duluth
WR - Adam Saur, Colorado School of Mines
WR - Frederick Bruno, Wayne State (NE)
TE - Galen Stone, Saginaw Valley State
OL - Ben Puffer, Chadron State
OL - Cameron Bradfield, Grand Valley State
OL - Nick McDonald, Grand Valley State
OL - Jared Veldheer, Hillsdale
OL - Andy Schoonover, Minnesota State-Mankato
OL - jack Hiett, Nebraska-Kearney
PK - Travis Atter, Chadron State
RS - Kelvin Rodgers, Minnesota State-Mankato

All-Region First Team Defense
DL - Marc Schiechl, Colorado School of Mines
DL - Danny Richard, Grand Valley State
DL - Drew Berube, Hillsdale
LB - Oscar Villa, Adams State
LB - Jake Anderson, Bemidji State
LB - Robbie Aurich, Minnesota-Duluth
LB - John Jacobs, Saginaw Valley State
LB - Ryan Reeves, Wayne State (NE)
CB - Anthony Fields, Findlay
CB - Jesse Hamilton, Minnesota State-Mankato
S - Jake Mandelko, Nebraska-Kearney
S - Nate Curran, Upper Iowa
P - Kevin Berg, Chadron State
P - Brian Schmeidebusch, Findlay

All-Region Second Team Offense
QB - Brad Iciek, Grand Valley State
RB - Jake Aberg, Minnesota State-Mankato
TE - Isaac Stockton, Chadron State
WR - Kyle Kaiser, Nebraska-Kearney
WR - Blake Wilson, Southwest Minnesota State
WR - Logan Masters, Wayne State (NE)
OL - Randy Greenbaum, Adams State
OL - L.T. Brown, Mary
OL - Adrian Battles, Minnesota State-Mankato
OL - Jeremy Clark, Minnesota State-Mankato
PK - Mark Petro, Hillsdale
RS - Brandon Harrington, Chadron State

All-Region Second Team Defense
DL - Will Brown, Concordia-St. Paul
DL - Junio Aurnavae, Minnesota State-Mankato
DL - Josh Rohde, Nebraska-Kearney
LB - Bennett Newton, Mesa State
LB - Kevin Klug, Minnesota State-Mankato
LB - Mike LeVand, Saginaw Valley State
CB - Kelvin Rodgers, Minnesota State-Mankato
CB - Ozzie Smith, Nebraska-Kearney
S - Kyle Goracke, Colorado School of Mines
S - Jacob McGuckin, Grand Valley State

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weatherhead, Kegg, Panizzi, Petro and the rest of the Chargers rewrote record book in 2009

So, just how special was the 118th season of Hillsdale College football?

Not to be lost in all of the playoff excitement and stories surrounding this recent run by the Chargers, is a look at just how good this season really was.

We all know it was the Chargers' first D2 playoff appearance and first playoff win but let's look at some of the great individual accomplishments.

Troy Weatherhead's 3348 passing yards is the new single season passing yard record, breaking Mark Nicolet's old mark set in 2007 by 13 yards. His 280 completions breaks his own record 240 set a year ago. Heading into his senior season, Weatherhead sits 439 behind Nicolet and 731 yards behind all-time  leader Bill Skelton in career passing yards.

AJ Kegg set an all-time single season record this year with 85 receptions. He also now sits atop the Hillsdale all-time career receptions list with 195. Kegg finishes his Hillsdale career with 2,383 receiving yards, 209 behind all-time leader Ed House. Also of note in the reception category is Andre Holmes' 77 receptions this season. That places him third on the single-season list.

Vinnie Panizzi broke 2 of Hillsdale College's oldest individual records, both set over 50 years ago by Nate Clark. Panizzi's 150 points is the new single-season high water mark for scoring and his 53 career rushing touchdowns broke Clark's mark of 51 set in 1955. Panizzi's 1442 yards rushing this season is the 4th best single season in Hillsdale history. His 3658 career rushing yards is the second highest career total assembled.

Mark Petro's 49 field goals is the new record for most fieldgoals in a career, breaking the record set by Rick Vear in the early 80's.

Of course there were other tremendous efforts and any of the above mentioned Chargers will tell you that their individual accolades all come from one simple formula: every player, every play.

EXTENDED: Charger Blue Tuesday! Free shipping on ornament purchases of $24.95 or more

Add some class to your Christmas tree and get free shipping when you order $24.95 or more worth of ornaments from TODAY ONLY, November 24, 2009. EXTENDED THROUGH WEDNESDAY.

Ornaments are white porcelain and come with a red ribbon for hanging.

Click on the ornaments to shop. Ornaments are $6.99 each.

Be sure to use coupon code SHIP2U at checkout.

NOTE: The CafePress promotion you may see listed offering free shipping on "2 or more ornaments" is a bit confusing. That is for ornaments purchased through their "marketplace" which tags 40% more markup on them.

The ornament prices available through these links are controlled by me and are at least 35% cheaper than what you will find in the "marketplace". To get the free shipping today, you will still pay close to what you would for 2 ornaments there but will be getting 4 ornaments. Here is the marketplace. Note the 12 dollar priceing. Thanks for shopping.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Bon Voyage Lakers! Sorry for your luck.

So Grand Valley is on its way to spend a couple of days after Thanksgiving in Duluth, MN and Laker head coach Chuck Martin is beside himself and not feeling well right now.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda I guess. Sorry for your luck.

This excerpt from Cody Eding's article from Sunday's Holland Sentinel:

"I feel awful," Martin said. "I told my wife last night, 'If we play well — we dominate them — I'll be sick after the game thinking that we should have had a home game next week if we had taken care of our business five weeks ago.'" 

Hillsdale defeated then top-ranked GVSU 27-24 on Oct. 10, giving the Lakers their first regular season loss since 2004.

The defeat ended up costing now third-ranked Grand Valley the region's top seed. It means the Lakers will have to play at defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth Saturday instead of hosting the rematch.

Minnesota-Duluth, which features former Spring Lake star Robbie Aurich, advanced by defeating Nebraska-Kearney 42-7 Saturday. In last year's playoffs, Minnesota Duluth handed GVSU a 19-13 quarterfinal loss en route to a national championship.

"I think we came out with a chip on our shoulder, but honestly I think we think that's the way the first game should have went," Grand Valley quarterback Brad Iciek said. "Give credit to them. They hung around and made plays the first time, but we came out fast."

In the teams' second meeting of the season, GVSU handled No. 13 Hillsdale easily.
The Lakers (11-1) scored 27 second-quarter points to lead 37-0 at halftime.

"We were pretty disgusted (after the first meeting) that we had 24 points against a defense we felt like we could have manhandled," Martin said. "On offense, we felt good coming in that if we just handled our business, that we should have a big day. We didn't think they could stop us."
Have a nice trip!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Some Random thoughts: Still a great day to be a Charger!

"Don't get mad. Get better."-Billy Tubbs

No excuses.

Today was an absolute clinic hosted by GVSU.  The 44-27 score won't look nearly as bad as we all know the game was when we look back at the scores in years to come but Hillsdale has smart kids and they learn from every experience. Today they learned about "playoff gear" and not the kind I sold like mad over the past two weeks on my website.

Iron sharpens iron. Today will make the Hillsdale program stronger.

Chuck Martin, Grand Valley's head coach said it pretty well in the post-game presser. "They like to play that 3 plays get a first down, slow, methodical game. We kept them from doing that today. Our biggest problem in the first one was we let them dictate and we got in that kind of game with them."

When Grand Valley can dictate the action, it is often overwhelming.

Probably the saddest part was to see the greatest class of players to come through in a long long time have to end their careers this way. It is pretty amazing to think Aaron Waldie and Tom Korte were the only 2 not redshirted out of the seniors that wore the white and blue for the last time today. Having Mat Szula today would have helped a bit. Wish he could have ended his career on the field and not hurt.

All in all, as bad as this game hurt to watch unfold, every single Charger fan in that place today was still beaming with pride with the type of year we had and believe Otter and crew will continue to deliver.

Fellas you made this football season so special! You energized a campus, a county, and the most loyal alumni base to be found for any small college. We all bled with you today and every single drop was Charger Blue! Remember every second of triumph and every lesson learned along the way.

In the immortal words of Dline coaching legend Bill Karpinski, "Don't be a flash in the pan."

Like every day, it is still a great day to be a Charger!

Holland Sentinel: WO grad looks to help Hillsdale tackle Grand Valley for a 2nd time

The Holland Sentinel
Posted Nov 21, 2009 @ 05:00 AM
Last update Nov 21, 2009 @ 08:10 AM

Hillsdale, MI —
The Hillsdale College football team lost some juice when its top linebacker graduated and earned a NFL tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But the Chargers got a jolt for their defense from David Bakker, a 6-foot-3, 229-pound sophomore from West Ottawa High School.

Bakker is the fifth-leading tackler for Hillsdale, which plays at Grand Valley State University in NCAA Division II playoff action Saturday at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale. Kickoff is 1 p.m.

The winner advances to the national quarterfinals.

“Those are really big shoes to fill,” Hillsdale coach Keith Otterbein said, referring to Tom Korte, one of the Steelers’ final cuts before the regular season. “We don’t ask players to be more than they are. David has taken it to heart. He really has worked very hard at getting to the right spot within our defensive scheme. When you try to do someone else’s job, that’s when you have problems.”

The Chargers (10-2) are counting on Bakker to handle his assignments as they go for their second upset of third-ranked GVSU this season.

They beat Grand Valley 27-24 Oct. 10 at Hillsdale after the Lakers missed a game-tying, 45-yard field goal at the end of regulation. The loss ended the Lakers’ 48-game win streak in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, a stretch that lasted back to 2004.

Full Article

Friday, November 20, 2009 Tony Nicolette's GLIAC Column Columnists Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

November 17th, 2009 
Excerpts from Tony's column: (Read the piece in its entirety.)

It was a "good news, bad news" result for the GLIAC in the first round of the 2009 Playoffs as we sent two teams off to battle, and only one returned with a victory. The fact that we got three teams into the post-season (making up half of the SuperRegion 3 field) is still a great accomplishment, but being able to have those same three teams chew up four of the regional semi-final spots would have REALLY been cool. Let's hope we make it happen next year.

Saturday, November 21

"The Rematch"

#6 Hillsdale (10-2) at #2 Grand Valley (10-1)

As most D2 fans know (and have likely discussed ad nauseum), the Chargers put a stop to Grand Valley's 48-game regular-season win streak back on October 10. It was certainly the biggest win of the last 20 years for the Hillsdale program, and it started the Chargers on their current six-game cruise into this weekend's Regional Semi-Final.

Despite smarting a bit from the loss (of course), the Lakers have since been rather dialed-in as well having knocked off four straight opponents with winning records - and typically doing so in impressive fashion. Both clubs have been terrific over the last month or so, making the fact that they get to play each other again all the more exciting.

Playoff rematches of a regular season game are nothing new for Grand Valley. Saturday's tilt will mark the sixth time in the last nine seasons that the Lakers have played a GLIAC foe during the playoffs that they faced during the regular season. Much like their meeting six weeks ago, Hillsdale will be faced with stopping a streak as the Lakers have won all five of the previous occurrences.
Just like the first time around, there are several match-ups to watch. Hillsdale brings their GLIAC-best scoring offense in to face GV's GLIAC-best scoring defense. The Chargers were second in the league in total offense, GV was tops in total defense. Hillsdale was the best in the league at converting on third down, and the Lakers were unsurpassed at stopping opponents on third down. With all of that said, I really think the most important match-ups of this game will take place in the trenches as each boasts outstanding play from both of their offensive and defensive lines. Whichever club does a better job controlling things with their "big-uglies" should have the advantage.

Hillsdale Keys
- Men of Troy - When HC QB Troy Weatherhead is connecting on his passes and managing the game efficiently (both of which he does MOST of the time) the Chargers have been very difficult to beat. In the pre-match, he really didn't post numbers that were all that great but he completed a lot of short passes that successfully kept the Lakers off-balance. While he was solid enough the last time around, he may need a bit more of a "polished" performance in this one as the GV secondary has been decidedly better in their games since.

- No "Secondary" Efforts - Much like Grand Valley's defensive backfield will be tested, it's a safe bet Hillsdale's will be too. The Chargers were only seventh in the league in stopping the pass this year. While Minnesota State was not a great passing team, when they needed to throw last week they were able to find success in several instances. GV QB Brad Iciek had a very good game last time around (22 of 29 for 261 and 2 TD's), so the Lakers should be plenty confident that they can throw the ball against this defense. One thing Hillsdale did well in the first game was to not give up the big play. They need to make sure they can accomplish the same this time around.

- Home away from Home - Hillsdale fans have to be thrilled to have a trip for this one that is nearly 500 miles shorter than the one they had to make to watch their team last week. Add in the "rematch" factor, along with several West Michigan kids on the Charger roster and rumors are swirling that Hillsdale plans on making a TON of noise at The Shipyard. By the sounds of it, they did so last week even with that long trip to face a team they (essentially) didn't know so I wouldn't discount the rumors. The question now becomes: Will Grand Valley fans will stand by and let their place be overrun? Expect the Charger faithful to be out in force and doing whatever they can to give their kids any kind of an edge.

Grand Valley Keys
- Offense Front - Despite having different groupings all year due to injuries, experiments with guys in different spots, and even a big wave of the flu (that knocked out half the team a couple of weeks ago but REALLY hit this group), the line play over the last four weeks has really started to come together. During that stretch, the Lakers have rushed for more than 277 yards per game and have yielded only two sacks. If this bunch can continue to perform at that level the Laker offense should be able to move the ball and do so effectively.

- Defensive Front - We talked the last time around about the size and physicality of the Hillsdale offensive line. While they didn't run the ball especially well when they met in October (only 58 net yards rushing for the Chargers), they did what they had to when it counted - especially in short yardage and goal line situations. Since that game, GV has done a lot to change their personnel and to move folks around, including Danny Richard who is proving to be as much of a havoc-wreaker from the inside as he is on the edge. If the GV front can cause some confusion for the HC line it could create blown assignments, free-running LB's, and excessive QB pressure that can really bog down the Hillsdale offense.

- Finish, finish, finish - In the three losses GV has suffered over the last three seasons (including the pre-match) one common theme can be found: The Lakers didn't finish drives when they had the chance. This is an imperative, especially during the playoffs. When the Lakers get into the red zone they MUST come away with TD's as often as possible. It sounds elementary but momentum, game flow, play-calling, etc. are all affected by whether or not a team is able to score, build leads, control momentum, etc. This can not be a problem for the Lakers or they will find themselves in trouble once again.

Over the past few days, I seem to have detected a bit of a consensus among a good portion of the Laker fan base that suggests they are expecting a repeat of last year's "rematch". In that instance, GV overcame a 15-point second half deficit against Ashland to win a 48-42 shootout during the regular season. Any anticipation of another wild affair in the playoffs was quickly doused as the Lakers had things over by halftime on their way to a 40-7 drubbing of the Eagles.

Will that happen Saturday? A Laker blowout in the playoffs after a close game (or even a loss) in the regular season? I suppose it could. Am I expecting it? Not really. I stated last week that I thought that this year's Hillsdale team was superior to last year's Ashland club and I stand by that statement. With that said, when you put the stats and X's-&-O's aside I really look to a couple of key factors that favor the home-standers. The first is that the Lakers are FAR more seasoned in terms of getting things done in the post-season. For players in this GV senior class Saturday will mark the tenth playoff game of their careers. That's almost an entire season's worth of games more than their opponent, and the Lakers know how to get things done after the leaves have fallen. The second factor is the "playoff gear" that GV often displays. Some may frown upon it and/or not like it (or even dispute it), but the Lakers truly have shown the ability to ratchet things up once the post-season commences and to play at an elevated level. Add both of those factors, along with a publicly unstated (even though you know it's there) desire to avenge this season's only blemish and I think the Lakers will find their way to a victory and make their ninth straight Regional Final appearance. Grand Valley 33, Hillsdale 23.

GLIAC Trivia
Last week, I wanted to know the name of the lone Ashland running back to register three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. From 1992 through 1994, Keith Weaver accomplished the feat and earned his place as one of the all-time Eagle greats. Congratulations go out to Candy for being the first one in with the correct answer. Candy is a Wayne State fan (easy to understand, considering her most acclaimed role is that of Joique Bell's Mom), but she pointed out that if her Warriors aren't still playing that she's a GLIAC fan the rest of the way. I'm with you, Candy!
This week, let's take a closer look at our All-GLIAC playoff match-up. Both Hillsdale and Grand Valley have rather storied playoff histories. While the Lakers have enjoyed a lot of success in recent years, the Chargers had multiple stretches as an NAIA power before moving to the NCAA about twenty years ago. During the many playoff appearances (both NAIA and NCAA) that the two clubs have made, they actually share a pair of common opponents. For this week's copy of the Preview Magazine, tell which two schools have played both Hillsdale and Grand Valley at some point during a national playoff.

Send your answers, questions, or comments to me at .

Keep on Believin' Chargers! Updated for Saturday. Hillsdale High School stars help turn Hillsdale College into a program on the rise

Hillsdale High School stars help turn Hillsdale College into a program on the rise

By Mike Pryson | Jackson Citizen Patriot

November 19, 2009, 11:03PM
Hillsdale College defensive end Drew Berube, right, is one of five former Hillsdale High School standouts starring for the Chargers this season. The defensive end has 13 of the Chargers' 33 sacks this season.

The excitement surrounding the Hillsdale College football team this season isn't confined to just the college campus.

Having five former Hillsdale High School players on the roster and playing key roles for the Chargers has helped fuel that interest and enthusiasm through the town.

"It certainly does," said Hillsdale defensive coordinator Craig Blanchard, whose son, Mike, is a junior wide receiver and kick return specialist for the Chargers. "It's just a great atmosphere for local fans to come out and watch the local high school kids who are now in college."

Mike Blanchard is one of the former Hornets who hope to make their mark in the NCAA Division II playoff game at Grand Valley State at 1 p.m. Saturday. 

The Hillsdale High School connection also includes sophomore defensive back Joe Vear, junior backup quarterback Brad Otterbein, sophomore linebacker Nate English and senior defensive end Drew Berube. 

"It's been great playing with the guys we played with in high school," said Berube, who was a first-team all-conference pick in both high school and college. "It's been an unbelievable experience.

"Making the playoffs and going for a national championship was always one of our goals when we were growing up and talking about coming here, but I don't think any of us thought all of this would actually happen."

Last week, Hillsdale won its first Division II playoff game in school history. On Saturday in the Round of 16, the Chargers play Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion Grand Valley State, a team that Hillsdale upset 27-24 earlier this season.

"If we could beat them twice and beat them at their own stadium, that would put the icing on the whole season," Berube said. "We're going to go out and play our game, and whatever happens, hopefully it's in our favor."

Berube, a 6-foot-4-inch, 261-pound defensive end who has 13 of the Hornets' 33 sacks this season, has played a big role in Hillsdale's emergence this season.

"He's very athletic for a big guy," coach Blanchard said. "You watched him play basketball at Hillsdale High School, and I watched him play basketball and baseball for seven years growing up. 

"He just continued to develop. He's got great instincts as a football player, he uses his hands well, he's always around the football, and that's what you want in a football player."

Brad Otterbein is the son of Hillsdale head coach Keith Otterbein.

Blanchard said that while having a coach's last name or coming up through the Hillsdale High School ranks was nice, neither guaranteed playing time at the college level.

"We let all those kids, like my son and like coach Otterbein's son, earn their opportunities," Blanchard said. "We know them, but it's about them making the plays. When they show up and make the plays, they're going to play. 

"I don't care if you're my son, or a guy from Canada. It's all about putting the best players on the field and giving our team the best opportunity to win."

Blanchard said that it's sometimes difficult to play the role of dad during the season. Even game days, when Blanchard is working with his defense, the best he can often do is sneak a peek at Mike.

If things get crazy on game day, the coach said there's always the film room the next day.

"It's fun having our sons with us," Blanchard said. "When they were in high school, we were just spectators. Now, the kids are just part of the program."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hillsdale Daily News: GVSU Lakers Showing Plenty of Respect for the Chargers

Hillsdale Daily News

The Grand Valley State football team was forced to shed its invincibility cloak, thanks to a historic upset at the hands of Hillsdale earlier this season, and while the Lakers aren’t exactly plotting for revenge this week, they are making sure they don’t make the same mistakes twice.

GVSU lost its No. 1 ranking in a 27-24 loss at Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium on Oct. 10, but a home loss to the Chargers in the regional semifinals Saturday would mean the end of their season and talks of their reign as the GLIAC’s best being over.

At a press conference earlier this week, Lakers’ head coach Chuck Martin and his players gave plenty of credit to what Hillsdale has accomplished, and talked about ways they can reverse the outcome of the first meeting.

“It’s different when you play a team in the playoffs who is in your league, because there’s not a whole lot of surprises. There’s a reason Hillsdale is 10-2, there’s a reason we’re 10-1,” Martin said. “Neither team is going to come out and jump into the Wildcat offense and do something completely different. On the other hand, every time you play a time either next season or the second time the same season you’ll try and change things that didn’t work to give your kids a better chance in certain situations.”

Martin had plenty to say about the Chargers’ ability to convert key first downs late in the game and the difficulty his team had in trying contain Andre Holmes and AJ Kegg. But ultimately, Martin said he was most disappointed with the fact his team had numerous chances to change the outcome, but they failed every time.

“For me, we had the ball twice in the fourth quarter in their territory and we had a one-point lead, and if we score we go up eight,” he said. “For me the game was up and down and up and we had two fourth quarter opportunities on offense to ice the game. And we take pride in closing things out and finishing our job.”

Instead Billy Kanitz scored on a 1-yard run with :36 seconds remaining to hand the Lakers their first league loss since 2004.

All-conference QB Brad Iciek said he and his teammates certainly learned a thing or two about passion and desire from that loss.

“I think on the plays they needed to make they made them on us, especially on third- and fourth-down and short. They wanted it a little more, they were a little more hungry than us, so we’ve got to be focused, be more prepared than they are and see what happens,” he said. “We know it’s do or die, it’s been that way for us since we lost to them before. We’ve just got to be ready to go, we know it’s one game at a time and we can’t wait to play them on Saturday.”

The Lakers had 462 total yards of offense and turned the ball over just once in the first meeting, but Martin said his team simply faltered inexcusably in the clutch.

“Give credit to Hillsdale. Every key defensive snap for Hillsdale they made the play and our offense didn’t and their kids stepped up and executed in key situations,” he said. “We tried to run in key situations, we tried to throw in key situations and whatever we tried did not work, so we’ve obviously got to look at what we did on third- and fourth-down and in the red zone and give our kids the best opportunity for success.”

Full Article as posted at Down in the Dale Blog's Bob Eblen's National Column


What a first round. Two overtime games. Three six seeds winning. Three comebacks from double-digit deficits (and nearly a fourth if not for Albany State missing on a last-second field goal attempt). Two teams-- Nebraska-Kearney and Hillsdale-- won their first playoff games as D-II programs. West Alabama won its first playoff game in 34 years.

Then there is the remarkable Trevor Harris. Just nine days after having knee surgery, the Edinboro senior quarterback threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns in rallying his team past East Stroudsburg. Amazing.

Of course I couldn't forget to mention Garrett Lindholm's 64-yard game tying field goal in Tarleton State's 57-56 double overtime win over Texas A&M-Kingsville. That kick has to go down as one of the great clutch kicks in NCAA history.

But what many people are forgetting is that it took another small miracle just for that field goal attempt to take place. The Texans converted on a 4th and 18 play earlier in the drive when quarterback Scott Grantham appeared to just throw the ball up for grabs and receiver Arthur Buckingham came down with it for a 35-yard gain.

Then in the second overtime it was Grantham again, scrambling, breaking tackles, and running for a 20-yard touchdown on 4th down, then following up that play with the winning two-point conversion on a quarterback sweep. Keep in mind that the game hadn't even reached the third overtime, where teams are forced to go for two. Gutsy play call by TSU coach Sam McElroy, but hey, when your team seems to be playing with a rabbit's foot in its pocket, why not?

Can round two possibly replicate the excitement of round one? What we do know about round two is that many of these teams will be familiar with each other. Five of the eight games feature rematches from earlier in the season, and in four of them, I'm picking the team that lost the first time around to have the upper hand this week. It should be another very interesting week of playoff football in Division II.

Full Column

Week 13 Podcast: Round 2 Rematch

The Hillsdale College football blizzard is about to hit Allendale, MI as the Chargers travel to Grand Valley State for Round 2 of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

This week, I don't have to ask any questions. We begin with QB Troy Weatherhead's appearance on this morning's "Starting Lineup with Bakita and Grey" show on WBBL fm in West Michigan. The Troy Weatherhead VS The Ninja game even gets some love.

We finish up with a segment of Hillsdale president Larry Arnn's remarks at this season's banquet held on November 8.

Hillsdale and GVSU kick off at 1 PM on Saturday, but you probably already knew that.

Click to listen. November 19, 2009: Hillsdale at Grand Valley

Thanks to Michael Grey and Bret Bakita as well as Dr. Arnn for their permission to share the audio.

WOOD TV 8: GVSU Prepares for Hillsdale

The Detroit News: Hillsdale Enjoying its Historical Season

November 19, 2009
Hillsdale enjoying its historic season

The Detroit News

Coming home has never been so fruitful.

Especially when the homecoming meant turning your football program into a national contender.

That's exactly what's happened for Keith Otterbein at Hillsdale.

A little more than a month after a stunning upset over No. 1 Grand Valley State, Hillsdale looks to make one more against GVSU, this time in the Division II playoffs Saturday.
"When the Hillsdale job opened up a light bulb went off in my head with the idea of, 'This is where I belong,' " said Otterbein, who played at Hillsdale more than 30 years ago. "I think I have the best job in college football. I love the players and the coaching staff here. We have the support of the administration, and it's a great environment."

Especially after the 27-24 victory over Grand Valley State, which ended the Lakers' 48-game regular-season winning streak.

The victory also ended Grand Valley State's 45-game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference winning streak.

"(Grand Valley State) does a great job of recruiting and they have an indoor facility that D1 programs don't have," said Otterbein, who took over at Hillsdale in 2002 after several years as an assistant at Ball State. "They've been the elite D2 program in the country this decade."

Still, don't think Hillsdale is overwhelmed by the presence of Grand Valley State on the field.

Hillsdale is No. 15 in Division II and earned its first playoff berth in school history. It defeated Minnesota State-Mankato on the road last week.

Hillsdale also has shown it has talented athletes. Consider:

  • Troy Weatherhead has completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,964 yards and 16 TDs;

  • Vinnie Panizzi has rushed for 1,391 yards and 22 TDs;

  • A.J. Kegg (75 receptions) and Andre Holmes (68) are Weatherhead's top targets; and

  • Left tackle Jared Veldheer, at 6-foot-7 and 320 pounds with 4.8 speed, is a potential NFL player.

  • "We run a multiple one-back style with basic plays out of it; we try to keep it simple," Otterbein said. "Our success is predicated by controlling the line of scrimmage. ... You don't need to re-invent the wheel at this stage."

    But Otterbein knows Hillsdale must keep Grand Valley State quarterback Brad Iciek and Co., out of the end zone.

    And, that could be hard to do.

    "I don't want to say it's David vs. Goliath, but we're a smaller school, 1,300 kids compared to Grand Valley's 25,000," Otterbein said. "I admire what they've done at Grand Valley."

  • Additional Facts


    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Will Cover's Line: GVSU -10.5

    Will Cover’s Line:  GVSU -10.5

    Legendary Football Handicapper, Hillsdale College grad, and self-proclaimed Hillsdale Football Historian, Will Cover, was right on the “MARK” with his outright underdog call on the Chargers over Minnesota State by THREE POINTS in their 27-24 OT road win last Saturday at Mankato!

    As Lawrence Berra (aka Yogi) once said,  “it was like Déjà vu all over again” and eerily similar to another post-season road win for the Chargers in 1985.  Hillsdale (and Will) traveled to Grand Junction , Colorado to take on Mesa State in the NAIA Playoffs.  Their Nickname?  The Mavericks…same as Minnesota State .  The Outcome…a THREE POINT win for the Chargers, 24-21, in OT on a 32-yard FG (not 34, but close) by MARK (not Petro) Baker after the greatest goal line stand in the long history of Hillsdale College Football.  What happened next?  A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP for the Chargers!

    The Lakers have three key handicapping elements in their favor on Saturday.  First of all, they are playing on their own home field at Lubbers Stadium where they have been near invincible over the past seven years.  Secondly, they are well-rested off a bye week whereas the ROYAL BLUE and White had to travel all the way to Minnesota and now must hit the road once again to AllenDALE and thus fatigue may be a factor.  And, Grand Valley State is playing with MAJOR REVENGE after being upset, 27-24 (THREE POINTS) on October 10th at Hillsdale, a game that ended the Lakers 43-game GLIAC winning streak!  Those are the reasons why Will has installed GVSU as a double-digit favorite in this contest.

    MR. COVER’S CALL:  it is a known handicapping theory that has been proven over the test of time….you don’t BET with your HEART!  However, Will is not about to buck the “CHARGER KARMA” as the ‘DALE PREVAILS by THREE POINTS on a MARK Petro Field Goal in OT and moves on to the Super Region 3 Title Game next Saturday.  MUDDY will be watching from the best seat in the House!

    Blizzard Warning: Wear White to Grand Valley!

    The weather forecast for Allendale on Saturday is partly sunny and 50, but white out conditions are expected just before 1:00 PM.  A fast moving caravan of white will speed its way out of South-Central lower Michigan headed for Ottawa County and the Lakeshore.  Smaller squalls will descend upon the area from across the state and other parts of the midwest and nation. Although temperatures are expected to remain steady and mild, the whiteout will continue for most of the afternoon.

    Associated with this expected whiteout is a special marine warning, as seas will build and become treacherous as the storm approaches. All Lakers are warned to take safe harbor and not venture out of port until the whiteout has passed.

    The above advertised shirts are available on campus. All Hillsdale fans are encouraged to join the whiteout in support of the Chargers.

    Charger Tailgater Headquarters set for Lot F

    Thanks to Mr. Jim Veldheer and Gridiron Club founder Lennie Stover for laying the necessary ground work early this week.

    Hillsdale fans will be gathering to the south of the stadium and fieldhouse for tailgating festivities in Lot F. Restrooms will be open in the building for fans to use.

    A large tent will be erected in the morning and will be a place for fans to place food to share. Those wishing to grill meat will have the opportunity to do so as a number of players' parents will be bringing the necessary equipment.

    Tailgating is set to begin at 10:00 AM. See the map below to  get directions and find out exactly where you need to go.

    View Hillsdale at GVSU, Round 2 Playoffs in a larger map

    Keith Otterbein: This is a new day.

    Charger players know this piece well that head coach Keith Otterbein often recites before each early morning Spring conditioning practice. He shared it at this year's football banquet just before the Charger seniors gave their parting addresses. It could be no more appropriate than right now and the opportunity that lies before the Chargers on Saturday.

    Find more videos like this on Chargerblue Space

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    INVASION ALLENDALE: The take-over continues in Sections 1 and 8

    Note: As of this morning, there were still tickets in Section 13 available. Call Star Tickets at 1-800-585-3737.

    Check Star Tickets! Seats still available in section 13

    As of 10:00 AM, Star Tickets outlets still had seats available in section 13 behind the Chargers' sideline.

    Call 1-800-585-3737 or hurry to a Meijer box office to get yours.

    The sales agent reported "a good handful, but under 100". She noted that they are going "extremely fast".

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Ticket sales ring GVSU phone off the hook. Approximately 250 remain on HC side.

    As of 3:45 PM EST, there were approximately 250 total seats still available in the four sections behind the Hillsdale sideline.

    Currently, Section 10 is sold out. Sections 11 and 12 are nearly gone, while close to 200 remain in section 13. There is standing room to the sides and behind those sections. Reserved seats may sell out, but any Charger fan wanting to be on that side can still be accomodated.

    Call 616 331-3200. Hours are between 9 AM and 6:00 PM. I received a recording several times before finally getting through to a salesperson. Keep redialing.

    Congratulations Charger Volleyball: GLIAC Champs

    Congratulations to the 2009 GLIAC champion Hillsdale College Chargers and good luck in the national tournament.

    Hillsdale enters the field as the #5 regional seed and will play NMU in the opening round.

    Hillsdale at Grand Valley: Facebook Event Page

    If you are headed to Allendale to watch the Chargers face Grand Valley in Round 2 of the NCAA Division II Playoffs, let your fellow Charger fans on Facebook know it. RSVP now at the official, unofficial Hillsdale College Fan event page.

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    CORRECTION AGAIN: Hillsdale - GVSU Tickets Link

    I made a big mistake recommending Charger fans by the $8.00 tickets! $8.00 tickets put you on the edges of the Grand Valley sideline.

    If Hillsdale fans want to sit behind the Charger bench, it will cost them a bit more. Grand Valley charges $15 and $12 for those seats.

    Prices: $15: Blue
    $12: Black
    $11: Yellow
    $10: Green
    $8: Field Level
    $6: Standing Room/ Lawn

    Huge thanks to Kelly Buth who noticed this error. I apologize if my incorrect information causes any inconvenience.

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Mankato Free Press: Mavericks fall to Hillsdale in OT

    Mavericks fall to Hillsdale in OT
    Season ends at 10-2 for MSU

    By Chad Courrier
    Free Press Staff Writer

    Ten days ago, the Minnesota State football team was rolling into the playoffs. On Saturday, the season was over.

    “Our goal wasn’t 10-2,” senior quarterback Ryan Fick said. “We did some nice things and made some nice strides in the program, but it's a frustrating thing, it’s a sad thing.”

    A 34-yard field goal in overtime by Mark Petro allowed Hillsdale College to defeat Minnesota State 27-24 in the opening round of the NCAA Division II playoffs Saturday at Blakeslee Stadium. It’s the second straight season that Minnesota State has reached the postseason and lost the first game. Saturday’s game was the first home playoff game in the program’s history.

    “It was a classic football game; it’s unfortunate that somebody had to lose,” Minnesota State coach Todd Hoffner said. “We made a couple mistakes down the stretch that cost us, but there’s 170 other plays in the game, it doesn’t boil to down to one.”

    A fake punt near midfield highlighted the Mavericks’ first drive, which went 80 yards in eight plays. Jake Aberg rushed for 43 of the yards, including a 14-yarder off tackle in which he was untouched into the end zone. Sam Brockshus’ PAT made it 7-0 after less than five minutes.

    Hillsdale answered with an equally effective drive, mixing six runs with three passes to produce an 80-yard touchdown drive. Bill Kanitz’s 1-yard run and PAT kick by Petro tied the score at 7 after each team’s first possession.

    The Mavericks’ next possession, a 10-play drive, spilled into the second quarter, and on the first play after the break, Fick passed 21 yards to Vincent Flury for the touchdown. It was only the third pass attempt of the game for Fick, who has played in just three games because of injuries.
    “I felt good to start the game, but it kind of went downhill after that,” Fick said. The whole game was a rollercoaster.”

    Again, Hillsdale matched the score, going 73 yards in 12 plays, including a fourth-down conversion at the Minnesota State 26. Kanitz’s second carry of the game produced another 1-yard touchdown, and the score was tied at 14 with 7:48 to play in the first half.

    Each defense got a stop, but the Mavericks had the ball last. After getting the ball to Hillsdale 15 in the final seconds, Minnesota State settled for Brockshus’ 42-yard field goal on the final play for a 17-14 lead.

    Mankato Free Press: Hillsdale - MSU photo gallery Petro's overtime field goal lifts Hillsdale College football team to first-ever NCAA Division II playoff win

    Chargers top Mavericks 27-24
    Hillsdale College Release

    November 14, 2009 - The first overtime game in more than five years for the Hillsdale College football team was one its players, coaches and fans will never forget.

    First-Team All-GLIAC kicker Mark Petro nailed a 34-yard field goal on Hillsdale's first possession of overtime to take Hillsdale ato a 27-24 win over host Minnesota State-Mankato Saturday afternoon.

    The Chargers (10-2) will now advance to the Super Region 3 semifinal game on Saturday, Nov. 21 against Grand Valley State University at 1 p.m. Mankato's season ends with a 10-2 record.

    The Mavericks scored a touchdown with 38 seconds left to tie the game at 24-24. The Chargers immediately drove down inside the red zone, but fumbled the ball with eight seconds left, forcing the extra session.

    Hillsdale immediately made plays on defense as overtime started. Linebacker David Bakker had a tackle-for-loss on the first play of overtime. On that play, the Mavericks were whistled for an illegal block penalty, setting them back to the Hillsdale 47-yard-line.

    On the second play of overtime, senior captain Lance Smith forced a fumble, that was recovered by senior linebacker Joe Stempien, ending Mankato's first scoring attempt.

    Hillsdale College senior RB Vinnie Panizzi had runs of six and three yards on Hillsdale's first drive, putting Petro in ideal field goal range. His kick split the uprights, extending Hillsdale's magical 2009 season at least one more week.

    The Mavericks controlled the first part of the game, rushing for 80 yards on their first possession of the game to take a 7-0 lead. But Hillsdale's offense had an answer, driving 80 yards in nine plays, culminating with a one-yard TD plunge by senior Bill Kanitz, tying the game 7-7.

    Mankato scored on a 21-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter to go ahead 14-7. Despite facing another deficit, the Charger offense bounced back once again, tying the game on their next possession.

    The Chargers put together a grind-it-out, 12-play, 73-yard drive capped by another one-yard score by Kanitz to make it a 14-14 game. Kanitz has 17 rushing touchdowns in his career, all coming from one yard out.

    The Mavericks booted a field goal in the second quarter, and went into halftime with a 17-14 lead.

    But the third quarter is when Hillsdale grabbed control of the contest. The team ate six minutes off the clock, mixing up the run and pass effectively and keeping the Mavericks just off-balance enough to punch the ball into the end zone.

    Panizzi, already the school record-holder for career touchdowns, found paydirt in the playoffs for the first time from six yards out, giving the Chargers their first lead of the game, 21-17.

    Petro booted a 20-yard field goal less than three minutes into the fourth quarter to give Hillsdale a seven-point lead.

    All season, Hillsdale has been very well-balanced on offense, and this game was no exception. Panizzi rushed 22 times for 85 yards and one score.

    Junior QB Troy Weatherhead played another controlled, effective game, going 24-for-31 for 258 yards. He spread the ball around to the tune of three different players getting six catches apiece.

    Junior WR Andre Holmes had six catches for 89 yards. Panizzi had a season-high six receptions, good for 46 yards, and senior A.J. Kegg added six receptions for 42 yards.

    The Charger defense made several big plays throughout the game, to slow down the tough running attack of the Mavericks. Senior Jordan Knudsen and freshman Nick Galvan each had interceptions, and seven different players had tackles-for-loss.

    Bakker, Joe Vear and Marcellus Wade each had 10 total tackles in the game.

    Please click on the link below for the stats from Saturday's playoff win.

    Chargers 27, Minnesota State-Mankato 24 (OT)

    Chargers scheduled to arrive at Toledo at 9:30 EST

    Track the Chargers flight home via Flight Aware.

    Sun Country Airlines Flight 8802

    On to Grand Valley, Chargers beat Mavs in OT 27-24

    Chargers win in overtime on a Mark Petro 44 yard field goal.

    First ever Division II win over Minnesota State!

    Game track stats

    Game Day

    It was a wet Friday afternoon as the Chargers walked through some last minute details in their pre-game practice yesterday. However, the rain has subsided this morning and the skies have began to clear. The forecast for kickoff is a sunny 48-49 degrees. The local paper mentioned this morning that Mankatos starting quarterback who has been out for the last 9 weeks will once again start for the Mavericks. Also, both of their starting defensive tackles have suffered ankle injuries and are not expected to start, but are supposed to play in today's game.

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Grand Rapids Press: Local Duo leads Hillsdale to program's first Division II playoff appearance

    Local duo leads Hillsdale to program's first NCAA Division II football playoff appearance

    By Howie Beardsley | The Grand Rapids Press

    November 13, 2009, 8:30AM
    Troy Weatherhead Hillsdale football

    Hillsdale quarterback Troy Weatherhead has completed 220-of-334 passes for 16 touchdowns. Some quality quarterbacks who have gained plenty of individual accolades have come and gone at Hillsdale College  But none directed the Chargers to an NCAA Division II playoff berth.

    Hillsdale also has had its share of well-respected offensive linemen. But none played in the Division II postseason.

    Troy Weatherhead is a junior quarterback from Comstock Park who led the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference this season with 2,706 yards passing. He has completed 220-of-334 passes for 16 touchdowns and has helped Hillsdale to a 9-2 record.

    Jared Veldheer is a senior tackle from Forest Hills Northern who anchors an interior line for an offense that ranked first in the GLIAC averaging 37 points a game, and second behind league champion Grand Valley State with an average of 436.3 total yards per game.

    The 6-foot-9, 321-pound Veldheer has had scouts from every NFL team come through Hillsdale to check out his skills as one of the top pro prospects in Division II.

    Those are nice numbers and credentials. But they can't compare to the fact Weatherhead and Veldheer have led Hillsdale, a private school of 1,326 students, to its first Division II playoff bid.

    Full Story

    Chargers Take Flight

    There is a rare sight in Toledo, Ohio this morning; a bunch of college kids wide awake at 6 in the morning. The Chargers were greeted this morning with a 5:45 am wake-up call before making their way to the hotel lobby for team breakfast. The next item on the agenda for the Chargers is a 9 am flight taking the ballplayers to Minneapolis, MN. Once in Minnesota the team will get a few hours of downtime before stepping foot onto the Blakeslee Stadium field for the first time. It will be a long, but much anticipated day for all involved.'s Tony Nicolette: Weekly Gliac Column Columnists Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

    Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

    November 10th, 2009

    #6 Hillsdale (9-2) at #3 Minnesota State (10-1)
    The Mavericks are making their second consecutive appearance in the playoffs, and are looking for their first ever post-season victory at home. Conversely, Hillsdale was a regular in the NAIA post-season fields of the 1980's but is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance. MSU will have the edge of being at home and having played in the playoffs last year, but the Chargers will hit the road this weekend as one of the hottest teams in the country having won five straight. That streak started with a Homecoming victory over then top-ranked Grand Valley, and Hillsdale has been nearly flawless since.

    Hillsdale Keys:
    - Massive Pressure - The Mavericks were near the bottom of the NSIC in throwing the ball. Certainly, they were ahead a lot and didn't always need to, but I'm not confident in the notion that they'll be able to run all over Hillsdale and never need to throw. If Hillsdale can create passing situations, they'll be getting after third string QB Cody Rose. The freshman is being asked to step in due to injury and make his first collegiate start. QB pressure carries its own merit, but when it can be applied to a young player that lacks experience it can bear an even greater impact. I'll be interested to see if the Chargers cook up some unique blitz packages for this one and try to bring pressure from different places to confuse and test Rose.
    - Holmes on the Range - The MSU defense has allowed more than 200 yards per game in the air, and likely hasn't seen an offense with this much overall explosiveness this season. HC's receiving corps is extremely fast, but its true weapon in this one could be Andre Holmes. The junior wideout stands 6-5 and has an easy size advantage over anyone in the Mav secondary. Holmes will cause match-up issues all day, and over the Chargers' five-game winning streak he has consistently proven VERY difficult to contain. He can beat people both as a possession guy and as a deep threat and I'll be watching to see if Coaches Otterbein and Fagan find some creative ways to get him the ball.

    Minnesota State Keys:
    - Control the Pace - A great way to keep pressure off your QB is to run the ball effectively and avoid putting him in difficult situations. RB Jake Aberg and his mates need to get consistent chunks of yardage and keep the chains moving. In addition to the rhythm and safety it can provide the offense, it will also benefit the Maverick defense by keeping HC QB Troy Weatherhead and Company on the sidelines. The MSU offensive line is massive and blocks out the sun, so they should be able to establish some control up front. The Mavs need to use this to their advantage.
    - Defense must stay Fresh - While HC is certainly capable of racing up and down the field, they also aren't afraid to pound folks behind 1,300-yard rusher Vinnie Panizzi and their (also rather sizeable) offensive line. The Chargers have made getting off the field tough for opposing defenses by converting on third down nearly 57% of the time, which ranks second nationally. If the Chargers get a lead and can put together a few long drives it could be trouble and the Mavericks need to avoid this.

    MSU returns a good number of folks from last year's playoff club that lost to Ashland, which (while perhaps a stretch) is my only real basis of comparison. In my opinion, this Hillsdale team is superior to the Eagle outfit of last year. While they may be a touch less athletic, they are decidedly more physical up front on both sides of the ball. While MSU will certainly have a physical advantage overall, I would be rather surprised if they saw anyone this year that can match the combination of speed AND physicality that the Chargers will bring into this one - this is not a Hillsdale bunch that gets pushed around. Add to that the uncertainty of a QB making his first start and I really like the chances for Hillsdale to claim their first ever NCAA Playoff win and head back to Allendale for a rematch with the Lakers. Hillsdale 31, MSU 20.

    Full Column

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    The Journey to Mankato

    The Hillsdale College Chargers are finally beginning their journey to Mankato for the team's first Division II playoff game and Chargerblue will be with you every step of the way. The Chargers are departing tonight for Toledo, where they will be staying before an early plane trip in the morning. Many of the students and faculty of Hillsdale will be lining the streets to wish the Chargers good luck as they get on their way. Stay tuned throughout the weekend for updates on the Chargers trip to Minnesota State.

    Week 12 podcast: One Brave Charger

    Hillsdale is on its way to Minnesota State for Round 1 of the D2 playoffs.

    Charger student-assistant coach Vince Alentado shares his journey from being on top of the world athletically to having to find a new way to contribute to the Hillsdale program...all the while battling a devastating leg injury. He also gives us an inside look at the Chargers' preparation this week.

    Click to listen. November 12: Hillsdale at Minnesota State

    Will Cover's Line: MSU -3.5

    Legendary Football Handicapper and Hillsdale grad Will Cover reports that this is not the first meeting between Hillsdale College and Minnesota State.

     Then known as Mankato State, the Mavs hosted the new named Chargers in the 1970 season opener and came away with a 17-3 win.  However, the ROYAL BLUE and White got their revenge in the first home game of the 1971 season at Muddy Waters Stadium in a 28-0 whitewash!  The Chargers finished 9-2 in 1970 and 6-5 in 1971.

    Mr. Cover's number on Saturday's game is Minnesota State favored by 3.5 points. 

    His call....CHARGERS 31  Mavericks 28, a SU and ATS upset win for Hillsdale College.

    BRING ON THE LAKERS!'s Aaron Ziemer: Weekly NSIC Column Columnists Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

    Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

    November 10th, 2009
    There is just one game this week involving a Northern Sun team, and its Hillsdale at Minnesota State University in the first round of the Super Region 3 Playoffs.

    Hillsdale (9-2) at Minnesota State University (10-1)
    For the Mavericks, it is the first ever playoff game at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato.
    The Mavericks had a terrific season, and shouldn't let a disappoint loss last week at St. Cloud affect them. They finished the year at 10-1, and accomplished many things they can be proud of, as a team they set a new school record by intercepting 28-passes this season. In fact in the last two seasons they have intercepted 53-passes.

    The problem last week was that they didn't force those turnovers against St. Cloud State. Derek Stripling and Mitch Watkins threw just one interception in the game against the Mavericks on Saturday, and the turnover bug bit Minnesota State in a big way, as they turned it over four times in that loss. That day, cost them the number one spot in the country on the season in turnover margin. It will be a key thing to watch this week as well for Minnesota State, and one of the reasons I'm concerned.

    Hillsdale really hasn't turned it over much all season their quarterback Troy Weatherhead has thrown just six interceptions all season, and considering he threw 334 passes I think it's pretty safe to say he is cautious with the football.

    To scout the Chargers a little bit they come in with a very balanced offensive team. Vinnie Panizzi has rushed for 1,306 yards on the season, while scoring 21-touchdowns. Weatherhead threw for 2,706 yards and 16-touchdowns. They have one of the top pro prospects in NCAA Division II Football in offensive lineman Jared Veldheer, who stands 6'9 321-pounds and ran a 4.8-40. 

    Defensively they have a playmaking defensive lineman Drew Berube who recorded 13-sacks this season. As a team, the Chargers have won five straight coming into the playoffs, including a 27-24 win at home over Grand Valley State.

    So they are a formidable opponent for the Mavericks.

    Full Column

    RJ Walters: 5 Things you need to know about Minnesota State Mankato Football

    5 things to know about Minnesota State Mankato

    1. They are similar to Hillsdale in who they beat and how they beat them
    For all the talk that surrounds the discussions about strength-of-schedule and who played tougher competition throughout the season, the Chargers and Mavericks are eerily similar. When the facts are laid out on paper one thing becomes apparent about both schools — they feasted on the weaker competition and have inflated stats because of that.
    Consider this: Minnesota State's four wins against teams with a winning record were by an average of 14.25 points, while their six wins over teams with .500 or worse records were by an average of 29.3 points. Hillsdale had an average winning margin of 11 points per game against the three .500-plus teams they beat, and they dominated their .500 or worse opponents by 27.7 per game.

    2. They make big plays, but in a different fashion than the Chargers
    While the success of the Mavericks is predicated on the running game, which is evident by the 214 yards they chalk up on the ground per game, don't let that fool you.
    That doesn't mean they aren't capable of the game-breaking, highlight reel sort of play.
    They aren't known for doing it quite the way the Chargers do, i.e. hitting a streaking Andre Holmes down the sidelines or throwing it across the middle to AJ Kegg hoping he can make tacklers miss until he hits the end zone.
    Instead, Minnesota State has intercepted 28 passes on the season, and has a +19 turnover margin that ranks second in the nation.
    And in senior defensive back Kelvin Rodgers the Mavs have a guy who can make opponents cry.
    In his career he has four kick returns for touchdowns, two punt returns he took the distance, a pair of INTs returned for scores and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

    3. The Mavericks can be mistake prone
    For all the big-play ability their defense possesses and the reliable running game they count on, the Mavericks can certainly help the opposition out once in a while.
    They've only thrown eight interceptions on offense, but they've lost 10 fumbles (comparatively, the Chargers have three), have missed four extra-points and have a red zone success rate of 81 percent, 11 percentage points lower than the Chargers. They also are averaging 84.4 yards of penalties per contest. Last week they paid the price for not finishing out drives. Minnesota State looked like it was going in for the tying score late in the second quarter against St. Cloud St. when Ernest Walker was stripped of the ball at the 1-yard-line, and the Huskies recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback. Then during a third-quarter drive, the Mavericks drove to the Huskies 6-yard line, but two penalties drove them back to the 20 before St. Cloud safety Tyler Niedfeldt intercepted a Pachan pass at the 1. St. Cloud St. dealt the Mavericks their only loss of the year, 26-21.

    4. Houston, they just might have a quarterback problem
     The cat is not out of the hat on this storyline, but watch for it to emerge in the coming days.
    As of right now, there is a chance that the Mavericks are going to be forced to use their third-string quarterback as Saturday's starting signal caller — and he usually plays receiver.
    Senior QB Ryan Fick missed five games earlier this season with a broken leg, and upon his return he suffered a broken collarbone.
    Then last week junior Steve Pachan (19 TD, 6 INT on the year) went out during the fourth quarter with a leg injury and Hoffner is staying mum on the issue to this point.
    No one knows what the status of Pachan is outside of the Mavericks' facilities right now (although neither he or Fick are currently on their two-deep depth chart) but a fact that is out in the open is that Fick and Pachan are the only two quarterbacks listed on the roster. Insert Cody Rose, a wide receiver by trade, who played QB in high school. He has thrown just 25 passes all season, one being a touchdown.
    Troy Weatherhead vs. former high school QB sounds pretty good for Charger fans.
    As does Drew Berube against a relative nobody.

    5. Todd Hoffner isn’t afraid to yap
    If you haven't yet heard, second-year Mavericks coach Todd Hoffner sent a blast Hillsdale's way soon after the playoff field was finalized Sunday.

    "I am sure Hillsdale is not going to travel very well...coming from Michigan. We would love to dominate the noise and put a lot of pressure on the visiting team,” he said during an interview with a local media outlet in Mankato.

    Puffing your chest out like that usually means you can afford to do some yapping because you know you can back it up. But upon further review, Hoffner has done very little to prove he's even the kind of coach who should be confident in his own ability to win in the postseason.

    In Hoffner's seven seasons as the head coach at Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1999-2005) he had his team nationally ranked in D III five of those years, as high as sixth once, but he never once got his team to the playoffs. In 2001 his team would've been in with a win, but their season ended with a loss.

    Then as the offensive coordinator at D II South Dakota, Hoffner guided an offense that was ranked in the Top 10 in total offense two consecutive seasons, but the program had a single playoff win, a 31-28 victory over Northwood, during his tenure.

    And last year the Mavericks were bounced in the first round, so to be talking smack after losing your last game of the regular season this year seems to be more laughable than anything. 
    Original Post at Down in the Dale

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