Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Long Distance Dedication to GVSU

Well, well, well...Grand Valley loses a regular season game this year and gets beaten soundly in round 2 of the playoffs. Could they actually be coming back to the pack in the GLIAC as programs like Hillsdale, Wayne State, Ashland, and Michigan Tech continue to ramp up their programs?

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Friday, November 26, 2010

2010 Team Awards

November 20, 2010 - Here is a list of the team award winners for the Hillsdale College football team, as announced at the team's end-of-season banquet on Sunday, Nov. 14.

CAPTAIN'S AWARDS: Troy Weatherhead, Nick Hixson, Phil Doerfler







RALPH MILLER III AWARD (outstanding linebacker): LB Jake Weddle

E.P.E.P. AWARD: HB Kevin Hershock



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Can't Forget about Dre.

Obviously Andre Holmes of Hillsdale had an amazing season. Let's take a look at just how amazing...and historical it was.

It seemed like almost every week toward the end of the season, Hillsdale's Andre Holmes was breaking one Hillsdale College record or another.

When Holmes started the season, he was 6th all-time on the career receiving yards list with 1724 yards and needed nearly 970 yards to pass the other 5 guys on the list topped by Ed House's 2692. When the Chargers' season had finally come to an end last Saturday, Holmes had bested House by exactly 400 yards, setting the new mark at 3092 yards.

Holmes now holds all of the following records:
Most catches in a game: 16 - set last week at St. Cloud
Most catches in a season: 104
Most catches in a career: 219
Most yards in a season: 1368

Make it a Charger Blue Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at the Team Shop.

Support and show your support for the Chargers with this great holiday sale.

$25 off of $100 order with code LIONS
$15 off of $75 order with code TIGERS
$10 off of $50 order with code BEARS Team Shop

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 Senior Class is 6th winningest bunch in modern Hillsdale Football history

Just some of the seniors responsible for the last 4 years' success - HC Photo

As Thanksgiving Week rolls on, I am taking a daily look back at the 2010 season and giving thanks by focusing on just a few of the great things that happened this year for the Chargers and all of their fans. Today we talk about a group of young men who etched themselves into Hillsdale Football history.

The 21 seniors who were honored before the Tiffin game are the 6th winningest bunch in modern Hillsdale Football history. Over the last four years, Hillsdale amassed a 34-13 record highlighted by the school's first ever Division II playoff bid, first ever Division II playoff victory, and first ever back to back Division II playoff bid seasons. This group was also the first to record 4 straight winning seasons, a feat that hadn't been accomplished since 1993-1996. That class was 27-16-1

Here are the top winningest classes over the last 40 years.

1. Tie: 1980-1983, 37 wins
1982-1985, 37 wins 1 tie
1985-1988, 37 wins 1 tie ( I'll let these guys argue over how the tie for the 1985 title figures into math and which class lays claim to the title.)
4. 1981-1984, 36 wins
5. 1983-1986, 35 wins
6. 2007-2010, 34 wins
7. 1992-1995, 30 wins 1 tie
8. 2006-2009, 30 wins
9. 1987-1990, 29 wins
10. 1988-1991, 28 wins

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Monday, November 22, 2010

2010 in Review: Weatherhead shatters all divisions record

Ever since the Chargers dropped their playoff game at St. Cloud State on Saturday a whole wave of memories from this season have been rolling over me. There were a few "couldas" but mainly a ton of "WOWs".

All this week I will be taking a look back at the individual and team accomplishments that not only stood out this year, but are high water marks in a storied 119 year old program filled with great moments.

Weatherhead shatters all-division record for single-season completion percentage

No quarterback in the history of college football, at any level has completed a higher percentage of his passes than Troy Weatherhead did in 2010. The NCAA counts this as a team record so Matt Bryan, Brad Otterbein, and Mike Blanchard get some credit here too.

The old record was set by Daunte Culpepper and Central Florida in 1997. The Knights completed 302 of 411 passes for a 73.5%. Weatherhead and the Chargers bested that 13 year old record by 2.2% having completed 287 of 379 passes over 12 games.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chargers Iced at St. Cloud

Hillsdale College found out after its Friday walk-through at St. Cloud's Husky Stadium that it would be without its work horse running back Joe Glendening for Saturday's game. An Achilles tendon problem suffered against Tiffin was to blame.

But, like record setting quarterback Troy Weatherhead posted on his Facebook page last night, "Don't be surprised if somebody doesn't flip the script and takes a pass on crying 'Uncle'."

Hillsdale could have easily cried "Uncle" after St. Cloud found the endzone on its first two plays. The Chargers could have really folded after they found themselves down 14-0 after the first quarter. They were dropping passes, missed a field goal and the momentum was running downhill in the Huskies' favor.

The Chargers finally answered just into the second quarter when Weatherhead decided it was time to flip the script and found Andre Holmes wide open in the endzone for the touchdown. Colin McGreevy added the extra point to make it SCSU 14 - Hillsdale 7.

The Charger defense got into the act and shortly after giving the ball back to Weatherhead, Troy found a streaking Mike Blanchard down the left sideline that would set up a second Holmes TD. 14-14.

St. Cloud would add a score just before the half to go up 21-14, but Hillsdale came out of the lockerroom on fire and quickly knotted the score again at 21-21 on a Brad Spencer 13 yard swing out reception. The junior had big shoes to fill in that tailback spot but ran with more grit and confidence as the day progressed.

The Huskies used a combination of bowling ball Dante Steward runs and acrobatic receptions from Fred Williams, regaining the lead and extending it to 35-21 into the fourth quarter. The Chargers kept slugging and when the defense forced a pair of stops in the fourth quarter, Hillsdale drew as close as it would get. Spencer and Weatherhead hooked up on another play similar to the earlier TD swing pass to make it 35-28 with 4:00 left to play

The Chargers just couldn't stop the Huskies as they would add another Steward score to ice things at 42-28.

The Charger defense did a nice job of containing the scrambling abilities of Klaphacke, neutralizing one of the big threats Hillsdale fans feared coming into the game. He picked up 83 yards on 17 but had no big back breaking runs.

Nick Hixson played his last collegiate game and led the team with 11 tackles. A couple of freshman linebackers Devin Moynihan and Jake Weddle had 8 and 7 respectively. Steven Harding, having been asked to step up at a corner position had a big break up and added 6 tackles. Joe Vear had six stops and picked up a tackle for a loss.

Hillsdale ends the season at 9-3. Thanks for all of the hard work Chargers.

Box Score

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Friday, November 19, 2010 Bob Eblen's look at SR3

Super Region Three

1 Minnesota-Duluth (11-0)
2 Augustana (10-1)
3 Grand Valley State (10-1)
4 St. Cloud State (9-2)
5 Hillsdale (9-2)
6 Colorado Mines (9-2)

Random Thoughts

-I get the impression that many people are discounting Augustana's chances in a potential second round match up with Grand Valley State. Do not fall into this trap. The Vikings have a legit defense, and if quarterback Josh Hanson returns from the hand injury that caused him to miss the last couple of games, Augie can play with the Lakers.

-Minnesota-Duluth has been just plain dominant this season, winning every game by 20 points or more. Before Isaac Odim got hurt, the Bulldogs were the favorite in this region and a good bet to win another national title. Without Odim it will be tougher, but this is still a great overall team.

-There are some great running quarterbacks in this region, led by SCSU's Phillip Klaphake (703 rushing yards), UMD's Chase Vogler (545), GVSU's Kyle McMahon (492 and 11 rushing TDs) and Augustana's Josh Hanson (457). Defensive coordinators are going to have to work overtime to scheme ways to control the running QBs.

-With all Augustana and SCSU making the playoffs this year, all four of the former NCC teams (Minnesota State and Minnesota-Duluth being the others) have now made the playoffs at least once since joining the NSIC three years ago.

First Round Games

Colorado Mines at Grand Valley

The Orediggers will be bringing their high-powered passing attack to Allendale, and there-in lies the problem. The way to beat GVSU-- especially this time of the year when it can get cold and windy at Lubbers Stadium-- is to run right at them and keep the Laker offense standing on the sidelines. Mines doesn't possess that capability and its 2010 playoff run will be short because of it. Grand Valley State 37 Colorado Mines 17.

Hillsdale at St. Cloud

The Chargers went to Minnesota last year and knocked off Minnesota State in an opening round playoff game, so Hillsdale has the edge in experience and knows what it takes in the postseason. The Huskies are solid on both sides of the ball, and have been bolstered by the great performance of freshman quarterback Philip Klaphake. But Hillsdale has the GLIAC offensive player of the year in senior quarterback Troy Weatherhead, and his big game experience gives the Chargers a slight edge. Hillsdale 27 St. Cloud State 24.

Full Column

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Charger's get their first taste of Husky Stadium

The Chargers had a light practice this afternoon in order to get accustomed to Husky Stadium for tomorrow's game. The six-year-old turf field is a welcome change from the grass field of Mankato that the Chargers played on during last year's first round playoff victory. The 29 degrees at today's practice is 5 degrees warmer than the expected high of 24 in Saint Cloud tomorrow. The players have meetings for the rest of the night in order to get some last minute game planning worked out to prepare for the big game. Go Chargers!

Week 12 Podcast: Andy Up!

The podcast rolls on into the playoffs with nothing but Andy's.

Andy Losik hosts.
Andy Rennecke - St. Cloud Times gives some insight into the Huskies.
Andy Brown - WCSR Radio gives us a report from the road with the team.

Click to listen.

Otter is a hands-on coach

Thanks to Andy Brown for sharing this picture of Hillsdale head coach Keith Otterbein unloading luggage at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport this morning. Hillsdale landed at 11:15 local time and is headed up to St. Cloud.

Replacing Emoji... Tony Nicolette breaks down SCSU vs. Hillsdale

#5 seed Hillsdale (9-2) at #4 seed St. Cloud State (9-2)

For the second straight season, Hillsdale will hit the road bound for Minnesota and a first-round playoff tilt. And for the second straight year, they'll face an NCC club coming off a second-place finish in the NSIC. The Chargers will head to the shores of the Mighty Mississippi in St. Cloud to tangle with Coach Scott Underwood's Huskies, who are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Coach Keith Otterbein's group proved worthy of last year's trip, snaring an overtime victory at Mankato in a physical grudge match. Are they up to the task once again?

If they are, they'll have to find a way to contain SCSU quarterback Phillip Klaphake (pronounced KLAP-hockey). The red-shirt freshman took like a fish to water in his first season running the Husky offense, leading the NSIC in total offense and setting a school record in the same category in the process. The nation's fifth most efficient passer, Klaphake led the Northern Sun in total passing yardage (2,490), touchdowns (23), and completion percentage (65.7%). But don't be fooled into thinking he just sits in the pocket all day, as he also led the SCSU ground attack with more than 700 yards and nine touchdowns rushing.

The Huskies are balanced on offense, averaging 202 yards per game on the ground and 230 via the air. The bulk of the ground work his handled by Klaphake, especially considering that injury has turned his backfield into a carousel of cast members. Look for Damon Treat and Mike Walker to see much of the action on Saturday, along with Dante Steward used primarily as a short-yardage option. None of these three has played a full compliment of games this season, and it seems unclear which will prove to be the go-to guy in the ground game if Klaphake isn't able to shoulder the load.

There is not doubt who the go-to guy will be when the Huskies throw the ball. Fred Williams leads the country in touchdown receptions with sixteen, and is eighth overall nationally raking in 116.9 yards per game. Williams is an All-America candidate and will have to draw plenty of attention from the Hillsdale secondary.

On defense for St. Cloud, keep an eye on Joel Godfredsen and Josh Popanda up front, as each has more than eight sacks on the season. Tyler Niedfeldt leads the Huskies with six interceptions, but the linchpin of the secondary (and probably the defense as a whole) is safety Tony Kubes who leads the team in tackles and is the on-field general.

While the SCSU offense is certainly potent, Kubes and the rest of his defensive mates will more than have their hands full with a Hillsdale offense that only averages about ten fewer yards per game than the Huskies, and led the GLIAC in passing at more than 262 yards per game. St. Cloud will be forced to reckon a Hillsdale offense that is led by the nation's most efficient passer in GLIAC Player of the Year Troy Weatherhead, who set a conference record this year by completing nearly 78% of his passes. Weatherhead totaled more than 2,800 yards through the air, and threw 22 scoring tosses in the process. Nine of those touchdowns were hauled in by Andre Holmes, who was seventeenth in the country with more than 105 yards receiving per game. This tandem has terrorized GLIAC defenses for the last couple of seasons, and Holmes should present match-up problems for the Husky corners with his 6'5" frame. In addition, Mike Blanchard is solid threat opposite Holmes, making double-covering the big guy far less appealing.

While Weatherhead is a terrific passer, he doesn't do much for the Chargers in the run game. That, of course, is left to sophomore Joe Glendening who set a school record for carries this year on his way to 1,483 yards and fifteen touchdowns rushing. The Hillsdale ground game is all about moving people out of the way and letting Glendening do his thing. The Chargers use a senior-laden offensive line to handle the necessary dirty work, and should be an advantage as the game wears on given how physical and athletic this group is.

The defense will have its work cut out for it trying to contain Williams and Klaphake. Safeties Nick Hixson and Joe Vear lead the team in tackles and seem to be all over the field on nearly every play. It will be up to them to ball hawk and make sure the Huskies don't break any big plays. They should get some help up front from Jed Thompson, who has become a significant force this season from his defensive end position.

This should be an entertaining game between two teams that share a striking number of similarities. Each puts up very similar numbers in terms of total offense, scoring offense and scoring defense. Both clubs were also very close to being seeded much higher. St. Cloud had built a nine-point, fourth-quarter advantage over Augustana back in week one, only to have a bad snap on a punt and a late interception unravel things. In addition, they trailed Duluth by a scant three points at halftime a few weeks ago before getting trounced in the second half. Of course, this column has documented the blown scoring chances for Hillsdale (including a 100-yard pick-six in the other direction) at Wayne State a few weeks back, and the almost inconceivable way the Chargers lost at Grand Valley in week two.

So where does the game turn with these evenly matched clubs? I'll start up front. Hillsdale has consistently been able to win the battle in the trenches this year, especially on offense. While this will be a stern test for them, the Charger O-line is a shade bigger than the defensive front of the Huskies, and is likely just as athletic. If Hillsdale is able to get any kind of a lead early and use their ground and short passing games to control the clock, they will be in good shape.

The notion of controlling the clock leads me to the next key difference, which is style of play. St. Cloud can control things, but they typically look to score quickly and have only out-possessed their opponents by about a minute a game. Conversely, the Chargers hold the ball for an average of nine and a half minutes more per game than their opposition. Hillsdale loves long, sustained drives and they are one of the top teams in the country in crafting those types of possessions. They are also the least penalized team in the GLIAC, lead the country in third-down conversion percentage, and are third nationally in terms of fewest giveaways. In short, getting Hillsdale's offense off the field is no easy task. While the Huskies are one of the top-rated clubs nationally in forcing turnovers they have struggled against better opponents, including forcing none in their two losses for a turnover margin of -6 (they were +24 in their other nine games). Again, if Hillsdale is able to assert itself and its style of play, it will be a significant advantage.

Last, it appears that proficient passing games have found success at times against the Huskies, and Hillsdale has the weapons necessary to exploit this. Of course, if Hillsdale isn't able to contain Klaphake and Company and the game turns into more of a track meet, this could spell trouble for Hillsdale. While the Chargers have improved over the course of the year on defense they have been prone to struggling against quarterbacks with the skill set they will face on Saturday. The defense MUST play well or the advantage they should have with their offense will be neutralized.

Prediction - Hillsdale has playoff experience on their side, as well as a very seasoned quarterback. If they can assert their style of play and avoid the big mistakes, I like them to win. I will caution, however, that if Phillip Klaphake has a big day this could be a very tough victory for the Chargers to earn. Hillsdale 27, St. Cloud 23.

Full Article

St Cloud Times: Huskies face potent Hillsdale

By Andy Rennecke • • November 19, 2010

Hillsdale College has one of the more potent offenses in all of Division II football.

The Chargers (9-2), who are ranked No. 10 in the nation coming into their first-round playoff game at No. 15 St. Cloud State at noon Saturday, have the top-rated passer in the country, the No. 7 leading rusher and one of the top receivers in all of D-II.

The Chargers will present the Huskies (9-2) with one of their toughest challenges of the season on defense.

“They’re a team that tries to grind it out and runs a lot of play-action,” SCSU defensive coordinator Jim Louis said. “We’re trying to keep it fairly simple for our guys. We just can’t let them have big chunks of yardage. Our game plan is very similar to what we did with Duluth. We have to get them to third down.

“We had Duluth to third down 15 different times and I think they converted 12 or 13 of those attempts. We have to be better with that this week. Our philosophy this week is to get them to third down as much as possible and get them off the field.”

Hillsdale is led by 6-foot-3, 223-pound senior quarterback Troy Weatherhead, who is one of 24 D-II players who is a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy. The trophy is annually awarded to the top football player in all of D-II.

Weatherhead is the No. 1-ranked passer in the country with a 173.97 efficiency rating. He’s thrown for 2,815 yards along with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions.

But Weatherhead knows he’s going up against an opportunistic defense in St. Cloud State. The Huskies are third in the nation in turnover margin at plus-18.

“I’m very impressed with St. Cloud,” Weatherhead said. “They’re big and tough and have fast players who can make plays. I have to stay within myself and play solid in every facet of the game to come out with a win. They’re a great football team.

Full Story
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chargers will have their hands full with St Cloud QB Klaphake's feet and arm

There aren't many things I hate seeing at a Hillsdale football game more than a running quarterback. If it's our quarterback I instantly flash back to the Aaron Scholl days where...God bless the effort he gave Hillsdale...we ended up losing him to injury for the season, twice. If that quarterback is wearing the opposing jersey then he just seems to find the open pockets once everybody drops to their pass responsibilities and he can break contain up front.

Red-shirt freshman Phillip Klophake is one of those mobile, running quarterbacks that have seemed to have given us fits in the past.
SCSU photo

Anybody remember CJ VanWieren from Ferris State?

Klaphake not only led his team in rushing with 703 yards, but led the entire Northern Sun in total offense as he parlayed his ground gaining ability into his nearly 2500 yards of passing.

Usually with first year quarterbacks, they can be pushed into uncomfortable stituations where they make mistakes. That doesn't seem to be the case with Klaphake. He's only thrown 6 interceptions on the season and that is one of the reasons the Huskies are 3rd in the country in turn over margin. However as' Tony Nicolette pointed out in this week's column, the Huskies haven't been as sharp turnover-wise in their games with better teams. Half of Klophake's picks came against Augustana and Minnesota Duluth, the two teams that beat St. Cloud this year. The Chargers will need to work hard to make this trend stick. Klophake and the Huskies beat a pretty good Winona State team and he was relatively error free in that one.

Check out how Klophake a freshman compares to the wily 5 year vet Troy Weatherhead.

Efficiency | Comp-ATT-INT | Comp % | Yards | TD | Long | YPG
Klaphake, SC 165.4 180-274-6 65.7 2490 23 83 226.4
Weatherhead, HC 174 242-311-5 77.8 2815 22 69 255.9

Pretty darn good numbers for a kid in his first year. I am glad the Chargers may only have to face Klaphake in the future if playoff fates once again allign.

Here is a little YouTube I dug up if you really want to get to know the St Cloud signal caller.

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Get it Done Chargers: The Spirit of Competition


Wednesday, November 17, 2010 Hillsdale College senior quarterback Troy Weatherhead named GLIAC Player of the Year for football

Published: Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 4:19 PM Updated: Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 4:33 PM

Hillsdale College senior quarterback Troy Weatherhead, who has led the Chargers to a 9-2 record and their second straight NCAA Division II playoff berth, was named the Player of the Year for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Wednesday.

This season, Weatherhead set a GLIAC record for single-season completion percentage (.772), completing 220 out of 285 passes in the team’s 10 conference games. He led the conference in total passing yards (2,815) and average passing yards per game (255.9), while also holding Hillsdale College career records for most touchdown passes (63), most completions (795) and most passing yards (9,144).

Other Hillsdale players named to the all-GLIAC first team on offense are sophomore running back Joe Glendening, senior wide receiver Andre Holmes and senior offensive lineman Phil Doerfler.

Hillsdale High School graduate Mike Blanchard, a Hillsdale College senior wide receiver, earned second-team honors, as did junior defensive back Nick Hixson.

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NCAA Notebook: Super Region 3 Preview

Super Regional Three
No. 5 Hillsdale (9-2) at No. 4 St. Cloud State (9-2), 12 p.m. CT

St. Cloud State posted its best record since 2005 to earn the Huskies’ first NCAA playoff berth since 2004 behind Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Offensive Newcomer of the Year Phillip Klaphake. The redshirt first-year quarterback leads the squad in both passing and rushing. Klaphake has thrown for 23 TDs and is the first Husky signal-caller to collect over 2,000 yards passing since 2004. St. Cloud State is making its third NCAA playoff appearance.

Hilldale will make its’ second consecutive postseason appearance after finishing the regular season on a three-game winning streak in which the Chargers compiled 97 total points. The last time the Chargers made back-to-back postseason trips was 1985-86 when they were an NAIA school. Hillsdale is led by the school’s all-time passing leader Troy Weatherhead, who tops the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in passing yards (255.91) and paces the nation in pass efficiency rating (173.97). Last year, the Chargers went on the road to Minnesota State-Mankato for the NCAA first round, and survived a 27-24 overtime battle to advance to the second round before ending their season against fellow GLIAC member Grand Valley State.

No. 6 Colorado School of Mines (9-2) at No. 3 Grand Valley State (10-1), 1 p.m. ET
The Orediggers are making their second NCAA playoff appearance, and first since 2004, after claiming the co-championship of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference with a thrilling 55-53 triple-overtime victory versus Nebraska-Kearney last weekend. CSM ranks sixth in the nation in passing offense with 360.64 yards per game led by quarterback Clay Garcia. The Orediggers won their first-ever NCAA playoff game in 2004 before falling to national runner-up Pittsburg State in second round action.

The Lakers have advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the 10th straight year – the only school in the nation to accomplish the feat after capturing their sixth consecutive GLIAC title. GVSU is making its’ 15th NCAA playoff appearance and has compiled a 28-10 mark all-time, and 27-5 record since 2001. The Lakers are 17-1 at home in NCAA playoff games since 2001. GVSU has won the NCAA title four times (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006), and finished as the national runner-up two other times, including last season. The Lakers are scoring 38.91 points per game, and rushing for 230 yards per game – both of which rank 10th in the nation.

Full Post by Amy Farnum
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Dude, where did you get that sweet trophy?

I saw this picture and something hit me....

Wayne State hoisted this beautiful South Division trophy just minutes after their final game victory at Findlay.

It's got the whole team's names engraved in it.

How did the GLIAC have that ready for them as soon as the game ended all of the way down in Findlay?

They didn't make it themselves and bring it with them did they? Nah.

That is exactly what Wayne State did. They had their own trophy made so that they could parade around with it. I guess the one from the GLIAC office wasn't going to be nice enough or they just couldn't wait. Well, at least they did a nice job with it.

The Warriors are mighty proud of be being the South Co-Champs, but they sure aren't using the word share or the prefix "Co" in any description of the accomplishment. Take a look at the official release from their win over Findlay. You would have thought they had won it outright...and don't try convincing any of their fans that they didn't. They claim the head to head win over Hillsdale is the tie breaker. What they don't know or pretend not to know is that the GLIAC doesn't break ties if teams finish with identical records. GLIAC Director of Media Relations Jeff Ligney confirmed this in email last week.

Now to be fair, I don't have any problems with them calling themselves champions. Heck, the items I have up on Cafe Press celebrating the Chargers' share just say South Division Champs. Both schools ARE still champions. I just find it a little...oh how should I say this?....interesting that a team would make its own trophy.
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Star Tribune: Cloudy football future in St. Cloud

Dave Schwarz, St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud State football coach Scott Underwood and his football team face an uncertain future.

Cloudy football future in St. Cloud

Before the Huskies open the Division II football playoffs at home, they anxiously await the results of voting on student fees, which could decide if the school will field a team next year.

Last update: November 16, 2010 - 11:04 PM

St. Cloud State campaigned for years to get an adequate football home, and it finally arrived in 2004 with the opening of Husky Stadium. The 4,200-seat facility includes artificial turf, a grandstand and press box, and an up-close view of the Mississippi River.

The women's soccer team will continue to enjoy this fine venue for years to come. There's no such certainty for the Huskies football team, which could be playing its last home game ever when Hillsdale [Mich.] College arrives Saturday for a first-round meeting in the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Students have been voting this week on whether to approve two increases in the activities fee -- one for 74 cents per credit and a second for an additional $1 a credit. Presumably, if both were to pass, draconian cuts to athletics would not be necessary and football would be saved.

The voting concludes Wednesday. And if the referendums fail, the odds are strong that university President Earl Potter will end the school's 88-year tradition of playing football.

Potter and Morris Kurtz, the long-serving athletic director, made this clear with the announcement in mid-August that dropping football was an option for dealing with projected deficits of $500,000 in athletics in the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years.

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference saw Potter's threat to drop football as serious enough to have its board of directors take this stand three weeks ago: Football is now among the required sports, and any member not fielding a team will be dropped from the 14-school conference.

Amid this uncertainty, coach Scott Underwood's Huskies put together a 9-2 season and advanced to the Division II playoffs for the third time. The others came in 1989 and 2004. The infrequency of postseason play didn't dissuade the Huskies from preseason optimism.

"We expected to be a playoff team,'' Underwood said. "We opened at Augustana, had a nine-point lead with nine minutes to play and let the game get away. We went back to work.''

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