Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Thursday, April 14, 2011 Hillsdale College football spring game scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday

Hillsdale College football spring game scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday

Chargers wrapping up spring practice

April 14, 2011 - The spring portion of the Hillsdale College football schedule wraps up at 1 p.m. Sunday, with the team's annual spring game at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium.

It's been a spring of change for the program, as it faces the challenge of replacing several longtime starters at key positions as it heads into the 2011 campaign. Hillsdale has lost seven starters on offense, including the quarterback, top three wide receivers, and three starters along the offensive line. news story image

Filling those holes won't be easy, especially considering the level at which those starters have performed over the past two seasons. QB Troy Weatherhead set the NCAA all-division record with a .769 pass completion percentage in 2010, and was named the GLIAC Player of the Year. His favorite target was wide receiver Andre Holmes, who set Charger single-season records for receptions and receiving yards. Both Holmes and Weatherhead have gotten long looks from the NFL, and could be selected at the NFL Draft April 28-30.

Equally as important as the loss of those two players is the absence of starting offensive linemen Phil Doerfler, Evan Duey and Patrick Harbour. The Charger offensive line has enjoyed great talent and continuity over the past few seasons, but will have to replace more than half of that starting unit in the fall.

Many of those players were multi-year starters, helping the Chargers to back-to-back NCAA Division II playoff appearances in 2009 and 2010. Combining the skill and experience of those players now graduated, the coaching staff is faced with the challenge of determining who can fill those gaps as we focus on the 2011 season. However, it's not like this program is starting back at zero, either.

The right side of the line returns intact, with D.J. Loy at guard and Reid Meador at tackle. Loy is a rapidly improving "brawler" type at guard, while Meador, a 6-foot-7 behemoth, anchors the unit from his right tackle spot.

Running back Joe Glendening was the conference's top rusher last year, and figures to be the focal point of the offense this fall. Glendening will be a junior next season, and has already established himself as a mainstay in the offense.

Bren Bergquist and Cam White were two players who emerged as top-flight contributors last season, and both will return, as the starters at tight end and H-back, respectively. Both players are powerful, but also good at finding open spots in a defense and extending plays for big yardage. Look for them to carry a bigger load on offense in the fall.

The starting quarterback is still not established. Junior-to-be Anthony Mifsud was moved back to the QB spot after spending 2010 as a wide receiver. He is in a battle with Matt Bryan for the starting job, and both players are tall, smart and can deliver the football in tight spots.

Younger players on offense to keep an eye on in Sunday's spring game include offensive linemen Michael Kendrick, Tim Hornak and Nick Landry. Lou Cangelosi and Andrew Mott lead a young corps of wide receivers.

Defensively, the strength of the team could be the secondary, which returns four starters, and an impact freshman from the 2009 team.

Joe Vear (pictured), was a significant playmaker from the safety position. He is tall, has good range, and has shown a knack for making big plays at crucial times. He was named the national defensive player of the week back on Sept. 27, 2010.

Nick Hixson, Ben Karaba and Tyler Sandner also return to the secondary, which will also welcome back Nick Galvan. A freshman starter in 2009, Galvan missed the 2010 season with an injury, but he also has a good nose for the football, and excellent speed, making him another key player in the secondary.

Linebackers Brett Pasche, Devin Moynihan and Steve Embry had a baptism by fire last season, getting thrown into starter roles without much playing experience, and all three improved by leaps and bounds during the season.

Up front, only one starter was lost to the defensive line due to graduation, and veterans like Ridge Riebold and David Bakker will return to round out what could be a fast and stingy defensive unit.

Younger prospects on defense to watch in the spring game include Nathan Bundy, Skyler Davis, Zach Cherocci, Nick Demiro and Butch Herzog.

The Chargers will have just five home games in 2011, the first time since 2008 they will have more away games than home games. The team opens the season with a Friday night game in Big Rapids against Ferris State, before coming home for two 7:00 games against conference powerhouses Grand Valley State and Ashland. The homecoming opponent this season is Ohio Dominican, with the game to be played on October 8. The Chargers will host Wayne State (Oct. 22) and Northwood (Oct. 29) in back-to-back home games, the final two at Muddy Waters Stadium for the season.

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