Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, September 09, 2011's Tony Nicolette previews GLIAC action

#3 Grand Valley (1-0) at Hillsdale (0-1)

Over the past few seasons, the team that has been the most consistent in giving Grand Valley fits has been Hillsdale. Those who were there will likely never forget the miraculous finish of last year's game, and the last time the Lakers paid a visit to Muddy Waters Stadium they were sent home with a loss. The Chargers have some questions to answer after last week's loss at Ferris, but can get things back on track in a big way by saddling Grand Valley with an early blemish.

Grand Valley Keys:
- Keep the Balance - Hillsdale had a hard time stopping the Ferris ground game a week ago. GV definitely has the personnel to take advantage of this, but also has a much stronger passing attack than the Bulldogs. Taking what the Chargers give will of course be the Laker game plan, but they should see many more options available if they are hitting Hillsdale via the air as well.

- Say no to Joe - Hillsdale got 224 yards on the ground and another 25 receiving from Joe Glendening in last year's game. The Lakers know that he's going to get his typical 32-38 touches in this one, and they need to keep his average gain as low as possible. Not letting him get going on the ground is imperative, but keeping him in check via the air (especially if GV has a lead) can't be forgotten.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Secondary must play well - Yes, if the run is there GV will take it. With that said, the Lakers passing attack did most of what it wanted last week so the Chargers can't simply fix their run stop and expect that to be enough. Getting some help from the front with pressure on Heath Parling will be important to slowing down GV's passing game as well.

- Dictate tempo - This is something that Hillsdale loves to do. They led the GLIAC in time of possession a year ago, and had a major advantage again last week. Turnovers on the plus-side of the field were part of their undoing, so if they can keep the Laker offense on the sidelines for extended periods of time (and avoid not cashing in on drives) they'll be giving themselves a better shot at knocking GV off for the second time in three years.

Much of the talk around Hillsdale's prospects for this year have revolved around the graduation of Troy Weatherhead and Andre Holmes. While their being gone is certainly significant, I really think the losses Hillsdale felt the most in Week One were on the offensive line. Three fifth-year seniors departed, and the play of the line was not the same as it was last year. This could be a problem on Saturday, as Grand Valley's maligned defensive front from 2010 has several key cogs back, and was very active against Western Oregon. If Grand Valley is able to win in the trenches with their defense, I think it's tough to see Hillsdale avoiding the 0-2 hole. Grand Valley 30, Hillsdale 21.

Rest of Tony's article

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