Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Monday, October 31, 2011

Despite win over Northwood, Hillsdale drops 4 spots in Regional Rankings

Even though they beat Northwood on Saturday, the Hillsdale College Chargers see themselves drop 4 spots in the regional rankings thanks to....math.

The NCAA has a formula that bases the rankings on winning percentage, strength of schedule, and opponent strength of schedule. This is criteria for the regional committee to apply. What's Tony Nicolette has done a great job of doing is reminding fans that there is no specific regulation or requirement stating how exactly the math is applied.

Hillsdale played a 2 win football team on Saturday and so that hurt the SOS number. A win over Findlay on this upcoming Saturday will help slightly as the Oilers are 5-4. The big albatross that hangs from the neck of everyone who plays them is winless Tiffin.

Are the playoffs out of the question for Hillsdale this year? Nope, because anything can happen in the final two weeks. As I stated in my post about two wins equals a GLIAC title, all the Chargers can do is take care of their own business. They have to beat Findlay and Tiffin. After that, it's all in the hands of whatever-happens happens.

Do yourself a favor and just simply scratch your heads. No sense in trying to figure this thing out any further.

Rankings courtesy of

Hillsdale College Football: Two Wins from a Title

"Control your own destiny" are some of the most beautiful words in football and that is exactly what Hillsdale College does as it strives to reach its team goal of winning the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the first time in 19 years.

The last time the Chargers won a league title was 1992 when Hillsdale shared it with Ferris State, Grand Valley, and Butler. It is likely that the Chargers will probably end up sharing this title too. With two games to play Hillsdale is in a 5 way tie with Wayne State, Saginaw Valley, Ashland, and Indianapolis. All sit with 6-2 records in the conference. Hillsdale is 6-3 overall but its loss to league member Ferris State  was played as a non-conference game because the long-time rivals were not scheduled to meet in league play.

Hillsdale plays at 5-4 Findlay on Saturday and winless Tiffin on November 12.

Here are the schedules for the other top teams:

Saginaw Valley (6-2, 6-2): home vs. Northern Michigan, at Grand Valley State
Wayne State (7-2, 6-2): at Indianapolis, home vs. Findlay
Indianapolis (7-2, 6-2): home vs. Wayne State, at Ohio Dominican
Ashland (6-3, 6-2) : home vs. Ohio Dominican, at Lake Erie

Only one team is guaranteed out of the mix and that is either going to be Wayne State or Indianapolis. They are the two clubs among the tied-5 who have remaining games with any of the others.

Coach Dick Lowry used to preach and Otter still preaches it after having been a Lowry assistant: Worry only about what we can control.

How Hillsdale might fair in terms of the playoffs is completely out of their hands. A thousand scenarios could play out a thousand ways. A new set of regional rankings will be up later this afternoon.

Only one thing is certain. Beat Findlay and Tiffin and be league champs.

Patrick Heckenlively Galleries Now Live for Northwood

Check out official team photographer Patrick Heckenlively's photos from this past Saturday as well as from all past home games this season.

Charger Football Galleries

Photos may be purchased online.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hillsdale 6th in First Round of NCAA Football Regional Rankings

Hillsdale College finds itself still in the NCAA Division II football playoff mix, despite losing on Saturday to Wayne State. The Chargers' strength of schedule seems to be buoying them in this early round of math. Findlay at 5-3 will help strengthen that but Norhwood and Tiffin's struggles this year will not. Here they are as posted at

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Saginaw blows out Ashland. A Hillsdale win will mean sole possession of first place

It has been 29 years since a Hillsdale College football team has made it through the regular season unscathed. In 1982, the Chargers reeled off 12 straight before losing to Mesa State 18-9 in the second round of the NAIA playoffs.

You have to pretty much pencil in a loss here or there and it really doesn't matter that much who beats you. If you expect to be a contender for league titles and D2 playoff berths, you can't let it happen much though.

Even after a shocking defeat by Ohio Dominican two weeks ago, Hillsdale finds itself in a position now to take over sole possession of 1st place with a win over Wayne State. Ironically, it was a win over Wayne State that clinched that a share of the 1992 league title.

Hillsdale got some help last week when Ashland knocked off previously unbeaten Wayne State, creating a 3-way tie at the top with Hillsdale, WSU, and Ashland at 5-1 in league play. Last night, Hillsdale and Wayne State got a lot of help from Saginaw Valley (and quite a bit from Ashland's disinterested performance) as the Cardinals blew out the Eagles 27-6 in front of a national television audience.

A win over Wayne would put the Chargers at 6-1 and drops Wayne into the muck of two loss teams hoping the leader somehow stumbles along the way.

Even with a win, no ring is secure, shared or otherwise. Hillsdale still faces Northwood, Findlay, and Tiffin. As we saw in the ODU game, everyone is dangerous. Playing in Findlay is especially dangerous, as it was the Oilers who ended Grand Valley's home winning streak this year, forcing 6 turnover. Five of those came on 5 straight possessions.

Hillsdale will need a great effort this week. When I talked to offensive coordinator Nate Shreffler, he said Wayne is "probably one of the most complete teams we have seen all year."

Game time is 1:30 PM at Muddy Waters Stadium in Hillsdale.

Warrior Daily: Wayne State Head Coach Paul Winters

Wayne State head coach Paul Winters shares his thoughts on last week's loss to Ashland and the task of playing in Hillsdale this week.

video from Wayne State University

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hillsdale defense redeems itself in football win over Michigan Tech

After not having their best effort last week at home, Hillsdale College's defense took the burden of redeeming itself all of the way to Houghton, Michigan and helped the Chargers get a big road victory.

Hillsdale's GLIAC title and playoff hopes remained alive on Saturday as the Chargers won for the first time at Sherman Field since 1996.

Hillsdale forced 4 punts and recovered a fumble on a kickoff to preserve Hillsdale's 6-0 halftime lead. At the half, The Huskies had only mustered 2 first downs and 43 yards.  In the second half the Chargers forced punts on Tech's first two possessions, blocking the second one and setting up Hillsdale's only touchdown of the day. Nick Hixson would pick off Tyler Scarlett on Tech's next go.

Michigan Tech still had a little left in the tank and would put together a long drive that account for 80 of its 167 yards of total offense. It was Chargers 13, Huskies 7 with 6:03 to play.

Unable to generate any offense or momentum on its next possession, the Charger offense went 3 and out,  putting the defense  back on the field quickly.  Tech looked like it just might spoil this great effort with 23 yards on its first play, moving down to the Hillsdale 33 with about 5 to play. They would get no closer...well a little bit.

After Charlie Leffingwell was held to a yard on the next carry, Pasche would turn in an incredible set of downs on the next 3 plays.  On 2nd and 9 Pasche would wrap up Leffingwell for -4 yards in the backfield. On 3rd and 13, the linebacker from Findlay, Ohio sniffed out a dump pass to Leffingwell dropping him for another loss of 2 yards. Out of options at its own 38, Tech had to go for it on 4th and 15 and had to pass. Defensive coordinator Craig Blanchard sent Pasche on a blitz and all but sealed things with a sack of Scarlett and a forced fumble.

Anthony Mifsud was able to lead the offense to a pair of first downs and the Charger defense never had to go on the field again.

On the day Pasche had 6 solo stops, 4 for loss including the sack. Joe Vear led Hillsdale with 13 tackles. Devin Moynihan recovered a fumble and had 8 stops including a sack he and Tim Moinet ganged up on to kill a Tech drive in the second half. Nate Bundy and Zach Cherocci also had sacks. Hixson had the one pick.

The Chargers held Tech to 69 yards rushing and 98 yards passing.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Hillsdale's Joe Glendening making a case for a Harlon Hill Nomination

The Harlon Hill Award goes annually to the top player in Division II football. Hillsdale College's Joe Glendening is making a case for his name to be on the ballot for this season.

Here are his performances so far this season.

Game 1 vs. Ferris State - rushing 29-153 1TD, 3 receptions 10 yards
Game 2 vs. Grand Valley -rushing 32-89 2TD, 1 reception 24 yards 1TD
Game 3 vs. Ashland -rushing  33-101 4TD, 7 receptions 43 yards
Game 4 vs. Lake Erie -rushing  36-139 4TD, 3 receptions 22 yards 1 TD
Game 5 vs. SVSU -rushing  42-244 3TD, 3 receptions 49 yards
Game 6 vs. ODU -rushing  33-262 4TD, 2 reception 72 yards 1 TD

988 total yards, 164.7 yards per game, 18 rushing TD, 36.7 yards per game receiving 3TD

Before Saturday:
Was tied for first in the country with 16 touchdowns, bumped that up to 21 today, pulled ahead of Rashaad Slowley at South Conn. State who sits at 19.
Was 6th in the country with a 144 ypg average, bumped that up to 167 today.
Was 3rd in the country with 200 ypg all purpose average, bumped it up slightly to 201.333

A couple of tough defenses lie ahead in MTU and Wayne. The thing about Joe though is that he comes up biggest in big games.

Saturday, October 08, 2011 Ohio Dominican ends Hillsdale's homecoming winning streak in 43-42 upset

Ohio Dominican ends Hillsdale's homecoming winning streak in 43-42 upset
Joe Glendening rushes for career-high 262 yards in the loss
Ohio Dominican 43, Hillsdale 42

October 8, 2011 – The Ohio Dominican University football team put a shocking end to a number of winning streaks by Hillsdale College Saturday afternoon.

Thanks to a 22-point fourth-quarter explosion, the Panthers pulled off a 43-42 upset of the Chargers at Hillsdale’s news story imagehomecoming game Saturday afternoon at Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium. Hillsdale is now 4-2 overall and 4-1 in the GLIAC, while the Panthers improved to 3-3 on the season.

This game marked the first home loss for the Chargers since Sept. 27, 2008 – a streak of 16 games – and the first homecoming loss for the team since 2003, a streak of eight games. ODU ended the streak by taking advantage of three Hillsdale turnovers, and stopping the Charger offense when it absolutely needed to.

A total of 36 points were scored in a frantic fourth quarter that featured quick scoring strikes by the Panthers, and another incredible performance by Charger junior RB Joe Glendening. But it was ODU who struck first, and held last, getting one of its biggest wins in its one-plus year as a member of the GLIAC.

Thursday, October 06, 2011 Tony Nicolette's weekly GLIAC preview

Ohio Dominican (1-3, 2-3) at #19 Hillsdale (4-0, 4-1)

After an 2-0 start, ODU has come back to earth a bit by dropping three straight. Conversely, an opening weekend loss for Hillsdale has turned into a four-game win streak that has included multiple last-second heartstoppers. If any team in the league has proven thus far that they know how to win close games, it has definitely been the Chargers.

Ohio Dominican Keys:
- More than e'Noff - We talk about ODU RB Mike Noffsinger a lot, but he's a proven playmaker who has been clawing his way up the list of great backs in this league. With that said, the Panthers need to show a bit more on offense than just him. Last week he was held in check and Tech won easily. The passing game needs to get going.
- Disruption - Hillsdale loves to get a rhtyhm going on offense and basically put you to sleep from there. ODU has to find a way to force some early turnovers, or get a couple of big plays for a loss to derail what the Chargers want to do. If Hillsale is able to churn out first downs and score with some ease early, this one won't last long.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Run Stop - If the 'Dale defense has had a weakness this year, they have been prone at times to allowing some numbers on the ground. ODU is a run-first group and they have proven they can move the ball against decent defenses. The Chargers need to keep Noffinger and the shifty QB Jeremy Fudge in check.
- Do what you Do - Hand it to Glendening, spread the passess around. The offense has definitely been clicking, so there's no sense in doing anything unusual...especially against an over-matched opponent.

It's Homecoming at Hillsdale, and the faithful should see a favorable result. While the HC offense does start with Joe Glendening running the ball, the Chargers have completed passess to at least nine different receivers in every game this year...ten different in the last three games. That kind of balance should play plenty well against the league's worst pass defense. Hillsdale 45, Ohio Dominican 21.

Tony's take on the rest of the GLIAC

Hall of Famer and former Hillsdale Linebackers Coach Jack Hepinstall Sr. Passes Away

The game of football lost a real gem on Monday when former Hillsdale College assistant football coach Jack Hepinstall Sr. passed away in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Coach Hep was a great teacher who had worked with young men at the high school and college levels for over 50 years. Twenty of those seasons came working with some of Hillsdale College's legendary linebackers like Rodney Patterson, Jerry Klekotka, and Scott Duncan. I was a linebacker at Hillsdale and spent 4 years in Coach Hep's position group and a 5th year as a student assistant learning the game from him. I will always remember his warm eyes and handshake when I arrived at Hillsdale on a snowy November day to take my tour of the school and facilities. He loved his guys and one of the highlights of the week was Dominoes Pizza and the Thursday Night college football game with the other linebackers over at Hep's house. Oh...and there were all of the great stories that 50 years of coaching can deliver.

The last time I got to visit with Coach Hepinstall was during Homecoming of 2009. We sat near one another as Hillsdale shocked the world and knocked off Grand Valley, then ranked number 1 in the nation. His son Jack had brought him to game and alumni reunion. You could tell that he was getting older but he still know every guy and his mind was just as sharp. He was one of those guys who shaped my life. When you're 19 though you somehow don't value all of the wisdom that surrounds you. When I read his obituary below it really reminds me how fortunate I was to have spent so many days on the practice field with him. He's one of the reasons I didn't just bag football when it was a foregone conclusion I wouldn't be seeing the field too much on Saturdays. Give it a read and say a little prayer for Jack Jr. and the rest of Hep's family, including all of the guys whose lives are better because of him.

Jack N. Hepinstall, Sr., 89, of Ft Myers, FL, formerly of Hillsdale, MI passed away on Monday October 3, 2011 at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Ft Myers after a brief illness.  He was born on August 15, 1922 in White Cloud, MI to the late Oliver and Nellie Hepinstall.  He was preceded in death by his first wife, Phyllis (Lohr) in 1984, his brother James in 2010, and his step son William Harlan in 2009.  

Jack graduated from White Cloud High School in 1940. He earned college degrees from Michigan State University (Bachelors- 1948, Masters-1962) and Western Illinois University (Specialists-1972).  Jack was also an officer with the US Army serving in World War II and the Korean Conflict.    

During his outstanding career, he taught and coached various sports at high schools in Hart (MI), Blissfield (MI), WIU Laboratory School, Macomb (IL) and Hillsdale (MI).  While at Hillsdale, his 1972 football team was Michigan’s Class B State Champions.  After retiring from teaching in 1979, Jack worked one year at the University of Toledo in 1980.  He then was an assistant football coach with Hillsdale College (1985 NAIA National Champions) for twenty years retiring at the age of 78 in 2000.  He was inducted into Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame (1977), Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame (1984), and Blissfield Hall of Fame (2008).  

After his second retirement, Jack enjoyed living full time in Florida with his wife Marilyn; traveling, playing golf, cards, and visiting friends and family.

Jack is survived by his wife Marilyn (Harlan) married on July 4, 2004, his children, Linda Gragg, Stuarts Draft, VA, Jack (Julie) Hepinstall, Lakeland, FL, Jeff (Becky) Hepinstall, Toledo, OH, Susan Risk (Ray Briner), Hillsdale, MI, Amy (Jeff) Glock, Fallston, MD, and his step children MaryBeth (Michael) Gilroy, Robert (Diane McKeebe) Harlan, Jeffrey Harlan, James (Peggy) Harlan, grandchildren Angie and Luke Gragg, Emily and Alec Hepinstall, Kristen and Eric Hepinstall, Jason Jones, Jack and Will Glock, Ashley (Woodie) Munson, John and Emma Harlan, Connor Gilroy, and great grandchild Alivia Munson.

Memorial receptions to celebrate Jack’s life are being held at the Hillsdale Community Senior Services Center 320 W Bacon St Hillsdale Michigan on Sunday October 16, 2011 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and at The Landings Yacht, Golf & Tennis Club, Helm Club 4425 S Landings Dr. Ft Myers FL 33919 on Saturday October 29, 2011 from 1:00PM to 4:00PM.  In lieu of flowers and for those wishing to give memorial contributions may consider gifts to the Jack McAvoy Scholarship Fund at Hillsdale College C/O Football Office, 33 East College St. Hillsdale, MI 49242. 

Online condolences may be sent to the family through the website

Saturday, October 01, 2011 Hillsdale College football team rallies for first win at Saginaw Valley State in 19 years, 38-35

Glendening's career-high 244 yards pace Chargers
Hillsdale 38, Saginaw Valley State 35

October 1, 2011 – Sometimes, all you need is a good cup of Joe. And it’s even better if you have two.

One Joe had the biggest game of his collegiate career, and another Joe made the play of the game, as the Hillsdale College football team defeated Saginaw Valley State University 38-35 in a thrilling game Saturday night at SVSU’s homecoming. The Chargers, ranked 24th in the nation, are now 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the GLIAC, while the Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season, and are now 3-1.

Junior RB Joe Glendening turned in a magnificent performance, carrying the ball 42 times for a career-high 244 yards and three touchdowns. He made big plays throughout the game, but it was another Joe who made THE biggest play of the game, certainly on the defensive side of the ball.

Defensive lineman Joe Snyder sacked Cardinals QB Jonathon Jennings on a 3rd-and-10 play on the Cardinals’ final drive. SVSU failed to convert the subsequent 4th-and-17 play, which ended the home team’s final threat of the game. The sack not only put the Cardinals into a fourth-and-long situation, it knocked them well out of field goal range.

It was the first time the Chargers left SVSU’s Randall Wickes Stadium victorious since 1992, and was the team’s fourth win in a row this season. It was also the first time Hillsdale has beaten Saginaw Valley State in back-to-back years since 1992 and 1993.

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