The Hillsdale Chargers have trouble with homecoming. On Saturday, the Chargers fell for the third homecoming game in a row, losing 17 – 14 to the Indianapolis Greyhounds.
The Greyhounds dominated the first half, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to go into halftime leading 17 – 0. The Chargers’ defense stood solid for much of the half, but a handful of big plays cost them points. On each of Indianapolis’s touchdown drives, Greyhound quarterback Chris Mills made a decisive 33-yard pass that led to six points for his squad.
Senior Sam Landry concluded that the disparity in big yardage plays between the two teams was a determining factor in the loss: “We have to make more big plays.”
Head coach Keith Otterbein explained that he made a number of calls hoping to spark a sizable gain for the offense, but explained the team “just didn’t catch a break.” Otterbein cited two such plays: one where sophomore John Haley broke free down the sideline that ended in a sack, and another that saw Haley make a 41-yard catch only to be called for illegal touching.
The offense struggled across the board on Saturday, recording season low totals in passing and rushing yardage. They had trouble moving the ball down the field the entire game, converting only three of 14 third down attempts. Otterbein explained the the offense ended up with “way too many third and longs.”
The bright spot for the Chargers on Saturday was their defense in the second half. They held the Greyhounds scoreless in the third and fourth quarters.
Senior Steven Embry was the star of the show, coming up with two interceptions, one for a touchdown and the other setting up the offense at the 10-yard line for a touchdown. Senior Brett Pasche quietly continued his dominance from the middle linebacker position, recording his fourth straight double-digit tackling game.
Coach Otterbein said of his linebacker core, “We’re getting a lot of good play out of those guys.” Of the defense in the second half on the whole, he concluded, “We tackled really well.”
On the strength of the defense, the Chargers brought the game within striking distance in the final quarter. A pair of punts put the offense inside the 5‑yard line on two key drives late in the game, helping to keep the Chargers silent as the clock wound down.
Though the Chargers fell to 1 – 3 against the Greyhounds, the game was their second non-conference match-up, meaning their record in the GLIAC remains 1 – 1.
This week, Hillsdale faces its third conference opponent: the Wildcats of Northern Michigan University.
Coach Otterbein said the Wildcats will “want to play a physical game. They get a bit chippy.” Though they don’t have the biggest team, Northern Michigan boasts a fair amount of athleticism and speed.
Landry said that he is looking for the Wildcat defense to “give the offense a lot of different looks.” They run a diverse batch of defensive sets, and try to keep the offense guessing.
According to coach, the Chargers, with a long trip to Michigan’s upper peninsula in front of them, will leave Friday morning and arrive early at the stadium to “shake off the eight hour bus ride,” Otterbein said. The long trip and the space may just afford the Chargers the deep breath that will help them attack the rest of the season.