Homecoming Football vs. Tiffin

The Hillsdale College football team con­tinued its resur­gence on Sat­urday, as the Chargers won their third straight game by defeating the Northwood Tim­ber­wolves 28 – 14 to improve to 4 – 6 overall and 4 – 5 in the GLIAC.
After com­bining for 500 yards in his pre­vious two games, red­shirt freshman tailback Joe Reverman rushed for 112 yards and two touch­downs on 24 carries, despite Northwood’s strategy of crowding the line of scrimmage. With fewer players cov­ering his receivers, red­shirt freshman quar­terback Chance Stewart took advantage, throwing for 277 yards and two touch­downs on just 16 com­ple­tions.
“The way Joe has played these last couple games, teams really have to step up and put more people in the box, so it opened up. The line played great and gave me lots of time to go through my reads, and the receivers played a great game,” Stewart said. “It was just one of those games where every­thing clicked. We had a great game plan going in and we just exe­cuted and we came out with a win.”
The Chargers opened the scoring with 5:24 left in the second quarter. After Hillsdale’s defense forced a turnover on downs, Stewart con­nected with freshman wide receiver Trey Brock for a 75-yard touchdown to put the Chargers up 7 – 0.
Stewart found junior wide receiver Ryan Potrykus for a 13-yard score seconds before halftime to give Hillsdale a 14 – 0 lead at the break.
The Chargers doubled their lead in the third quarter, when Reverman found the end zone twice to give the Chargers a com­manding 28 – 0 advantage heading into the final quarter.
“The offensive line has been playing really well, and Chance had almost 300 yards passing, so that takes a lot of pressure off me when they don’t really know to defend against the pass or the run,” Reverman said. “That really helped.”
Northwood actually out­gained the Chargers 393 – 386, but Hillsdale’s defense kept the Tim­ber­wolves from doing any major damage by forcing two turnovers on downs and inter­cepting the ball three times.
“We played really good assignment football,” head coach Keith Otterbein said. “We were on our assignment, ral­lying to the ball, we gen­erated some oppor­tu­nities, we got off the field, and we didn’t let the ball over our head, which was really big because they have some long, stretched out receivers.”
During their three-game winning streak, the Chargers have given up an average of just 12.7 points per game and rushed for an average of 238 yards per contest.
“It all starts on the line of scrimmage, both sides of the ball,” Otterbein said. “You’ve got to control the line of scrimmage so for us to stop the run and to establish the run is huge in terms of pro­duc­tivity on offense and defense. We’ve done a nice job there so credit goes a lot to the offensive line, the defensive line, and the line­backers.”
Staying “con­fident” through the team’s five-game losing streak earlier in the season was key for the offensive line, according to senior left guard Justice Karmie.
“Just getting rolling again has been huge, so now knowing what we can do and seeing it actually happen has been huge for us,” Karmie said.
Stewart rec­og­nizes how important the offensive line’s strong play has been.
“It’s been the key point of every­thing. Joe doesn’t do the things he does if the offensive line isn’t doing it, and I don’t throw for 270 yards if the line wasn’t doing what they’re doing,” Stewart said. “It’s exciting because three out of the five linemen are coming back next year.”
The Chargers have fixed their attention on Saturday’s Senior Day, when they will finish the season with a 12 p.m. game against Wayne State at Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium.
It will be the final time Hillsdale’s seniors don the blue and white.
“We’ve been calling this the week of lasts because every­thing we do this week as seniors is the last time we’re going to do that,” Karmie said. “I’m not 100 percent sure how it’s going to feel because right now it just seems really surreal and very dif­ferent. It’s tough because early on in my career I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to be as tight or close with the team as I was with my team in high school and now after five years of being here I love this group of guys, so it’s going to be really tough to walk away from that at the end.”
The Chargers would love to send their seniors off on a four-game winning streak and build momentum going into next season.
“The biggest thing is that we want to send the seniors off the right way. They’ve put all the work into this program, some of them for four years and some of them five years, so you want to do every­thing in your power to send them off in the right way,” Stewart said. “To end on a four-game win streak — thinking about next year — this is all the momentum in the world.”
A win on Sat­urday would give the Chargers an even 5 – 5 record in the GLIAC and 5 – 6 mark overall after starting out the year 1 – 6.
“I think 5 – 6 sounds a lot better than 4 – 7, and if we finish with four wins in a row, just the whole off­season we’ll keep working, and hope­fully we can build some­thing special for next year,” Reverman said.

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Nathanael Meadowcroft
A senior from Portland, Oregon, Nathanael serves as one of the Collegian’s senior writers and covers the football team and men’s basketball team. He is studying mathematics and journalism and plans to return to the Pacific Northwest after graduation. Nathanael has interned for the Portland Tribune over two summers, covering a variety of sports. Email: | Twitter: @NMeadowcroft