The Hillsdale College Chargers football team dominated the Walsh University Cavaliers, beating them 20 – 3 after generating five total turnovers.
The Chargers defense put together a remarkable performance, led by redshirt freshman defensive back Jackson Gillock, who caught three of the Chargers four interceptions. Gillock now leads all of NCAA Division II football, with five interceptions on the season.
On special teams, junior linebacker Nick Goerss was awarded G‑MAC Special Teams Player of the Week after a blocked punt in the third quarter.
Redshirt freshman tailback Logan VanEnkenvort, who led the Chargers backfield with 51 rushing yards, commented on the effect these turnovers have on the offense’s performance.
“Those turnovers are just huge momentum boosts,” VanEnkenvort said. “As soon as you get that turnover the offense just wants to go fire down the field again.”
On their first possession of the game, Walsh drove 74 yards, but settled for a field goal, the team’s only points of the game.
Both Gillock and senior defensive back Joe Schnieder would grab interceptions in the second quarter. Gillock’s interception would set up the Charger offense for their only scoring drive of the half.
With 48 seconds left in the second quarter, sophomore quarterback Garrit Aissen, who finished the game with 93 yards passing, threw a two-yard touchdown pass to true freshman tight end Evan Schafer, leaving the score 7 – 3, with the Chargers up at the half.
When asked about the performance of Aissen, who entered the season as the third-string quarterback, VanEnkenvort spoke highly of his teammate.
“I think he’s really stepped up to the plate,” VanEnkenvort said. “He’s done a good job, and I think he can continue to do the job. He’s really put the team on his shoulders, trying to turn what seemed like a really bad situation into something good.”
Walsh’s first punt of the second half was blocked by Goerss, and returned 8 yards by redshirt freshman defensive back Bart Bixler for a Charger touchdown, making the score 13 – 3 after a missed extra point by senior punter Jack Shannon.
After a fourth quarter interception by Gillock, Aissen led the Chargers on an 80-yard drive, culminating in a 1‑yard rush by the sophomore quarterback to make the final score 20 – 3.
The following drive, junior defensive lineman Max Torbert forced a fumble which was recovered by senior defensive tackle Nate Chambers, and on the final play of the game, Gillock caught his third interception of the day, netting the Chargers five total turnovers.
“It starts with the D‑line,” Gillock said. “The D‑line is killing it and so are the linebackers. They’re just rushing the quarterback and making him make bad throws, and then that’s where the DB’s come in.”
Next Saturday, October 16, the Chargers will host the Lake Erie College Storm, who are coming off of a three game losing streak. Coach Otterbein said the team has been improving the last three weeks.
“We’re learning what it takes to prepare,” Otterbein said. “We’re getting the job done on Saturday, we’re making enough plays to win football games. We’ve come out on top, and that gets you absolutely nothing going into this week. We’re 0 – 0 going into this week, we want to go undefeated this week, and that’s the focus.”