Coming into today’s game, Hillsdale’s special teams had been the units making the most noise in the GLIAC. The special teams glory today all belonged to Northwood. The Timberwolves blocked a Charger extra point, and three punts enroute to a 49-20 Northwood win.
The Timberwolves cruised out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, but Hillsdale continued to fight. The Chargers’ Phil Martin took the football 17 yards into the endzone with six seconds left in the first quarter and quarterback Mark Nicolet dove in from a yard out with 1:43 left in the half to trim Northwood’s lead to eight going into the lockerroom. Nicolet used 12 plays to go 59 yards and burnt five minutes and thrity seconds of clock on the scoring drive.
Ball control played a big role in cooling Northwood’s offense, but so did a great effort from Andrew Daugherty who was all over Northwood quarterback Kyle Kolbe and the woodbone option.
Northwood struck early in the second half with a big play to deflate the Charger momentum. After a decent Charger drive stalled, Northwood’s yared Yearby blocked Matt VanOver’s punt and Richard Gills returned it for a touchdown. LAter in the quarter, Northwood’s offense got back on track with Kolbe converting on 4th down and Torris Childs walking into the endzone on a short dive one play later.
Nicolet and Hillsdale kept up the fight, adding a touchdown reception by Nick Gurica to close out the thrid quarter down 35-20. But, before Hillsdale could make the game any closer, NU got to Van Over twice more giving the Timberwolves possession deep inside Hillsdale territory. Two easy conversions made the final 49-20.
All in all, not a bad effort from Hillsdale. Even as the blue and white run game stalled at just 58 yards on the day (only 2 yards in the entire second half), the Charger passing attack was able to move the ball consistently. You can’t make mistakes against good teams and unfortunately turnovers and the breakdowns in the kicking game never gave Hillsdale a chance. Five of Northwood’s touchdowns came after fumbles, interceptions, or blocked punts.
Nicolet finished the day completing 19 of 35 passes for 171 yards. He threw one touchdown and interception. Ryan Hermosillo had 4 catches for 61 yards. Gurica had 3 for 29. Phil Martin carried 14 times for 61 yards.
Defensively, Hillsdale was led by Jared Kell’s 11 stops. Daugherty had 9 tackles as did Matt Britton. Josh Hutchinson had an interception.
The Chargers welcome the #1 ranked Grand Valley St. Lakers to Hillsdale next Saturday at 7:00 PM.