Hillsdale looks to continue upward climb in 2006
Aug. 8, 2006 – Progress can sometimes be a slow, frustrating process. It’s something that can never happen fast enough, but when it is visible, it jumps off a page like red out of a newspaper.
The Hillsdale College football team made solid progress in 2005, but not enough for the coaching staff or the players. More progress this season is not only hoped for, but expected.
In 2005, the Chargers finally shook loose the stigma of three consecutive 4-7 seasons with a 5-6 mark that was highlighted by a season-ending three-game winning streak, the first for the program in 10 years. The team is hoping that momentum, coupled with several returning skill players, will push the team north of the .500 plateau for the first time since 1999.
Hillsdale will have some holes to fill after bidding farewell to its biggest senior class in several seasons. Among those standouts were team MVP Chad Gurica and four-year starting tight end Keith Recker, who earned a spot in the Cactus Bowl back in January. Gurica set a school record with three kickoff returns for touchdown, while Recker finished second on Hillsdale’s all-time career receptions list.
Stepping to the forefront this season is a returning starting backfield and an experienced group of linebackers, two areas of strength for this year’s Chargers.
Senior tailback Phil Martin returns for his fourth season as the main ball carrier for the blue and white. Martin rushed for 1,022 yards in 2005, making him the first Hillsdale rusher to crack the 1,000-yard barrier in a season since Kevin Clive did it in 2002. Martin has a solid combination of toughness and speed and excelled at breaking a team’s back with long runs at the end of games last season. He enters his final campaign ranked third on Hillsdale’s all-time rushing list and is well within range of taking over the No. 2 spot early this season.