The Detroit News paid a visit to Hillsdale practice on Tuesday and posted today a 13 shot photo gallery and the following story:
After years of lows, Hillsdale looks championship caliber
David Goricki / The Detroit News
Hillsdale – The sun was going down and a chill was in the air late Tuesday afternoon at Muddy Waters Stadium when Andre Holmes hauled in a long pass from Troy Weatherhead and accelerated away from the defenders for a touchdown near the end of Hillsdale College’s practice.
Weatherhead and Holmes have grown from their days as redshirt freshmen on the scout team to All-American players.
They are just two of a large number of fifth-year seniors for the Chargers who are ranked No. 6 in Division II and legitimate contenders for the national title.
Hillsdale defeated Grand Valley State during the regular season last year, finishing 10-3 and making its first NCAA playoff appearance with a win over Minnesota State-Mankato before a loss to Grand Valley.
This season, Hillsdale is 6-1 entering Saturday’s game at Wayne State. The Chargers’ ranking is the highest since joining Division II in 1990. Their lone loss came at Grand Valley during the second week of the season when the Lakers scored a TD with 16 seconds left for the difference in a 44-41 victory.
“This team has high expectations,” said Weatherhead, in his third-year as the starting quarterback. “The sky’s the limit. It would be huge to host a playoff game (which would be first since 1986). The alumni is real close to this group of players and it would mean a lot to them, our coaches, players and the whole community.”
Would Weatherhead like a rematch with Grand Valley?
“Absolutely,” Weatherhead said. “We feel that one really slipped away from us. Last year in the regular season we got them and then they got us back in the playoffs. We’d like to get a little revenge like they got on us. But, right now we’re thinking one game at a time, one play at a time and that’s why we’ve been successful so far.”
The Chargers had seven straight losing seasons before All-American quarterback Mark Nicolet led them to an eight-win season during his final year in 2007.