The second trip to Ohio was the charm for the Hillsdale College football team.
Making its second trip south in as many weeks, the Chargers capitalized on many opportunities, especially early in the game, and defeated Malone University 41-16 at Canton's Hall of Fame Stadium Saturday afternoon. Hillsdale improves to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the GLIAC with the victory. The Chargers will return home next week to face the University of Indianapolis for its homecoming game, with a 2:30 kickoff scheduled.
After its first 0-2 start in eight seasons, Hillsdale came out in wet conditions at Fawcett Stadium and pounced on the mistake-prone Pioneers early and often. Hillsdale's defense forced turnovers on the first two possessions of the game, coming on a fumble recovery by Tyler Jenks and an interception by Steve Harding, to gain deep field position right away.
The Chargers scored 10 points off those turnovers, taking a 10-0 lead less than six minutes into the game. On Malone's next drive, a punt snap went over the punter's head, and Todd Frickey recovered the bad snap on the two yard line. One play later, ben Jones plowed his way into the end zone, giving the Chargers a commanding 17-0 lead still early in the game.
Hillsdale took full control from there, using a trio of running backs to burn time off the clock, and keep the unpredictable Pioneer offense on the sidelines. The Chargers ran 12 more plays and held the ball for five more minutes compared to Malone for the game. The final score was tightened up as a result of two Malone touchdowns in the fourth quarter, well after the game had been decided.
Frickey made another huge play to open the second half. He returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, extending Hillsdale's halftime lead from 27-2 to 34-3 lead just seconds into the third quarter. Frickey's kickoff return for touchdown was the first for Hillsdale since Chad Gurica did it at Mercyhurst on Oct. 29, 2005.
Sophomore Wade Wood enjoyed his most productive game of his career, catching one pass for 23 yards, while gaining 68 yards on 17 attempts for a touchdown. Junior Alex Koski nearly mirrored Wood's production, carrying the ball 13 times for 58 yards and a touchdown. Senior Isaac Spence added a touchdown run, picking up 26 yards on nine carries.
Senior quarterback Sam Landry completed 16 of 28 for 180 yards in the game. He went his third straight game without throwing an interception. Brett Miller hauled in three passes for 34 yards, and tight end Mike Carter also had three catches for 31 yards.
Senior linebacker Brett Pasche was all over the field for the Chargers, leading the team with 16 total tackles and one sack. Redshirt-freshman defensive line Zach Swaffer also had a big ballgame, generating five tackles and a sack. Junior Tim Moinet added eight tackles for the Chargers.
Photo by Genna Hilgenbrink