The final memory of the 21 seniors on the Hillsdale College football team will go down as one they will cherish.
The Chargers concluded the 2013 season with a 24-7 win over Northwood University on a gray Saturday afternoon at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium. Hillsdale finishes with a 5-6 record on the season, and 5-4 in the GLIAC. The Timberwolves conclude the season with an overall mark of 2-9.
The Chargers have now won 10 out of the 12 regular-season finales coached by Keith Otterbein including six in a row.
Hillsdale dominated most statistical categories, none more than time of possession. The Chargers held the ball for 43:53 out of 60 minutes of the game. The Chargers took the ball into Northwood's red zone seven times, and they held the ball for more than 10 minutes in three of the four quarters of the game.
The Chargers opened the scoring with a sharp 23-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Sam Landry to junior wide receiver Evan Sassack on the game's opening drive to give Hillsdale a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
Although Hillsdale's offense missed out on scoring in four of of its seven trips into the red zone, the defense more than made up for it by shutting down the Timberwolves' offense for most of the game. Northwood's lone scoring drive took up 19 yards, which came on the back of an 80-yard interception return.
For the game, Northwood ran 51 plays for 181 yards of total offense, compared to Hillsdale's 94 plays for 475 total yards. Hillsdale allowed Northwood just eight first downs in the game, while the Chargers generated seven first downs via penalty. Northwood was flagged for 10 penalties, totaling 105 yards in the game.
Senior linebacker Devin Moynihan had an interception and led the team with nine total tackles in the win for Hillsdale. His two longtime running mates at linebacker, Brett Pasche and Steven Embry, combined for eight more stops between them.
Defensive lineman Zach Swaffer had a huge game for the Chargers with a team season-high three sacks among his four solo tackles.
A highlight of the game came in the fourth quarter when backup quarterback Gabe Starkey completed two passes. A fourth-year junior who played his final game of his career, Starkey has long been admired by his teammates for his strong work ethic while rarely seeing game action. He barely missed a touchdown pass in a reverse play in the first half, but came in for the team's last drive, with one of his completions going to senior wide receiver Scott Lantis.
Redshirt-freshman tailback Jack Wiseman rumbled into the end zone with 2:28 to go in the second quarter to put the Chargers on top 14-0. Wiseman was one of several running backs to carry the load in the game for Hillsdale. Five players had 10 or more carries in the game out of the backfield, led by Wade Wood's 70 yards on 14 attempts.
In his final game of his career, senior Isaac Spence hauled the rock 15 times for 60 yards and a touchdown. His fourth-quarter touchdown came on the heels of an interception by senior Matt Payne on the final play of the third quarter.
As a team, Hillsdale outgained Northwood by 205 yards in the game on the ground (236-31).