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A Special Senior Day

David Graham scores one of his two touchdowns in the Chargers' 45-7 win over Malone. Photo by Carly Gouge
David Graham scores one of his two touchdowns in the Chargers' 45-7 win over Malone. Photo by Carly Gouge

Box Score

Way back in February 2013, Jake Bull signed his national letter of intent to play football for Hillsdale College as a tight end.

Nearly five years later, on the final home game of his stellar career, he caught his first pass and scored his first touchdown.

Bull's score was the icing on the very tasty cake that came in the form of a 45-7 win over Malone University on a gray and rainy day at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium Saturday afternoon. The win clinches a winning season for the Chargers, who improved to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

Junior quarterback Chance Stewart threw a pass back to Bull with 4:20 left in the third quarter to put Hillsdale on top 38-0. The play, well-designed and well-executed, was made possible in part by the upfield blocking of senior offensive lineman Danny Drummond. Bull and Drummond have formed an inseparable bond, both having started on the offensive line for all four of their seasons with the Chargers. After his true freshman season of 2013, Bull was moved from tight end to the offensive line, where he has been the starter at left tackle for the past four years. Offensive linemen are used to doing the dirty work, making the hidden plays so others can score touchdowns.

Saturday, it was Bull's turn.

Hillsdale thoroughly dominated this game from a statistical standpoint, outgaining the Pioneers 566-164 while generating 29 first downs to 7 for Malone. The Pioneers' only score came with 3:02 left in the game, against the deepest parts of Hillsdale's backup defenders.

The Chargers played a smart, responsible game on offense, holding the ball for nine more minutes than Malone, and converting 5-of-12 third-down conversions and 2-of-3 fourth-down conversions in the game.

Hillsdale held a 10-0 lead after the first quarter, then put three touchdowns on the board in the second quarter to gain a comfortable lead. Sophomore tailback David Graham enjoyed the most productive game of his career, carrying the ball 19 times for a career-high 130 yards and two touchdowns. Graham averaged 6.8 yards per carry and his offensive line did an outstanding job of blocking to the second level throughout its time on the field.

Sophomore tailback Christian Shepler also scored two touchdowns, the second a 42-yard sprint up through the middle of the defense. He finished with a career-high 82 rushing yards on just six carries.

Stewart completed 17-of-25 passes for 225 yards. He had two touchdown passes to Trey Brock wiped off the board - one due to offsetting penalties, and the other on a play where the official ruled him out of bounds in the end zone.

Still, Brock caught 5 passes for 104 yards in the win. Graham had 2 catches for 52 yards and senior Timmy Mills hauled in 4 passes for 37 yards.

Senior safety Spencer Nehls celebrated his final home game with a first-quarter interception. Dan Shanley led all Chargers with 8 total tackles while sophomore Nate Jones had 6. Charlie Yost and Elliot Laisure each recorded sacks and the defense accounted for 5 tackles-for-loss in the victory.