Sometimes, the great stories write themselves.
After battling through injuries in the season's first three weeks, senior wide receiver Trey Brock broke loose and set history as part of Hillsdale's 41-7 homecoming win over Lake Erie College Saturday at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium. The Chargers are now 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
Brock played just one series in the home opener back on Sept. 1 before suffering an injury. He then missed the team's loss at Michigan Tech Sept. 8. But on this homecoming Saturday, he returned to the form that has made him unbelievably fun for Charger fans to watch over the past four years.
He caught 6 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown, and in the process, became Hillsdale College's all-time leader in career receiving yards, breaking the record held by Andre Holmes, now with the Buffalo Bills in the NFL. In his career, Brock now has 191 catches for 3,169 yards, establishing him as the new standard-bearer among the many great wide receivers at Hillsdale College. Brock earned that record with big-play ability, superior body control and athleticism, and all those skills were on display in this victory.
On Hillsdale's first play from scrimmage, QB Chance Stewart threw a 38-yard rainbow to Brock, the perfect "welcome back" play for the team's top playmaker.
Brock's second catch of the day was a 13 yarder, breaking the record by exactly one yard. But of course, Brock wasn't done. He was later on the receiving end of a 48-yard bomb from Stewart that helped set up Hillsdale's second touchdown of the day.
Lake Erie ran a quick and efficient offense in the first half, and kept the game close throughout. The Storm were driving to potentially tie the game late in the first half when the ball-hawking Charger defense once again came up with a big play in the red zone. The Storm were set up at the Hillsdale 20-yard line when Drake Temple intercepted a pass and returned it 70 yards, immediately flipping both field position and momentum in the game. Joe Philipp booted a 22-yard field goal on the final play of the half to give the Chargers a 17-7 lead. The two-score edge was crucial, given how close the Storm were to tying the game entering intermission.
Philipp kicked a 34-yard field goal on the team's first drive of the third quarter to extend out to a 20-7 lead. But the last three scores by Hillsdale were all touchdowns, as the team grinded out one quality drive after another, and the defense clamped down on the Storm on critical downs throughout the second half.
Stewart made it a 27-7 game when he ran through traffic for a 9-yard scamper with 58 seconds left in the third quarter.
Brock provided the perfect cherry-on-top moment in this game when he caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Stewart with 6:20 left in the game to increase the lead to 34-7. Brock's final catch on this history-making day could only have been for a touchdown.
Sophomore quarterback Ty Cox took his first snap from center in a home game this year and made it count, scoring on a 10-yard run after a muffed punt attempt by the Storm for the final score of the game.
The Charger defense held Lake Erie to 0-for-3 on fourth-down attempts, while holding the Storm to 231 yards of total offense, a season-low allowed by the Chargers.
Defensive lineman Schuyler Snell was active and disruptive, recording two sacks to help lead the defensive effort. Senior linebacker Jay Rose made his final homecoming game count with a hard-hitting game of 11 tackles and two tackles-for-loss. Rose also made a big play with the football, converting a fake punt attempt for the Chargers.
Dan Shanley and Jason McDonough each recorded five total tackles, while Merrick Canada, Alex Anschutz and Drake Temple each had four. As a team, the Hillsdale defense made 10 tackles for loss, spread among 11 different players.
Stewart completed 17 of 25 passes for 239 yards while getting great balance from his running attack. Both Christian Shepler and David Graham rushed for 52 yards, with Graham finding the end zone twice. Shepler had a 42-yard run early in the game, a career-long run.
This was Hillsdale's fourth consecutive homecoming win, and third in a row by at least 34 points.
Photo: MaryKate Drews