For the first time in eight years, the Hillsdale College football team has made the playoffs.
The Chargers, 9-2 this season, qualified as the No. 5 seed in Super Region 1, and will take on No. 4 seed Kutztown University at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. This will be the first-ever meeting between these programs.
The 2018 postseason is the third all-time NCAA Division II playoff appearance for the Chargers, who previously qualified in 2009 and 2010. Hillsdale is 1-2 all-time in the NCAA Division II playoffs, defeating Minnesota State-Mankato in 2009, and losing to Grand Valley State (2009) and St. Cloud State (2010).
Notre Dame College received the No. 1 seed in Super Region 1 and gets a first-round bye. The 11-0 Falcons will host the winner of the Hillsdale-Kutztown game in a regional semifinal Saturday, Nov. 24 in South Euclid, Ohio.
The other Super Region 1 matchups are: No. 7 Slippery Rock at No. 2 LIU-Post, and No. 6 New Haven at No. 3 West Chester. Hillsdale is the lone representative of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference in this year's NCAA playoffs.
The Chargers captured the G-MAC regular season championship, going 8-0 in conference play. Over the past few weeks, the team moved from No. 7 to No. 5 in the regional rankings. As the final rankings were revealed Sunday night, the team's loss to 9-1 Indianapolis did not affect where it stood in the regional rankings.
This is the first time Hillsdale will compete in Super Region 1. As a member of the GLIAC, the Chargers had been in the mix in Super Region 3. However, the move to the G-MAC meant the Chargers also changed which region they compete in for football playoff positioning. Super Region 3 extends east to include programs in states such as Ohio, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The four conferences making up Super Region 1 are the G-MAC, the Northeast-10, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the Mountain East Conference.
Kutztown finished in second place in the PSAC East with a 5-1 conference record. The only loss the Golden Bears suffered in the regular season came against West Chester, the PSAC East champions.