In the second quarter of Saturday’s GLIAC football game, Hillsdale College appeared on its way to a third straight win, building a two touchdown lead. But the University of Findlay did not cooperate.
The Oilers outscored the Chargers 42-3 over the final 50 minutes of the game in an eventual 42-17 win for the Oilers over the Chargers. Hillsdale is now 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the GLIAC, and will host top-ranked and undefeated Grand Valley State University for homecoming next week.
Carrying over the momentum from last week’s win over Ashland, Hillsdale opened the game with two straight touchdowns en route to building a 14-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. Senior RB Vinnie Panizzi capped a 10-play, 64-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown blast to put Hillsdale on top 7-0. It was his seventh rushing touchdown in the past three games. The drive started on a fumble recovery by senior Andrew Yarbrough, who recovered a fumble forced by senior Joe Stempien.
A bizarre drive by the Chargers was finished on a touchdown pass from QB Troy Weatherhead to TE Matt Patillo, to give Hillsdale a 14-0 lead. The drive appeared halted when Hillsdale was forced to punt, but a roughing-the-kicker penalty kept the drive alive. Junior WR Andre Holmes made a circus catch on the drive that ended up leading to a touchdown.
The Findlay offense quickly struck back with back-to-back touchdown drives to tie the game shortly before halftime. Weatherhead drove the team back down the field, and senior Mark Petro kicked a field goal at the first-half buzzer to give the Chargers a 17-14 halftime lead.
However, that would conclude the scoring for Hillsdale on the day, as the Oilers exploded for 28 unanswered points in the second half. Findlay outgained Hillsdale 309-167 in total yards, and the Oilers put together three straight touchdown drives to break the game open.
This result ended a three-game winning streak Hillsdale had over Findlay, dating back to the 2006 season. The 42 points allowed by the Chargers are the most in a game since a 44-41 loss at Ferris State on Sept. 22, 2007. Hillsdale came into the game ranked 24th in the nation in the latest Division II Top 25 polls, by both the AFCA and D2football.com.
Panizzi had another 100-yard rushing game, carrying the ball 26 times for 102 yards and one touchdown. He also caught two passes for seven yards.
Weatherhead set a new career-high in pass attempts, going 22-for-49 for 258 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions. Junior Andre Holmes led the Chargers with seven receptions for 95 yards. Patillo had a season-high six catches for 79 yards and a score, while junior Mike Blanchard had five catches for 50 yards.
Defensively, the Chargers were led by 10 total tackles apiece from Mat Szula, Nick Hixson and Nick Galvan. Tyler Sandner had two pass breakups, while Joe Stempien added seven tackles. Findlay’s offensive line held the Chargers to zero tackles-for-loss as a team in the game.
Click on the link below for the stats from Saturday’s game.