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‘Otter’ named GLIAC Coach of the Year


The first of what figures to be many postseason honors for members of the Hillsdale College football program came out Wednesday afternoon.

Head coach Keith Otterbein was named the 2009 GLIAC Coach of the Year, and six of his players earned First-Team All-GLIAC honors. The awards were announced by the conference office Wednesday afternoon.

Five Chargers were named First-Team All-GLIAC on offense: RB Vinnie Panizzi, WRs A.J. Kegg and Andre Holmes, OL Jared Veldheer and PK Mark Petro. Senior DE Drew Berube was Hillsdale’s only First-Team All-GLIAC selection.

Five players earned Second-Team All-GLIAC honors, led by junior QB Troy Weatherhead, the conference leader in completions and passing yards. Joining Weatherhead on the Second Team are TE Matt Patillo, OL Phil Doerfler, DB Nick Hixson and P/DE Eric Schweller.

The following players were named honorable mention All-Conference: WR Mike Blanchard, H-back Bill Kanitz, DE Kam Mueller, LB Mat Szula, DE Andrew Yarbrough and DT Mark Yassay.

The Chargers finished the regular season 9-2 and tied for second place in the GLIAC. It’s the team’s best record in 17 years, and Hillsdale qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time in its history this season.

Otterbein, who played at Hillsdale, coached Ferris State to playoff appearances in the 1990s, and is in his eighth season as Chargers coach. He won his 100th career game this season, 37-35 over Michigan Tech on Sept. 5. He is one of just two active head football coaches in the GLIAC with more than 100 wins.

Berube finished as the GLIAC leader in sacks and tackles-for-loss. This is his second straight First-Team All-GLIAC recognition.

Veldheer also earned First-Team honors for the second year in a row. He’s been heavily scouted by NFL teams throughout the season, and is projected to be a draft pick in next spring’s draft. He has shut down some of the best defensive linemen in the GLIAC throughout his career, and has blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his four seasons starting for the Chargers.

Kegg and Holmes were the conference’s best wide receiver combination, ranking 1-2 in catches per game, and Holmes was the GLIAC leader in receiving yards. Panizzi was second in the GLIAC in rushing touchdowns (21) and rushing yards (1,308).

His 52 career touchdowns are a new school record, shattering a 54-year-old mark. He set his record with five TD runs in the season finale vs. Tiffin.

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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