Franklin Tabbed by Coaches for Third-Straight HCAC Football Championship

GREENWOOD, IN - Franklin College claimed their second consecutive Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football title last fall, posting a 7-0 conference mark.   The Grizzlies have been selected as the favorite to win a third-straight league crown in 2009, according to a poll of the HCAC's eight head coaches.

2009 HCAC Preseason Poll

 

Team

Points

1.

Franklin

61.5 (5.5)

2.

Mount St. Joseph

50 (1)

3.

Rose-Hulman

47.5 (1.5)

4.

Anderson

39

5.

Manchester

30

6.

Defiance

28

7.

Hanover

19

8. Bluffton 13

Franklin, 11-2 overall in 2008, held off Mount St. Joseph in the preseason poll, receiving 61.5 points and 5.5 first place votes. 

Mount St. Joseph placed second in the voting with 50 points and one first place vote, while Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology finished third with 47.5 points and the final 1.5 first place votes.  Anderson University (39), Manchester College (30), Defiance College (28), Hanover College (19), and Bluffton University (13) round out the poll. 

The Grizzlies will be looking for their third consecutive conference crown under the direction of three-time Coach of the Year Mike Leonard.  Leonard will be striving to guide the Grizzlies into the NCAA Division III playoffs for the third time in as many years. 

Franklin will have to fill the void left at the quarterback position this fall after losing 2007 and 2008 HCAC Offensive Player of the Year Chad Rupp to graduation.  Rupp led the highly powered Franklin offense, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 45 touchdowns last fall.  The Evansville native threw all but 11 of Franklin's pass attempts last season, leaving little experience under center for the 2009 squad.  Senior wide receiver Adam Mellencamp (Freetown, Ind./Brownstown Central) returns as the Grizzlies top receiver after catching 25 passes for 437 yards and two touchdowns last fall.  Two All-HCAC First Team members of the offensive line also return for FC.  Senior Seth Qualls (Evansville, Ind./Reitz) and Junior Chad Schenkel (Carmel, Ind./H.S.) will anchor the Grizzlies front line.  The blue and gold offensive attack dominated HCAC defenses last season, averaging a league-best 40.3 points and 467.6 yards of offense per game. 

Franklin also lost the HCAC's Defensive Player of the Year to graduation.  Dan McManus paced the Grizzlies defensive line with 15.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles.  Franklin will turn to a trio of linebackers to lead the Franklin defense which ranked fourth in the HCAC in yards allowed per game (338.9) last fall.  Senior's Teddy Henkle (Seymour, Ind./H.S.) and Joe Rush (Speedway, Ind./H.S.) and junior Nick Cochran (Plainfield, Ind./H.S.) will look to improve on their stats from a season ago.  Cochran led FC with 104 tackles last fall and ranked second on the club with three interceptions.  Rush notched 64 tackles and two sacks, while Henkle marked 23 tackles in only three games played. 

Franklin marched all the way to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals before falling to Wheaton 45-28 last December.  The Grizzlies begin the season on the road against Baldwin-Wallace.

Mount St. Joseph had its worst season in the HCAC since 2001, finishing the conference campaign with a 3-4 record and a 5-5 overall mark.  The Mount will look to climb back to the top of the conference standings this fall behind their top ranked defense.  The Lions led the league last season, allowing only 15.6 points and 298.3 yards per contest.  The Mount returns All-HCAC First Team members Alex Harbin (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) and Erik Prosser (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) to the defensive side of the ball in 2009.  Harbin, a senior defensive end, led the team with four sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss last fall, while Prosser ranked second on the squad with 71 tackles from the linebacker position.   Junior running back Jake Davis (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson) will return to pace the Mount offense.  Davis led MSJ on the ground with 702 yards and 11 touchdowns on 150 carries last fall.  Mount St. Joseph will open the 2009 season at Wilmington (OH). 

Rose-Hulman finished second in the conference last season with a 5-2 conference record, finishing 7-3 overall.  The Engineers ranked second in the HCAC in scoring offense, averaging 28.1 points per game a year ago and return the core of that offensive unit.  Senior quarterback Derek Eitel (Marshall, Ill./H.S.), junior wide receiver Reed Eason (St. Louis, Mo./Parkway North), and senior running back Calvin Bueltel (Huntingburg, Ind./Southridge) all return after being named All-HCAC a year ago.  Eitel threw for 1,564 yards and 12 touchdowns last fall to earn a spot on the All-HCAC Second Team.  Bueltel led the HCAC in rushing yards, tallying 1,096 yards and 12 touchdowns on 206 carries, while Eason led all Engineer receivers with 433 yards and five touchdowns.  Senior defensive back Kyle Stevens (Santa Cruz, Cali./Harbor) and junior linebacker Scott Eaton (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) return to lead the Rose defense.  Stevens and Eaton each tallied 70 tackles and four tackles for loss a season ago.  Rose-Hulman opens the season on the road against Earlham. 

Anderson finished third in the league standings last fall with a 4-3 mark (5-5 overall).  Junior running back Daryll Stott (Union City, Ind./H.S.) returns to lead the Ravens' offensive unit in 2009.  Anderson ranked third in offense as a team in 2008, averaging 27.4 points and 385.5 yards per game.  Stott rushed for 1,038 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, leading the HCAC with a 115.3 rushing yards per game average.  Senior kicker Tristan Cork (Indianapolis, Ind./Heritage Christian) returns after leading the conference with nine field goals made last season, including a school-record 51 yard field goal against Franklin.  Anderson will open the season at rival Taylor.

Manchester finished last season 3-4 in conference play and 5-5 overall.  The Spartans return the core of their offensive and defensive units that ranked second in the HCAC last fall.  Senior quarterback Caleb Grimes (South Haven, Mich./H.S.) returns under center as a dual threat option for the black and gold.  Grimes threw for over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 467 yards and three scores last fall.  Senior running back Brandon Wells (Woodburn, Ind./Woodlan) returns after leading the Spartans with 923 yards and a league-high 13 touchdowns on the ground.  Seniors Mike DePoy (South Bend, Ind./Clay) and Jermiah Jones (East Chicago, Ind./East Chicago Central) return to anchor the defensive which ranked second in scoring defense (22.6 ppg) and total defense (329.8 ypg) last fall.  DePoy led the Spartans with 91 tackles last season, while Jones added 42 tackles, two interceptions, and 10 pass breakups in the secondary.  Manchester will play under the lights on Thursday, September 3 at home against Trine to kick off the season. 

Defiance finished along side Anderson in the conference standings with a 4-3 record.  The Jackets finished the season 4-6 overall after winning their final four contests.  The Yellow Jackets will look to the defense for a successful 2009 season.  DC ranked third in the HCAC in scoring defense last fall, surrendering 24.3 points per game.  The Defiance offense struggled throughout the season, ranking seventh in scoring averaging 16.6 points per contest.  Senior defensive back Travis Guisinger (Lima, Ohio/Elida) returns to the defensive side of the football for the Jackets.  Guisinger recorded 65 tackles and a team-high nine tackles for loss last season.  Defiance will open the schedule at home against Muskingum. 

Hanover posted a 2-5 conference mark and 2-7 overall record last season in coach Joe Austin's first season at the helm.  The Panthers finished seventh in the conference in scoring defense (37.2 ppg) a year ago.  Hanover returns two first-team All-HCAC selections from last season to the defensive side of the ball.  Sophomore defensive back Rory Mannering (Walton, Ind./Lewis Cass) and junior linebacker Michael Spillmann (Franklin, Ind./H.S.) look to improve on last year's stats.  Spillmann led the team with 104 tackles and added 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries.  Mannering ranked second on the team with 93 tackles and added four tackles for loss, three interceptions, and three fumble recoveries.  Hanover will open the 2009 season at home against Centre (KY). 

Bluffton finished 1-9 overall last season with a conference mark of 0-7.  The Beavers return two All-HCAC Second-Team selections from last year's team.  Sophomore specialist Antwane Miller (Canton, Ohio/Timken) and senior kicker Jonathan Thompson (Carmel, Ind./H.S.) each return to help contribute some points offensively.  The Beavers ranked last among HCAC teams in scoring offense (10.3 ppg), scoring defense (37.7 ppg), and total offense (190.8 ypg) last fall.  Bluffton will open the season at home vs. Alma (MI). 

The first weekend of the 2009 season is on September 5 with the conference season slated to begin on October 3.

Players to Watch  

Anderson

Daryll Stott

Junior

Running Back

Union City, Ind./H.S.

 

Shawn Wedmore

Senior

Offensive Line

Summitville, Ind./Madison-Grant

Joe Zimmerman

Junior

Offensive Line

Lebanon, Ind./Western Boone

Ryan Hildenbrand

Junior

Linebacker

Goshen, Ind./Fairfield

 

Luke Hurst

Junior

Defensive Back

Clayton, Ohio/Northmont

 

Leonard Wells

Sophomore

Defensive End

Warsaw, Ind./H.S.

 

Tristan Cork

Senior

Kicker

Indianapolis, Ind./Heritage Christian

 

 

 

 

 

Bluffton

Steve Sealscott

Sophomore

Defensive Back

Van Wert, Ohio/H.S.

 

Antwane Miller

Sophomore

RB/WR/KR

Canton, Ohio/Timken

Brock Miller

Senior

Quarterback

Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills

Brandon Herr

Senior

Defensive Back

Bluffton, Ohio/H.S.

 

Jason Johnson

Sophomore

Running Back

Lansing, Mich./Eastern

 

Mitch Dunlap

Senior

Defensive Back

St. Marys, Ohio/Memorial

 

Jonathan Thompson

Senior

Kicker

Carmel, Ind./H.S.

 

Dan Chipka

Senior

Wide Receiver

Waterville, Ohio/Anthony Wayne

 

 

 

 

 

Defiance

Travis Guisinger

Senior

Defensive Back

Lima, Ohio/Elida

  

Joel Billings

Senior

Defensive Line

Waynesville, Ohio/H.S.

Kent Corthell

Sophomore

Offensive Line

Delta, Ohio/H.S.

Nick Nicol

Senior

Offensive Line

Temperance, Mich./Bedford

 

 

 

 

 

Franklin

Seth Qualls

Senior

Offensive Line

Evansville, Ind./Reitz

  

Teddy Henkle

Senior

Linebacker

Seymour, Ind./H.S.

Nick Cochran

Junior

Linebacker

Plainfield, Ind./H.S.

Chad Schenkel

Junior

Offensive Line

Carmel, Ind./H.S.

 

Machy Magdalinos

Senior

Kicker

Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central

 

Joe Rush

Senior

Linebacker

Speedway, Ind./H.S.

 

Patrick Hillenburg

Senior

Offensive Line

Bloomington, Ind./South

 

Adam Mellencamp

Senior

Wide Receiver

Freetown, Ind./Brownstown Central

 

 

Hanover

Dan Passafiume

Sophomore

Wide Receiver

Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier

  

Rory Mannering

Sophomore

Defensive Back

Walton, Ind./Lewis Cass

Michael Spillmann

Junior

Linebacker

Franklin, Ind./H.S.

Bobby Smart

Senior

Tight End

Coral Springs, Fla./H.S.

 

Corry Stewart

Senior

Defensive End

Nashville, Tenn./Ryan

 

C.J. Croft

Freshman

Quarterback

Ft. Campbell, Ky./H.S.

 

Zach Sieg

Senior

Offensive Line

Anderson, Ind./Highland

 

Joe Vormohr

Senior

Offensive Line

Portland, Ind./Jay Co.

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester

Caleb Grimes

Senior

Quarterback

South Haven, Mich./H.S.

  

Brandon Wells

Senior

Running Back

Woodburn, Ind./Woodlan

Chase Estepp

Junior

Offensive Line

Nappanee, Ind./Northwood

Mike DePoy

Senior

Linebacker

South Bend, Ind./Clay

 

Jermiah Jones

Senior

Defensive Back

East Chicago, Ind./E. Chicago Central

 

Beau Fulk

Senior

Linebacker

Ft. Wayne, Ind./Carroll

 

 

 

The Mount

Alex Harbin

Senior

Defensive End

Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder

  

Jake Davis

Junior

Running Back

Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson

Erik Prosser

Junior

Line Backer

Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills

 

 

 

 

Rose-Hulman

Derek Eitel

Senior

Quarterback

Marshall, Ill./H.S.

 

Reed Eason

Junior

Wide Receiver

St. Louis, Mo./Parkway North

 

Thomas Reives

Graduate

Wide Receiver

Indianapolis, Ind./Arsenal Tech

 

Calvin Bueltel

Senior

Running Back

Huntingburg, Ind./Southridge

 

Scott Eaton

Junior

Linebacker

Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern

 

Matt Behling

Junior

Defensive Line

Columbus, Ind./North

 

Brad D'Agnillo

Sophomore

Defensive Back

Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain

 

Kyle Stevens

Senior

Defensive Back

Santa Cruz, Cali./Harbor