Mount Tabbed by Coaches to Repeat as HCAC Football Champions

2010 HCAC Composite Schedule (Click Here)

GREENWOOD, IN – The College of Mount St. Joseph claimed their fourth Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football title last fall, boasting a 7-0 conference mark.   The Lions have been selected as the favorite to win a second-straight league crown in 2010, according to a poll of the HCAC’s nine head coaches.

Mount St. Joseph, 9-2 overall in 2009, held off Franklin in the preseason poll, receiving 80 points and eight first place votes.

Franklin College placed second in the voting with 71 points and one first place vote, while Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology finished third with 56 points.  Hanover College (48), Manchester College (48), Defiance College (34), Anderson University (27), first-year member Earlham College (23), and Bluffton University (18) round out the poll.

The Mount will be looking for their second consecutive conference crown under the direction of three-time Coach of the Year Rod Huber.  Huber will be striving to guide the Lions into the NCAA Division III playoffs for the second straight season.

Mount St. Joseph returns two of the top running backs in the HCAC from a year ago to pace the Lions offense.  The running tandem of seniors Jake Davis (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson) and Noah Joseph (Roswell, Ga./Blessed Trinity) return looking to pick up where they left off last fall.  Davis led the HCAC in rushing with 891 yards and 12 touchdowns on 190 carries to pace the Lions offense.  Joseph finished fourth in the conference with 689 yards on the ground last fall and added seven touchdowns.  Junior Joe Noble (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) returns to anchor the Lions’ front line after losing Anthony Walsh to graduation.  The Mount offensive attack was one of the most feared in the HCAC last season, averaging 32.1 points and 408.6 yards of offense per game.

Mount senior linebacker Erik Prosser (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) returns after being named HCAC Defensive Player of the Year a year ago.  Prosser led the Lions defense with 106 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and two fumble recoveries.  MSJ also returns a pair of All-HCAC defensive lineman to solidify the Mount defense which ranked fourth in the HCAC in yards allowed per game (349.2) last fall.  Senior Robert Fox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) and junior Brett Hambrick (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) will look to improve on their stats from a season ago.  Hambrick led the Lions with 13.0 tackles for loss and a HCAC-best 10 sacks, while Fox added 4.0 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Mount St. Joseph fell in the opening round of the NCAA Division III playoffs 42-14 at Wittenberg last November.  MSJ will begin the 2010 season at home against Wilmington (OH) on September 4.

Franklin saw its two year run as conference champs come to an end last fall, finishing the conference campaign with a 5-2 record and a 7-3 overall mark.  The Grizzlies will look to climb back to the top of the conference standings this fall despite losing three First-Team All-HCAC members.  The blue and gold will turn to a pair of returning quarterbacks from last fall that guided the Grizzlies to the league’s top passing attack (302.8 ypg).  Seniors Kyle Ray (Trafalgar, Ind./Indian Creek) and Nick Purichia (Indianapolis, Ind./Cardinal Ritter) split time under center last season.  Ray finished fourth in the HCAC averaging 174.6 yards per game and added 13 touchdowns, while Purichia tossed 11 touchdowns and 1,363 yards through the air.  Senior offensive lineman Chad Schenkel (Carmel, Ind./H.S.) returns to anchor the offensive line after an All-HCAC season a year ago.  The blue and gold defense will be led by senior linebacker Nick Cochran (Plainfield, Ind./H.S.) who led the team with 80 tackles from the linebacker position in 2009.  Franklin will open the season at Carthage on September 4.

Rose-Hulman finished fourth in the conference last season with a 4-3 conference record, finishing 6-4 overall.  The Engineers led the HCAC in scoring offense and total offense, averaging 36.5 points and 428.2 yards per game a year ago.  RHIT will have a void to fill at the quarterback position after losing HCAC Offensive Player of the Year Derek Eitel to graduation.  The Engineers return Freshman of the Year Kyle Kovach (Munster, Ind./Andrean) at the running back position and Reed Eason (St. Louis, Mo./Parkway North) at wide receiver.  Kovach finished his freshman season ranked second in the HCAC with 736 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground for the Engineers.  Eason averaged 87.7 receiving yards per game for Rose and hauled in nine touchdowns, ranking third in the conference.  Senior linebacker Scott Eaton (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) is the lone First-Team All-HCAC defensive member returning for RHIT this fall.  The Engineers finished the season ranked second in total defense, allowing 306.2 yards per contest.  Eaton anchored that defensive unit, tallying 112 tackles (2nd HCAC), 10.0 tackles for loss, and four sacks.  Rose-Hulman opens the season on the road against DePauw September 11.

Hanover finished fifth in the league standings last fall with a 3-4 mark (3-7 overall).  The Panthers offense ranked fourth in the HCAC during the 2009 campaign averaging 346.5 yards of offense per game.  Sophomore quarterback C.J. Croft (Ft. Campbell, Ky./H.S.) finished his freshman season second in the conference, averaging 240.3 yards per game through the air.  Croft led the HCAC with 27 touchdown passes and also added 577 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.  Junior Dan Passafiume (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier) led the nation with 11.4 receptions per game last fall and added a conference-best 105.4 receiving yards per game and 14 touchdowns to his accolades.  HC will look to improve on the defensive side of the ball after finishing sixth in the HCAC in total defense last season (395.6 ypg).  Junior defensive back Rory Mannering (Walton, Ind./Lewis Cass) returns after leading the team with 95 tackles in 2009, also adding 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and three interceptions.  Hanover will open the season at Centre September 4.

Manchester finished second in the standings last fall, finishing 5-2 in league action and 5-5 overall.  The Spartans will have plenty of holes to fill after graduating five First-Team All-HCAC and three Second-Team All-HCAC members from last year’s squad.  Senior offensive lineman Chase Estepp (Nappanee, Ind./Northwood) is the lone returning First-Team All-HCAC member this fall and will look to anchor the Spartans’ front line.  The Manchester defense led the conference a year ago, allowing only 78.8 yards per game on the ground and 300.8 yards per game.  Junior defensive back Brecken Kennedy (N. Manchester, Ind./Manchester) returns to lead the Spartans defense, after tallying a team-high 75 tackles with 3.0 tackles for loss and three interceptions.  Manchester will play under the lights on Thursday, September 2 against nationally ranked Trine to kick off the season.

Defiance finished alongside Hanover in the conference standings with a 3-4 record.  The Jackets finished the season 4-6 overall for the second consecutive season.  The Yellow Jackets will look to the defense for success in 2010.  DC led the HCAC in scoring defense last fall, surrendering 22.1 points per game while ranking third in total defense (331.3 ypg).  The Jackets offense struggled throughout the season, ranking sixth in scoring (19.7 ppg), last in pass offense (133.8 ypg), and seventh in total offense (271.2 ypg).  Senior defensive lineman Austin Hedderly (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman), senior defensive back Kyle Longsdorf (London, Ohio/H.S.), and sophomore defensive back Tony Sierra (Warren, Mich./Cousino) return to anchor the defense this fall.  Longsdorf was all over the field in 2009, leading the HCAC in tackles (116) while adding 11.0 tackles for loss, three sacks, and two interceptions.  Defiance will open the schedule at Muskingum on September 4.

Anderson finished 1-9 overall last season with a conference mark of 1-6.  The Ravens finished the season ranked seventh among the HCAC schools in scoring offense (17.9 ppg) and last in scoring defense (37.6 ppg).  Junior defensive end Leonard Wells (Warsaw, Ind./H.S.) returns after an All-HCAC season a year ago.  Wells led the Ravens and ranked among the conference leaders with 10 sacks last fall and added 9.5 tackles for loss and 65 tackles during the season.  Anderson will open the 2010 season at home against rival Taylor on September 2.

Earlham College begins competition as a member of the HCAC this fall.  The Quakers finished 3-4 in the North Coast Athletic Conference and 5-5 overall last fall.  EC graduated all six players that received All-NCAC honors last season and will look to fill the gaps as they prepare to face new competition.  Senior defensive back Ben Randall (Milford, Ohio/H.S.) returns to lead the Quaker defense.  Randall posted 68 tackles and an interception for EC last fall.  Earlham faces Sewanee in Richmond on September 4 to open the season.

Bluffton finished 0-10 overall last season with a conference mark of 0-7.  The Beavers return one First-Team All-HCAC selection from last year’s squad.  Junior specialist Todd Trotter (Cincinnati, Ohio/Aiken University) returns to help a Bluffton offense that ranked last in scoring (12.3 ppg) and yards per game (232.4) last fall.  Trotter racked up 909 yards and two touchdown returning kickoffs during the 2009 season, averaging 22.2 yards per return.  The Beavers ranked seventh among HCAC teams in scoring defense (37.0 ppg) and last in total defense (407.2 ypg) last fall.  Bluffton will travel to Kalamazoo on opening weekend.

The first weekend of the 2010 season is on September 4 with the conference season slated to begin on September 18.

Players to Watch

 

Anderson

Nick Sharp

Junior

Quarterback

Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central

 
 

Mitch Grider

Senior

Quarterback

Brookville, Ind./Franklin Co.

 

Nic Jackson

Sophomore

Wide Receiver

Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove

 

Keith Thomas

Sophomore

Wide Receiver

Merrillville, Ind./H.S.

 
 

Joe Zimmerman

Senior

Center

Lebanon, Ind./Western Boone

 
 

Leonard Wells

Junior

Defensive End

Warsaw, Ind./H.S.

 
 

Jathon Wilsey

Junior

Defensive End

Fishers, Ind./Heritage Christian

 
 

Kaleb Donahue

Junior

Linebacker

Carmel, Ind./Heritage Christian

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bluffton

Todd Trotter

Junior

WR/Returner

Cincinnati, Ohio/Aiken University

 
 

Jason Johnson

Junior

Running Back

Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood

 

Steve Sealscott

Junior

Free Safety

Van Wert, Ohio/H.S.

 

Russell Krouse

Junior

Offensive Line

Huntsville, Ohio/Indian Lake

 
 

Aaron Wladischkin

Senior

Tight End

Sterling Heights, Mich./H.S.

 
 

Shane Hubbard

Senior

Linebacker

Johnstown, Ohio/Big Walnut

 
 

Justin Crosier

Junior

Defensive Line

Columbus, Ohio/Hamilton Township

 
 

Stephen Miller

Senior

Defensive Line

Logan, Ohio/H.S.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Defiance

Kyle Longsdorf

Senior

Defensive Back

London, Ohio/H.S.

 
 

Brian Baumgart

Senior

Offensive Line

Canton, Mich./Salem

 

Kent Corthell

Junior

Offensive Line

Delta, Ohio/H.S.

 

Austin Hedderly

Senior

Defensive Line

Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman

 
 

Rick Powell

Junior

Quarterback

Rochester, Mich./Cousino

 
 

Tony Sierra

Sophomore

Defensive Back

Warren, Mich./Cousino

 
 

Nick Wiedenhoft

Junior

Wide Receiver

Marblehead, Ohio/Danbury

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Earlham

Mike Liby

Senior

Offensive Line

Muncie, Ind./South

 
 

Kyle Ripperger

Senior

Wide Receiver

Richmond, Ind./H.S.

 

Bryant Foreman

Senior

Wide Receiver

Mechanicsburg, Ohio/Northeastern

 

John Metcalf

Senior

Linebacker

Galveston, Ind./Lewis Cass

 

Chad Wertman

Senior

Defensive Line

Holland, Ind./Southridge

 

Ben Randall

Senior

Defensive Back

Milford, Ohio/H.S.

 

Dan Kelich

Senior

Defensive Back

Elwood, Ind./H.S.

 

Austin Manahan

Senior

Defensive Back

Orlando, Fla./University

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Franklin

Nick Cochran

Senior

Linebacker

Plainfield, Ind./H.S.

 
 

Teddy Henkle

Senior

Linebacker

Seymour, Ind./H.S.

 

Ryan Momberger

Senior

Wide Receiver

Frankfort, Ind./H.S.

 

Nick Purichia

Senior

Quarterback

Indianapolis, Ind./Cardinal Ritter

 
 

Kyle Ray

Senior

Quarterback

Trafalgar, Ind./Indian Creek

 
 

Chad Schenkel

Senior

Offensive Line

Carmel, Ind./H.S.

 
 

Michael Spillmann

Senior

Linebacker

Franklin, Ind./H.S.

 
 

Adam Wheat

Senior

Linebacker

Lawrenceburg, Ind./South Dearborn

 
 
 

Hanover

Dan Passafiume

Junior

Wide Receiver

Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier

 
 

C.J. Croft

Sophomore

Quarterback

Fort Campbell, Ky./H.S.

 

Rory Mannering

Junior

Defensive Back

Walton, Ind./Lewis Cass

 

Andy Dalton

Sophomore

Linebacker

Guilford, Ind./East Central

 
 

Matt Money

Junior

Offensive Line

Oakwood, Ohio/H.S.

 
 

Bruce Whitehead

Senior

Offensive Line

Petersburg, Ind./Pike Central

 
 

Colton Zeck

Sophomore

Running Back

Galveston, Ind./Lewis Cass

 
 

Cameron Rode

Senior

Defensive Line

Plantation, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Manchester

Andre Lee

Senior

Linebacker

Lawrence, Ind./Lawrence Central

 
 

Chase Estepp

Senior

Offensive Line

Nappanee, Ind./Northwood

 

Adam Schell

Senior

Running Back

Lakeville, Ind./LaVille

 

Zach Washington

Senior

Defensive Line

Kokomo, Ind./Taylor

 
 

Micah Seidner

Sophomore

Defensive Line

Montpelier, Ind./Blackford

 
 

Ryan McKee

Junior

Linebacker

Elkhart, Ind./Concord

 
 

Brecken Kennedy

Junior

Defensive Back

N. Manchester, Ind./Manchester

 
 

David House

Sophomore

Offensive Line

Elkhart, Ind./Concord

 
 
 
 
 

The Mount

Joe Noble

Junior

Offensive Line

Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain

 
 

Jake Davis

Senior

Running Back

Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson

 

Noah Joseph

Senior

Running Back

Roswell, Ga./Blessed Trinity

 

Derick Tabar

Senior

Wide Receiver

Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain

 
 

Erik Prosser

Senior

Linebacker

Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills

 
 

Robert Fox

Senior

Defensive Line

Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain

 
 

Cory Ehrnschwender

Senior

Linebacker

Cincinnati, Ohio/Northwest

 
 

Brett Hambrick

Junior

Defensive Line

Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rose-Hulman

Reed Eason

Senior

Wide Receiver

St. Louis, Mo./Parkway North

 
 

Ben Hopf

Senior

Tight End

Huntingburg, Ind./Jasper

 
 

Calvin Bueltel

Senior

Running Back

Huntingburg, Ind./Southridge

 
 

Kyle Kovach

Sophomore

Running Back

Munster, Ind./Andrean

 
 

Robby Alumbaugh

Senior

Defensive Back

Mooresville, Ind./H.S.

 
 

Scott Eaton

Senior

Linebacker

Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern

 
 

Matt Behling

Senior

Defensive Line

Columbus, Ind./North

 
 

Pat Duncan

Senior

Defensive Line

Terre Haute, Ind./South