Don't blame the Hope College Flying Dutchmen if
they choose not to consider their upcoming football season opener
as just that, their first game of the year.
On Saturday (Sept. 11) the Flying Dutchmen host the Vikings
of Augustana College from Rock Island, Ill. for the 34th annual
Hope/Holland Community Day game at Holland Municipal Stadium.
Kickoff will be 1:30 p.m.
Season openers have been less than friendly to the Flying
Dutchmen in recent years. Dean Kreps begins his fifth season as
head coach pursuing his first opening-game victory. In fact, the
Flying Dutchmen have not won their season opener since 1993 and
have not been victorious in their home opener since 1990.
For that matter, no one can accuse Hope of scheduling a
"patsies" in their season opener. In fact, over 89 years of Hope
stands 39-48-2 in the opening game.
The Flying Dutchmen would probably prefer to consider their
upcoming contest as the second "game" of the season in light of
Hope's impressive 49-7 triumph over the Autonomous University of
Queretaro, Mexico last Saturday (Sept. 4). However, it was just
an exhibition game and won't go into the record books as anything
more than that.
Augustana presents no small challenge in Hope's attempt to
end the season-opening losing skid. It will be the renewal of a
rivalry that started more than 30 years ago and still has - more -
Hope seeking its first-ever win over the Vikings. Augustana
posted back-to-back shutout victories over the Dutchmen in 1966
(6-0) and 1967 (10-0). In a 1986 NCAA playoff game Augustana
prevailed 34-10 enroute to winning the national championship.
Last fall in Rock Island, Ill. Augustana won 20-6.
Fans might get confused from a first glance at the sidelines
on Saturday. Former Hope defensive coordinator Mike Ricketts is
now the offensive coordinator at Augustana. He is back at his
alma mater where he was n NCAA Division III All-American
Both teams have players considered among the best in NCAA
Division III football. Don Hansen's Football Gazette pegged Hope
tight end Brian Adloff (East Grand Rapids HS) and Augustana
fullback Ben Nelson among the top players in the North Region.
USA Football listed Hope offensive tackle Tony Petkus (Jenison
HS) and Augustana quarterback Joe Schmulbach as "players to
The Flying Dutchmen are coming off a 5-4 record in 1998
while Augustana was 7-2. Hope will be seeking to snap as two-
game losing streak while Augustana will be trying to win their
The Flying Dutchmen will be back in action at Holland
Municipal Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 18 hosting the Tigers of
DePauw University. Kickoff will be 1 p.m.