The season-opening Hope College football game on Saturday, Sept. 9 will be a literal feast for fans.
The college will celebrate its 35th annual Hope-Holland Community Day with a variety of home athletic events featuring both soccer teams and the season-opening game of the football squad.
Fans will gather for an on-campus picnic in the late afternoon (4-6 p.m.), followed at 6:30 p.m. by the Hope versus Valparaiso, Ind. football game at Holland Municipal Stadium. A post-game fireworks show will conclude the evening.
An adult ticket for the picnic, admission to the game and the fireworks show remains one of the best buys in college football game -- $5.50 for adults and $3.50 for kids (5-11). In addition, the took provides free admission all day Saturday to the city's historic Windmill Island.
This will mark the 91st season of Hope football. The Flying Dutchmen have posted a record of 352-282-38 (.568) over years with winning records in 60 of 30 seasons.
The game marks the 22nd year at Holland Municipal Stadium where the Dutchmen have a 57-35-3 record. It will be only the second night game for Hope at the stadium. In 1997, again on Community Day, the Dutchmen defeated Benedictine, Ill., 27-0.
Valparaiso comes to Holland ranked first in the nation among NCAA I-AA (non-scholarship) teams. The Crusaders opened their season last Saturday with a 32-12 victory over NAIA Tri-State, Ind. Scoring in every quarter, the Crusaders amassed 413 yards of total offense with a balanced attack (229 yards rushing and 184 yards passing). The defense held Tri-State to just 56 yards rushing and only 13-of-34 passes.
Hope head coach Dean Kreps begins his sixth season pursuing his first opening-game victory. The Flying Dutchmen have not won their season opener since 1993. No one can accuse Hope of scheduling a patsy in their season opener. In fact, over 90 years Hope stands 39-49-2 in the opening game.
This is the seventh meeting between the teams in a series that started in 1961. Valpo holds a 4-2 edge in the rivalry, including a 35-34 double overtime triumph when the teams last met in 1997.