First place in the young MIAA football season will be on the line Saturday (Oct. 21) as the Hope Flying Dutchmen host the Fighting Scots of Alma.
Kickoff at Holland Municipal Stadium will be 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on WHTC-AM (1450) and WFUR-FM (102.9). It will also be broadcast on the internet (www.hope.edu).
It will also be Take a Kid to the Game Day with a special admission price (50 cents) for kids accompanied by an adult. The Take a Kid to the Game program is sponsored by the NCAA and Hope is one of more than 150 colleges across the nation participating in the campaign focussed on attracting more of the nation's youths to college games. The first 250 kids through the gates will receive a kid-sized Hope football. There will be a special door prize drawing at halftime just for kids and after the game players will be available for photos and autographs.
Hope and Alma were part of a three-way tie with Albion for the 1999 MIAA championship. Both the Dutchmen and the Scots opened league play with a victory last Saturday, Hope topping Kalamazoo 42-25 and Alma beating Albion 21-17.
A year ago Hope and Alma were part of a three-way tie for the league championship. The Scots' only regular season blemish was to the Dutchmen at Holland Municipal Stadium.
This is a rivalry that began in 1919. Hope owns an advantage in the series (42-28-4), including victories the last three years. Hope has scored 156 points in those three games, including last year's record-setting 62-7 performance.
The game will pit the MIAA's top two defenses against the rush. The Flying Dutchmen are allowing opponents an average of only 43.2 yards per game on the ground while the Scots are holding their foes to an average of 94.2 ypg. This will be a test of Hope's pass defense. Alma brings the most potent passing offense into the game at 272.5 yards per game. Hope, meanwhile, has been yielding 261.2 yards a game through the air.
This week's MIAA offensive co-players of the week will be on the field Saturday. The honor was shared by Hope senior quarterback J.D. Graves (Troy Athens HS) and Alma junior wide receiver Kris Ernst. Graves, who has been honored twice this season, threw three touchdown passes and ran for another in the victory over Kalamazoo. Ernst caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Albion and returned a punt 67 yards to setup another Scot touchdown drive.
The Flying Dutchmen will play their next two games on the road, travelling to Adrian on Oct. 28 and to Olivet on Nov. 4. The regular season concludes with a home game against Albion on Nov. 11.