NCAA Football Preview
The history book will always record Hope as the1999 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) co-champions. Coach Dean Kreps' Flying Dutchmen are sharing the title withAlbion and Alma after all three teams went 5-1 in conferenceplay. On paper, however, the Flying Dutchmen gained thestatistical edge by leading the conference in every major teamcategory -- scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense andtotal defense. This hasn't been accomplished by a Hope teamsince the 1987 conference championship season. Playing what many viewed as the toughest non-league scheduleamong MIAA teams and ending winless against those threeopponents, the Flying Dutchmen came back to win five of sixconference games. Included was a school-record 62-7 triumph overplayoff bound Alma. It was the Scots' only loss of the season. The MIAA championship is the second in three seasons underKreps. After five seasons he has coached the Dutchmen to a 22-23overall mark and 17-10 MIAA record. Junior quarterback J.D. Graves of Troy (Athens HS) set aHope single season total offense record even though he missed onegame with an injury. He became the first Hope player to surpass2,000 yards in total offense in a season, rushing for 425 yardsand passing for another 1,878 yards. Graves' rushing total (425 yards) appears to be a Hopesingle season record for a quarterback. The previous best recorded total for a quarterbackwas 302 yards by Gary Frens in 1967. In the mid-1970squarterback Bob Carlson rushed for 253 yards as a junior (1973)and 244 yards as a senior (1974). Senior wide receiver Matt Handzo of Clinton Township(DeLaSalle HS) had the distinction of starting in every game as acollegian (36 games). No Hope player since at least the start ofthe coaching career of Russ DeVette (1955) has accomplished thatfete. Handzo ended as Hope's third all-time leading careerreceiver (92 catches) and second in pass reception yardage (1,262yards). Junior tight end Brian Adloff of East Grand Rapids (EastGrand Rapids HS) became the first Hope player to catch 40-or-morepasses in consecutive seasons. This season he caught 40 passesafter grabbing a school-record 49 in 1998. With a season ofeligibility remaining, he is second on the all-time passreception list with 92. The record is 107 receptions by BillVanderbilt, Jr. from 1984-87. Hope has long prided itself on the success of its tailbackin the offense. This season three tailbacks combined to gain1,275 yards. Senior Eric Nichols of Grandville (Calvin ChristianHS) rushed for 808 yards, junior Adam Magers of Battle Creek (St.Phillip Catholic HS) added 308 yards and senior Peter Kellepoureyof Maple Valley (Maple Valley HS) accounted for 159 yards. Combined, it would be Hope's fourth best single season total fromthe tailback position. Senior Todd Tester of Traverse City (Traverse City HS)intercepted six passes, one shy of the single season mark ofseven by Kelly Clark (1991) and Randy Ames (1996). Sophomore Ian Fish of Parchment (Parchment HS) had the second best single season scoring total by placekicker with sevenfield goals and 31 extra points for 52 points. The record is 58points by Duy Dang in 1987. Freshman Nick Conrad of Wyoming (Wyoming Park HS) set asingle season mark for the best punt return average (15.3 yardson nine returns). The previous mark was 13.9 yards per return byMark Van Wieren in 1988.
The journey of Hope's fall sports teams followed many paths.