The Flying Dutchmen host a new football opponent in the College of Wooster for their 37th annual Hope-Holland Community Day game on Saturday, Sept. 7. Kickoff at Holland Municipal Stadium will be 1:30 p.m.
All Hope football games are broadcast by WHTC-AM (1450) and WFUR-FM (102.9). The WHTC broadcast can also be heard on the internet -- www.hope.edu/athletics.
Hope played its first football game 100 years ago, bowing to Muskegon High School 36-0 in 1902. The Flying Dutchmen didn't play their first game against a collegiate opponent until 1908, losing to Benton Harbor College 19-15. It wasn't until 1918 that Hope's schedule was played entirely against collegiate opponents. This is actually the 93rd season of Hope football. The Flying Dutchmen have an all-time record of 367-286-38.
The Flying Dutchmen are seeking their first season-opening game victory since 1993. This is the 24th year that Hope is playing its home games at Holland Municipal Stadium. Hope was 5-0 at home in 2001, marking just the fourth time since 1979 that the team was unbeaten at home.
Hope and Wooster are meeting on the gridiron for the first time. A year ago the teams had one common opponent in the MIAA's Kalamazoo. Hope stung the Hornets 29-15 while Kalamazoo edged Wooster 39-37.
Each team has a pre-season Division III All-American candidate. Hope senior punter Vince Scheffler was recognized for the second consecutive year. He has a career average of 38.1 yards per punt. Wooster sophomore middle linebacker Tim Cline was a first team all-conference (NCAC) honoree in his first collegiate season, averaging 10.5 tackles per game.
Hope returns 40 letterwinners and 14 starters from a 7-2 2001 team. Wooster returns 38 letterwinners and 18 starters from a 4-6 team.
Both teams suffered major losses in their 2001 receiving corps. Hope graduated Brian Adloff and Mike Gle who combined for 124 receptions and 18 touchdowns while Wooster lost all-conference receivers Chris Cabot and Darryl Simmons who together had 89 catches and 13 touchdowns. Experience-wise, Wooster has the advantage at running back. Hope lost its top rusher (John Sloothaak, 765 yards) while Wooster returns its leading ground gainer (Scott Jones, 823 yards). The teams return veteran quarterbacks. Hope's Phil Butler set school marks for completions (159), yardage (2,156) and touchdowns (23). Wooster's Jeff Spraggins (injured in sixth game) and Justin Alaburda netted over 2,000 yards in the air.
As part of the pre-game festivities, Mayor Albert McGeehan will present a resolution to Hope College President James E. Bultman celebrating the long association of Holland and Hope.
The Holland West Ottawa marching band, under the direction of Dean Christopher, will be featured at halftime. Also at halftime, the Commissioner's Cup of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association for the 2001-02 school year will be presented to President Bultman and the athletic staff. Hope won all three all-sports awards of the MIAA last season (men, women and total program) for the second consecutive year. Hope has won the Commissioner's Cup a record 24 times, including seven of the last nine years. MIAA Commissioner David Neilson will make the presentation.