A pair of hand-carved wooden shoes and an unbeaten conference mark will be on the line Saturday (Oct. 11) when Hope (2-2) renews its oldest MIAA football rivalry at Kalamazoo 4-0).
Kickoff for Kalamazoo's homecoming game will be 1 p.m. EDT.
The game will be broadcast on WHTC-AM (1450) and WFUR-FM (102.9). The WHTC broadcast will also be available on the internet at hope.edu/athletics.
The game will mark the 83rd renewal of the "Wooden Shoes" rivalry between the Flying Dutchmen and Hornets. The rivalry started in 1910. It has been known as the "Wooden Shoes" rivalry since 1931. Hope holds a 42-34-6 advantage in the all-time series, including a 42-41 victory in 2002.
Having a pair of hand-carved wooden shoes as a traveling trophy was the idea of Hope football coach Milton "Bud" Hinga who was a Kalamazoo College graduate.
Two years ago Kalamazoo was also off to a 4-0 start only to have it ended by Hope 29-15 in Holland.
The teams have not played any common opponents. Hope opened conference play last Saturday by defeating Alma 21-0. This will be Kalamazoo's league debut.
It promises to be a game of strength-against-strength. Kalamazoo features the MIAA's leading defense while Hope has one of the top offenses. The Hornet defense is allowing just 220.2 yards per game, including just 56 yards on the ground. Hope trails only Olivet in total offense, averaging 443.5 yards a game, including 333.5 yards through the air.
A year ago Hope quarterback Phil Butler and Kalamazoo quarterback Bryan Gnyp tied for All-MIAA second team honors. They are both off to good starts this fall. Butler has an NCAA passing efficiency rating of 126.3 (100.0 is considered "average"). He has completed 91-of-169 passes (54%) for 1,334 yards and eight touchdowns. Gnyp has an efficiency rating of 150.4 behind a league-leading completion percentage (65% on 70-of-107) for 926 yards and seven touchdowns. The teams feature the league's top two all-purpose runners (rushing, receiving, punt and kickoff returns). Hope's Jeff Eldersveld leads the MIAA at 164.2 yards per game while Kalamazoo's Andy Graham is second at 148.0 ypg.
Hope tailback Dan Bloemers is rushing exactly 100 yards a game. He has 400 yards on a league-leading 105 rushes for a 3.8 yards per carry average. Kalamazoo's running game centers on fullback Dwight White who has 262 yards on 71 carries, a 3.7 yards per carry average. Bloemers has rushed for eight touchdowns; White for five.