posted October 26, 2000

MIAA Football Showdown Looms

In an MIAA football showdown that has an all-too-
familiar ring,  the Flying Dutchmen of Hope will meet the Britons
of Albion Saturday (Oct. 30) with first place in the conference
standings on the line.
     Kickoff at Albion's Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium will be 1 p.m.
The game will be broadcast by WHTC-AM (1450) and WFUR-FM (102.9).
It will also be broadcast on the internet (www.hope.edu).
     Both teams are undefeated in conference games,  the
defending champion Britons standing 4-0 and the Flying Dutchmen
at 3-0.
     This is not new territory for these teams.  In fact,  the
MIAA championship has been won 21 of the last 24 years by either
Albion (12 times) or Hope (9 times).
     It's a rivalry that began in 1926.  Albion holds a 34-29-7
advantage in the series, including a 44-0 rout of the Dutchmen a
year ago, also at Albion.
     The path to this game has been very similar for both teams.
Each team started out the season with an overtime loss.  After
losing their first two games,  the Britons (5-2) have won five
in-a-row.  Hope (3-3), meanwhile,  has a three game winning
streak after opening with three consecutive losses.
     "We are very excited about this game," said coach Dean
Kreps.  "You always hope that a game with a traditional rival
will carry championship implications."
     This year's MIAA race has an added incentive because the
league champion will receive a berth in the NCAA Division III
playoffs.
     "Right now we are focussed on Albion, but we also know there
is alot of conference football to be played after Saturday," said
Kreps.  The Flying Dutchmen travel to Olivet on Nov. 6 and
entertain Kalamazoo on Nov. 13.
     Through three conference games, the Flying Dutchmen have
been equally impressive on offense and defense.  Hope has scored
at least one touchdown in 12 consecutive quarters in averaging 47
points a game.  They've outscored league opponents 77-0 in the
first half while allowing 9.7 points a game.
     Senior receiver Matt Handzo (Clinton Township/DeLaSalle HS)
has moved into second place on the Hope all-time pass reception
list.  He is tied with Paul Damon (1977-80) at 83 catches.  The
all-time record is 107 catches by Bill Vanderbilt, Jr. (1984-87).
     Junior quarterback J.D. Graves (Troy/Athens HS) is on track
to challenge the Hope single season total offense record.  The
mark is 1,860 yards (207 yards per game) by Greg Heeres in 1984.
Graves is averaging 276.8 yards per game (1,661 yards) through
six games.