Hope Downs Alma On The Road
The Hope football team did not have the ball much against Alma, but made the most of every minute. The visiting Flying Dutchmen used touchdowns in all three phases to beat the winless Scots 43-23 on Saturday.
Hope won on the road despite only 18 minutes, 13 seconds of possession and 206 yards of total offense.
"Alma was impressive. They came to play," Hope coach Dean Kreps said. "They slowed the tempo of the game and kept us off the field. The best I have seen them on a while. We only had 18 plays in the first half and they were able to sustain drives. We were efficient and scored when we needed to."
A 92-yard fumble return by sophomore Augie Mata of Holland (West Ottawa HS) capped the scoring for Hope, which improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) play.
It was the second consecutive game Mata scored. He returned a blocked Olivet punt for a touchdown last week.
"Another great game for Augie. So proud of him," Kreps said. "He is a special guy. Great attitude and work ethic."
The Flying Dutchmen, who outscored Alma 25-7 during the second half, forced turnovers on Alma's last three possessions beginning with Mata's interception at the Hope 1-yard line.
Mata's fumble recovery came on the next series after junior linebacker Cody Lindemulder of Mulliken (Lakewood HS) forced Alma quarterback Jarrett Leister to fumble. Lindemulder then intercepted Leister on the Scots' final possession.
Hope snared a season-high four interceptions, with Lindemulder collecting two and junior defensive end Brett Stewart of Kalamazoo (Comstock HS) grabbing one.
Senior receiver Vincent Boddy of West Bloomfield (West Bloomfield HS) scored twice. He returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown 4:44 into the second quarter and caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Michael Atwell of Geneseo, Ill. (Geneseo HS) during the second quarter.
Atwell, who threw for 110 yards, also threw a 7-yard scoring strike to sophomore Matt Kroll of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS) during the third quarter.
Senior running back Shawn Jackson of Comstock Park (Comstock Park HS) rushed for 59 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He scored on runs of 7 yards in the first quarter and 10 yards in the second quarter.
Hope set up Jackson's second touchdown with 1:14 remaining in the first half when Lindemulder picked off Leister at the Alma 32-yard line with 1:36 remaining.
The Flying Dutchmen were outgained 456-206.
"Shawn and Mike both did what they needed to," Kreps said. "The numbers weren't huge because of the reduced number of snaps. Only one stat counts in the end anyway."
The Flying Dutchmen return to action on Saturday, Oct. 26, when they host Kalamazoo. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Ray & Sue Smith Stadium.