The Alma College Football team continued their 2012 season on Saturday when they traveled to Holland to take on host Hope College on a rainy and raw afternoon. The Flying Dutchmen took an early and commanding lead and never looked back, handing the Scots a 49-14 loss that dropped them to 1-2 in the league and 1-6 overall. Hope improved to 2-1 in the MIAA and 3-4 in 2012.
On their opening drive, Hope drove 70 yards on nine plays and made it 7-0 when QB Michael Atwell hit WR Taylor Brynaert on a seven-yard TD strike. After a blocked Alma punt, the Flying Dutchmen used 10 plays to go 40 yards and took a 14-0 lead when RB Brandon Zervas plunged one-yard for a score.
Later in the first quarter, a bad snap on a punt attempt gave Alma the ball on the Hope 23-yard line but Jr. QB Jarrett Leister (St. Louis, Mich./Mt. Pleasant) was intercepted at the Flying Dutchmen one-yard line to end the threat.
The Scots got back inside the Hope 20-yard line early in the second quarter but a bad snap on a field goal attempt thwarted the scoring opportunity. Alma stopped Hope on their next drive and forced a punt, but PR Ricky Roth (Washington, Mich./Romeo) fumbled the return and the home team had the ball at the Scots' 25-yard line.
Two plays later Hope's Atwell hit Vincent Boddy on a 25-yard touchdown for a 21-0 lead. After another Alma punt, the Flying Dutchmen drove 54 yards on four plays and increased the advantage to 28-0 on a Reggie Duncan 15-yard touchdown run.
Alma then embarked on an impressive drive of 12 plays and 79 yards and made the score 28-7 when Leister hit So. WR Tyler Watters (Williamston, Mich./Williamston) on a 29-yard touchdown pass with 1:10 left in the half.
Hope added two more touchdowns in the third quarter and led by a margin of 42-7 as the teams headed into the final frame. Early in the fourth, Leister ran 30 yards for a touchdown to cap a 76-yard, nine-play drive to make it a 42-14, but a final Hope tally with six minutes remaining capped the scoring at a final mark of 49-14.
Offensively, Leister completed 10 of 30 passes for 114 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions, while So. TE Riley Fisher (Vermontville, Mich./Maple Valley) led the team with four receptions for 44 yards. Watters finished the game with two catches for 32 yards, including the touchdown reception. Leister also led the team with 37 yards rushing on three carries.
On defense, Alma had three players lead with eight total tackles - Jr. DB Austin McClelland (Oakland, Mich./Rochester Adams), So. DB Adam Nelson (St. Clair Shores, Mich./U of D Jesuit) and So. LB Sam Young (Lowell, Mich./Lowell). Young had 2.5 tackles for loss and and McClelland had 1.5 hits behind the line of scrimmage. Fr. LB Terry Calagon (Jackson, Mich./East Jackson) finished with seven tackles with one for loss and one pass break-up. Sr. DL Shane Hall (Howell, Mich./Howell) had a sack and Jr. DB Brandon Wegenke (DeWitt, Mich./DeWitt) added an interception.
The Scots return home next Saturday afternoon, when they host defending MIAA Champion Albion College at Bahlke Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.