Alma, Mich. - The Alma College football team dropped its 2018-19 season opener 63-21 to Baldwin Wallace on Thursday (August 30) in the 41st Lee Tressel Shrine Classic. Junior wide receiver Chase Hinkle (Concord, Mich. / Concord) was named the Lee Tressel Shrine Classic Player of the Game - he led all skill position players with 152 yards and two touchdowns on six catches, one being a 56-yard catch and run.
Junior quarterback Mason Ippel (Jenison, Mich. / Jenison) went for 282 yards and two scores and one interception. He completed 16 passes on 25 attempts. Sophomore running back Steven Sowa (Lincoln Park, Mich. / St. Frances Cabrini) had 10 carries for 40 yards; Ippel added 18 yards on the ground on seven carries.
Baldwin Wallace's quarterback Jake Hudson finished 20-of-28 with 225 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Rob Wolfington caught five of his passes for 97 yards and two scores. Running back Jon Murray, Jr. had 12 carries for 99 yards. As a team, Baldwin Wallace had 234 rushing yards on 45 carries.
Senior defensive back Alex Szajko (Flint, Mich. / Mt. Morris) led all defenders with 12 tackles; senior linebacker Gunner Lamb (Whitehall, Mich. / Whitehall) was not far behind with 10. Senior defensive lineman Hunter Hoffman (Albion, Mich. / Olivet) finished with 1.5 sacks and an additional tackle for loss. Junior defensive back Colin Smith (Westphalia, Mich. / Pewamo-Westphalia) had five pass breakups.
How It Happened
- Baldwin Wallace's Jordan Leverette ran the opening kickoff back 100 yards to give the Yellow Jackets an early 7-0 lead. It followed that up with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Hudson midway through the first quarter.
- Alma's third drive went seven plays for 52 yards before it was stopped on Baldwin Wallace's 10-yard line on a 4th & 2 sweep to Jarrett Bright (Genesee, Mich. / Genesee).
- Baldwin Wallace's next touchdown was a fade pass to Chad Steinwachs. He was covered tightly by Smith and was forced to tap the ball to himself and catch it on the second attempt in the back left corner of the end zone.
- Sowa scored on a two-yard rush to get Alma on the board. His first career touchdown capped a seven play, 90-yard drive that saw Yellow Jacket turnovers gift Alma two first downs. Ippel also connected on a 35-yard pass to sophomore tight end Joseph Schaefer (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) to get the Scots to BW's five yard line.
- Alma got the ball to begin the second half and drove 75 yards for its second score. Ippel connected on three consecutive passes to senior wide receiver Alex Yancy (Macomb, Mich. / L'Anse Creuse North) to get into Baldwin Wallace territory. He followed that with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Hinkle.
- After a Yellow Jacket score, Hinkle made a dazzling 56-yard catch and run, catching a pass on an out pattern, juking two defenders in the secondary and outrunning two more to cut the score to 14.
- The Yellow Jackets would score the game's next four touchdowns.
- Chase Hinkle's 152 receiving yards are the most by an Alma player since November 12, 2016, when Danny Hugan II went for 194 yards in the season finale against Adrian.
- This was Mason Ippel's first career start; he previously backed up four-year starter Dylan Zaborowski.
- Sophomore quarterback Ryan Stevens (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) also saw action on one series; he went 1-for-3 with eight yards. Stevens is the starting point guard on Alma's men's basketball team.
- Alexander Szajko's 12 tackles tie his 2017 season total.
- Gunner Lamb's 10 tackles are also a career high.
- Steven Sowa saw his first action since the 2016 season after missing last year to injury.
What He Said
"In life, there are events that happen and we must respond to them. Tonight our team faced an opportunity to fold and they chose to continue to battle. I'm proud of how our men stayed positive and supportive of each other. We will work hard to improve for next week."
- Head Coach Jason Couch
Alma's next game is its home opener against Manchester University (IN) on Saturday, September 8 at 6 p.m. The Scots fell to the Spartans 33-31 in their home opener last year in the return of former Alma assistant coach Nate Jensen, who is now the head coach of Manchester. The loss was also Alma's first ever in home night games (4-1).