2019 Hope College Football Preview Take a Look at the Upcoming Season

Pictured Above: Senior Mason Opple is a returning All-MIAA First Team quarterback.

2019 At A Glance

  • Roster Size: 97
  • Returners: 56
  • Captains: Mason Dekker, Nick Holt, Mason Opple, Zach Smith
  • 2019 MIAA Preseason Poll: First
  • 2018 Regular-Season Recap: With an 8-2 overall record, the Flying Dutchmen recorded back-to-back eight-wins season for the first time in 44 years when the 1974 and 1975 teams went 8-1 and 8-0-1, respectively. Led by head coach Peter Stuursma Hope ended the season on a six-game streak after dropping the MIAA opener at home to eventual champion Trine University. Ten Hope players claimed All-MIAA recognition, including five first teamers: cornerback Kimani Dooley, defensive tackle Ian Gorgenson, defensive end Tate Knapp, quarterback Mason Opple, and center Zach Smith. Ian Gorgenson and Zach Smith also received all-region honors. Running back Mike Miklusicak returned from a knee injury to close his Hope career with 2,274 career rushing yards — eighth-most in team history.

Pictured right: Center Zach Smith received preseason All-America honors from D3football.com.

"We return a veteran group. That experience is huge. You can't match that. We've got a great group of individuals." — Head Coach Peter Stuursma
Pictured right, wide receiver Christian Bos

2019 Roster

The Flying Dutchmen’s roster features 21 seniors, 20 juniors, 17 sophomores and 39 freshmen. Nine starters return on both sides of the ball from the 2018 season finale against Adrian.

2019 Football Team
Offensive tackle Tim Ivery

Key Returners

  • Senior Mason Opple set a Hope record last season with 18 rushing touchdowns while rushing for 954 yards on 169 carries. Opple also passed for 1,385 yards with 135 completions and a team-record one interception in 180 attempts. He was All-MIAA First Team last season.
  • Senior Zach Smith is a preseason D3football.com All-American at center. An All-Region and All-MIAA First Team selection in 2018, Smith helped pave the way for the Flying Dutchmen's 2,691 rushing yards and 1,469 passing yards this season.
  • Senior Mason Dekker returns to lead Hope's defense at linebacker. In his second season as a starter, Dekker collected 48 tackles and three sacks last season. He claimed All-MIAA First Team recognition.
  • Senior Tim Ivery returns at left tackle. In addition to outstanding pass protection, Ivery played a critical role in the MIAA's second-leading rushing attack. He was an All-MIAA second-team selection in 2018.
  • Senior Christian Bos is a dual threat at receiver. Bos caught 29 passes for 307 yards and two touchdowns during MIAA games last season while also rushing for 22 times for 169 yards and one touchdown. He was an All-MIAA second-team selection in 2018.
  • Senior Luke Beckhusen is Hope's top returning tackler. A defensive back, Beckhusen is capable of providing run support in addition to pass coverage. He was an All-MIAA second-team selection last season.
Mason Dekker, far left, joins the push to sack Trine's quarterback

The Flying Dutchmen kick off the season on Friday, September 6 with a non-league game at Millikin (Illinois). Hope was edged by Millikin, 25-21, at Smith Stadium in last season’s opener. Hope’s home opener is Saturday, September 14 with the annual Community Day celebration that includes a 1:30 p.m kickoff against Defiance (Ohio). Youth Day, which includes a free team poster giveaway, follows on September 21. The league opener is Saturday, October 5 at Trine.

"Community Day is way for us to reflect on the partnership between the greater Holland area and our community with the college and 3,100 students who arrive on campus in the fall. It is a special event, a day of festivities, fun and food." — Coach Peter Stuursma

2019 Coaching Staff

Head Coach Peter Stuursma

Peter Stuursma heads into his fourth season as a head coach after a successful start that included the greatest single-season turnaround in the team's 109-year history. He guided the Flying Dutchmen to a 7-3 overall record in 2016 and 8-2 records in 2017 and 2018. It was the 10th time the Flying Dutchmen won at least eight games in a season.

Stuursma, a 1993 Hope graduate, has deep ties to Hope College and the Flying Dutchmen football program.

As a player, Stuursma served as co-captain for the Hope College football team during his senior season. He was a running back and special teams player. Stuursma received the team’s Allan C. Kinney award after the 1992 season despite playing in only three games due to an injury. The award, presented annually since 1971 and named in memory of football player Allan C. Kinney, who died of cancer in his senior year in 1967, honors a senior player for maximum contribution to the football program.

Prior to returning to coach at Hope, Peter Stuursma led East Grand Rapids (Michigan) High School to a 162-34 record with 13 state playoff appearances during his 16-season tenure. They claimed Michigan High School Athletic Association state titles in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2003 and 2002. They also reached the state semifinals twice.

"This is my fourth year as the head football coach at Hope College, and each year I have seen the MIAA ratchet up the expectations, the talent level and the game atmosphere. I have tremendous respect for every single coach in the MIAA." — Coach Peter Stuursma
Nick Holt races to a make a tackle on special teams.

By the Numbers

  • 2. Interceptions thrown by the Flying Dutchmen last season in 134 attempts. That’s the fewest in ever for Hope as a team.
  • 3. Sets of twins on the Flying Dutchmen roster: Christian and David Bos, Brady and Tyler Eding, and Fletcher and Toby Hulst
  • 12. Hope football players who made the MIAA Academic Honor Roll with at least a 3.50 PGA
  • 76.7. Win percentage under head coach Peter Stuursma with a 23-7 record in three seasons
  • 110. Number of seasons played by Hope College Football
  • 244. Rushing yards by QB Mason Opple last season against Olivet — a team record
  • 392. Points scored by the Flying Dutchmen last season - a team record

Hope's Home Field Advantage

Hope fans cheer on the Flying Dutchmen at Smith Stadium.
"The game environment is really neat. We've have some added features that are making it a fun environment and exciting. I think you're seeing a good product on the field. You're seeing a bunch of young men who care about their team and the educational opportunities they have." — Coach Peter Stuursma
Smith Stadium during the annual Community Day game
Head coach Peter Stuursma and the Hope bench celebrates a touchdown

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Alan Babbitt, Steven Herppich, Lynne Powe, Tom Renner