The Alma College football team plays its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 8, against Manchester University. Alma is looking to bounce back from a 63-21 defeat at Baldwin Wallace on Thursday, Aug. 30.
LOOKING FOR A DIFFERENT RESULT
Alma and Manchester squared off under very similar circumstances last season: Manchester visits Alma for a nighttime in the Scots' home opener after coming off a loss against Trine. The Scots dropped last year's contest 33-31. They led 14-0 early in the game but allowed the Spartans to get some momentum which included running the opening second-half kickoff back for a touchdown; Alma trailed by nine going into the fourth quarter. Austin Spratling would score on his first career carry to get Alma back to within two, but Manchester forced a turnover with under two minutes remaining inside their own 30-yard line to seal the win.
This will be the seventh meeting between the Scots and Spartans in the history of their programs dating back to 1963; Alma leads the series 4-2. This is the second time in as many years that Manchester will be visiting Bahlke Field; prior to the 2017 season, Manchester hadn't played at Alma since 2003.
PREVIOUSLY - Alma 21, at Baldwin Wallace 63
Alma dropped its season-opening game at Baldwin Wallace 63-21 at George Finnie Stadium and Tressel Field. Junior wide receiver Chase Hinkle 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. His 152 yards were the most by an Alma player since the 2016 season finale. Junior quarterback Mason Ippel completed 16 passes on 25 attempts for 282 yards and two scores. Sophomore running back Steven Sowa had 10 carries for 40 yards. Senior defensive lineman Hunter Hoffman led the defense with 1.5 sacks to go along with nine tackles (2.5 for a loss) and one forced fumble, which was picked up by junior defensive back Max Kretzschmar.
HEY, NICE TO SEE YOU
Three members of Manchester's coaching staff are former Scots: Head Coach Nate Jensen was Alma's defensive coordinator for seven seasons prior to leading the Spartans; assistant coach Riley Fisher is a 2015 grad of Alma College and coached the running backs for the next two seasons, and fellow assistant coach Justin Thelen was a two-year co-captain and All-MIAA Second Team Defense honoree for the Scots who graduated in 2017.
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Sophomore running back Steven Sowa and senior defensive lineman Hunter Hoffman have been named the two team captains this season. Sowa missed all of the 2017 season due to injury and looks to be one of a number of backs Alma will use to make up for the graduation of Caleb Reinhart. Hoffman played in every game in 2017 and recorded 19 tackles from the defensive line. The team has also formed a Captain Council which is made up of 20 players, two of which will be chosen as co-captains to go along with Sowa and Hoffman for each game.
- Since 1975, the Scots are 25-18 in home-opening contests.
- Junior quarterback Mason Ippel's two touchdown passes against Baldwin Wallace are twice as many as he had entering the game. Ippel saw limited action backing up four-year starter Dylan Zaborowski for the last two years.
- Alma is carrying a 114-man roster this season that includes 16 seniors, 27 juniors, 28 sophomores and 43 freshmen.
- Alma has won an MIAA championship in each decade dating back to the 1900s. The Scots' last league title was in 2004.
The Scots are back on the road next week as they take on the Concordia University Wisconsin Falcons on Saturday, Sept. 15 as part of the MIAA-NACC Challenge Series. Alma defeated Benedictine 45-40 last year in the inter-conference game. Kick off against Concordia Wisconsin is set for 2 p.m.