Berry clinches 1st play­off ap­pear­ance in team his­tory

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - From staff re­ports

Af­ter five years of build­ing the pro­gram, form­ing an identity and learn­ing from tough losses, it’s of­fi­cial: Berry foot­ball is go­ing to the post­sea­son.

The Berry Vikings re­lied on a dom­i­nant run game and a hot start to beat Birm­ing­ham- South­ern 35- 18 in Birm­ing­ham on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

With the win, Berry clinches a share of the South­ern Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion title and its first ever au­to­matic bid to the NCAA Di­vi­sion III play­offs.

The vic­tory also kept the Vikings un­de­feated for the sea­son and was their 14th straight win.

Sopho­more run­ning back Ja­cob Collins led the way with 132 rush­ing yards on 25 car­ries and two touch­downs. Quar­ter­back Slade Dale had 178 to­tal yards and a pair of touch­downs, while Ma­son Kin­sey racked up four catches for 77 yards.

The Vikings got on the board with their se­cond drive as Collins scored on a 27-yard run mid­way through the first quar­ter. Af­ter a Birm­ing­ham-South­ern touch­down late in the first, Collins scored again in the se­cond quar­ter to put Berry up 14-6.

A Kevin Grier in­ter­cep­tion late in the first half put Berry in scor­ing range, and Dale de­liv­ered with a 24yard touch­down pass to Trey Ciresi. The Vikings scored again on their first drive of the se­cond half, this time on an Austin Lowe 1-yard run to go up 28-6.

The Pan­thers scored two touch­downs in the fi­nal quar­ter and a half, but Berry’s de­fense made enough stops to pre­vent a se­ri­ous come­back. Dale scored on an 8-yard touch­down run late in the third to help seal up the vic­tory.

Af­ter play­ing for nine straight weeks, Berry gets a bye next Satur­day while the rest of the SAA plays.

The Vikings fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son against Trin­ity Univer­sity at Val­halla on Nov. 11.

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