Berry Defeats Hendrix, 27-24: Vikings Alone at Top of SAA

Chris Lilly Catch, Photo by Russell Maddrey
Chris Lilly Catch, Photo by Russell Maddrey

By MacKenzie Tuttle for Berryvikings.com

ROME, Ga. - - Moving to a perfect 5-0 in the Southern Athletic Association, the Berry College football team defeated Hendrix College, 27-24, on Saturday afternoon. Audio Highlights

The win was the sixth in a row for the Vikings, moving them to 6-1 overall. The loss dropped the Warriors to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the SAA.

The first quarter produced no points for either team.

The Warrior's Steve Crenshaw kicked a 23-yard field goal to give Hendrix the first, 3-0, lead of the game with just over eleven minutes left in the second quarter. Hendrix's Joe-Dean Shipp then recovered an on-side kick for back-to-back Warrior possessions. 

The play ended with a four-yard rushing touchdown by Dayton Winn. Crenshaw's PAT was good, moving the score to, 10-0. 

The Berry offense responded with two touchdowns of their own before the end of the first half.

The Vikings' first score of the game came off an Austin Lowe (11 carries, 38 yards, 1 TD) one-yard rushing touchdown. Mitchell Blanchard's extra point pushed the score to, 10-7, with just over four minutes left in the half. 

The BC defense forced the Warriors to a three-and-out on their next possession, and the Vikes got the ball back at the Berry twenty-five.

With less than two minutes to play in the half, Dale Jackson (13-of-24 passing, 171 yards, 2 TDs) connected with Chris Lilly for a 3-yard touchdown pass. Blanchard's kick attempt was good, and the Vikings went ahead, 14-10. 

Berry extended the lead to, 20-10, in the third quarter. Jackson found Lilly (6 catches, 65 yards, 2 TDs) in the end zone again for a 26-yard touchdown pass. 

Spencer Smith then blocked a Hendrix punt following the next Warrior's possession. Tristen Cline recovered the ball, running it 28-yards into the end zone for the final BC touchdown. Blanchard's PAT moved the score to, 27-10. 

The Warriors immediately responded. A 21-yard pass to Ben Luedtke from Seth Peters, followed by a Crenshaw extra point, closed the gap to 27-17.

A 36-yard touchdown pass from Peters to Ethan Hoppe then moved the score to 27-23 following a Berry fumble. The Crenshaw PAT was good, finishing the game with a score of 27-24. 

Although neither team scored in the final quarter, Hendrix looked to take the victory on their final possession. With seventeen seconds left in the game, Shayne Edwards intercepted a Peters' pass, sealing the BC victory. 

Matt Farinella led the Berry defense with 13 tackels, six of which were solo stops.

"Our players have been great in high pressure situations, and they keep pulling it out," commented Head Coach Tony Kunczewski. "But it's important to just focus on what you can do and control in those last few minutes."

BC will take on Millsaps College next Saturday, Oct. 31. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Jackson, Mississippi.