SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The Berry College football team's record-shattering season came to a close on Saturday afternoon, as the No. 18 Vikings fell to No. 4 St. Thomas University 29-13 in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Berry will board a plane bound for warmer temperatures this evening knowing that the bar was raised once more after the 2017 season. The Vikings finish 11-1 after riding the second longest active winning streak in Division III all the way to the round of 16, the best season in the program's young history.
Heading into today, the Vikings knew they were getting set to face one of the top teams in the country.
"As soon as we put on the film Sunday, we saw why St. Thomas is one of the class programs in NCAA Division III," head coach Tony Kunczewski said in the team's post-game press conference. "They play the game the right way: offense, defense and special teams."
The Tommies' balanced attack led to 97 total offensive plays and over 41 minutes of possession. Despite the Berry defense seeing much more of the field than their northern counterpart, St. Thomas scored just four times and put up their fewest points since October 7th.
In a blink, St. Thomas jumped out to a 22-0 lead to open the game, scoring on three of their first four drives. Tommies quarterback Jacques Perra connected with Gabe Green for a 36-yard and 16-yard score in the first quarter. Running back Josh Parks then punched in a one-yard touchdown to be followed by a successful two-point conversion to go up 22-0. It took one of the nation's best defenses, but Berry was held scoreless in the first half for the first time since Nov. 7th, 2015.
Berry broke the scoreboard late in the third after a seven play, 72-yard drive. Tate Adcock connected with Mason Kinsey on a 58-yard pass, then found Kinsey again for a seven-yard score to cut the lead to 22-7. The Tommies answered in the fourth after a 10-play drive capped by Stephen Wagner who found the end zone after a six-yard run. Adcock found Kinsey once again for an 8-yard score with 4:40 remaining. The sophomore finished the day with 10 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
While the Tommies rolled early, St. Thomas failed to score on seven straight possessions after jumping out to a 22-0 lead. The Vikings also forced three turnovers in a respectable defensive effort.
"We've been one of the top defenses at the national level," Kunczewski said. "I know they were able to run for a lot of yards, but it was on 64 attempts and almost 100 plays. We've just got good players on defense."
- Tate Adcock: 12-29, 237 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
- Mason Kinsey: 10 rec, 157 yds, 2 TD
- Trey Ciresi: 4 rec, 87 yds
- Evan Breakspear: 16 tackles, 0.5 TFL, FF, FR
- Kevin Grier: 10 tackles, TFL
ST. THOMAS STANDOUTS:
- Jacques Perra: 21-33, 282 yds, 2 TD, INT
- Tucker Trettel: 19 att, 90 yds
- Josh Parks: 17 att, 43 yds, TD
- Isaac Seering: 6 tackles
- Dylan Andrew: 4 tackles
- Evan Breakspear tied a single-game record with 16 tackles on the day
- The Vikings earned three sacks while allowing just two
- Berry's season ends after shattering nearly every team offensive and defensive record on the year.