Centre knocks off Berry, 30-23

ROME, Ga. — The Vikings just needed a win for a trip to the postseason, but Berry College lost to Centre College, 30-23, on Saturday afternoon.

The defeat ends the Vikes’ season with a 7-3 record and 6-2 in the Southern Athletic Association. The Colonels end the year 8-2 and 6-2–tied with the Vikings for second in the conference.

After BC’s loss, Hendrix defeated Sewanee to capture the SAA Championship with a 7-1 league record.

“It’s tough right now, but obviously we made huge strides this year in building our program,” said Berry Head Coach Tony Kunczewski. “We lost to a very good Centre team; they are a class program in our league.”

Dale Jackson (18-of-45, 186 yards, 2 TDs) connected with Adam Taylor with just over eight minutes to go in the first quarter to open BC’s scoring. The five-yard touchdown pass put the Vikes ahead, 6-0.

Mitchell Blanchard then tacked on three points with a little over two minutes left in the first quarter. His 35-yard field goal put BC ahead, 9-0.

Berry struck again on a 32-yard pass to Chris Lilly (6 receptions, 64 yards, 1 TD) from Jackson. With less than three minutes to play in the first half, Blanchard’s PAT was good, moving the score to 16-0.

The Colonels ended the first half scoring with a touchdown of their own. With less than a minute left in the half, Heath Haden (32-of-41, 360 yards, 2 TDs) found Brandon Kamp in the end zone.  A failed Centre two-point conversion left the game at 16-6 going into halftime.

Centre then outscored Berry 10-0 in the third quarter.

A Casey Bradley three-yard run into the end zone–followed by an Alex Ward extra point–moved the score to 16-13.

Ward then tacked on three more points with a 29-yard field goal to finish out the third quarter. The score remained tied at 16 apiece going into the fourth quarter.

Haden ran the ball one-yard into the end zone to give the Colonels their first lead of the game. Ward’s PAT pushed the score to 23-16 with just under ten minutes to go.

Austin Lowe (19 carries, 100 yards, 1 TD) then ran the ball two-yards for the first Berry second half score. Blanchard’s extra point tied the game at 23-23 with 7:44 remaining.

A final 15-yard Haden pass to Nolan Coulter sealed the Centre victory. With less than three minutes left in the game, Ward’s extra point sealed the Colonels the 30-23 win.

Mamadou Soumahoro led the BC defense. He collected seven tackles (four solo) in the loss.

Centre led the game in both first downs (22-18) and total offense (381-317).