ROME, Ga. — The Berry College Vikings made history on Saturday, playing the school’s first-ever football game: a 37-0 loss to the Scots of Maryville College.
Despite the loss, Berry supporters turned out in droves to witness history. A capacity crowd of 6,700 filled Rome’s historic Barron Stadium.
“What a tremendous atmosphere here,” Berry Head Coach Tony Kunczewski said following the game. “I can’t say enough about the folks that have supported us. That’s not going to go unnoticed, and we’re going to be working hard for them.”
The Scots first scored with 5:27 left in the first quarter after a Travis Felder 1-yard run. The Scots scored twice more in the second quarter to take a 21-0 lead into the half, but the Berry crowd remained vocal, even as the game slipped out of reach.
At times, the game seemingly took a backseat to the history-making event. Fans arrived early, then filled both the home and visiting grandstands, then lined the track around the field; few fans left early, opting to stay and cheer on the school’s inaugural football squad.
“It was unbelievable — the support that we had from the Berry community and the Rome community,” Kunczewski said. “I would have never imagined.
“I don’t know how many people were here, but I know the stands were packed on both sides, and they were filling up on the outside, too,” Kunczewski added. “What a tremendous experience for our guys for the first ever game. I couldn’t have written a better script as far as the atmosphere.”
Berry takes on the JV squad of LaGrange College next Sunday in Rome, then heads to Macon on Sept. 21 to take on Mercer University.
Berry will play the next three home games at the Darlington School in Rome before returning to Barron Stadium for the Nov. 9 season finisher against Sewanee: The University of the South. A Berry football stadium is currently in the works.