In first season, Berry knows success on the field will come

ROME, Ga. — At first glance, it might seem easy to be frustrated with a 1-5 start to the football season, but the Vikings of Berry College have maintained a positive attitude through their program’s first six games.

They know success will come. It’s only a matter of time and experience.

“The thing that I’ve been most pleased with is our guys have maintained a positive attitude throughout,” Berry Coach Tony Kunczewski said in an interview following a 48-6 loss to Centre College on Saturday. “Our practices have been great. That’s not easy all the time.”

Added the coach: “The success out on the field will come.”

Playing in its inaugural season, Berry, a Division III squad, didn’t schedule a series of weak opponents to ease into playing ball. The Vikings opened up against Maryville College (5-1), which last year tied for the lead of the USA South Conference, then in week three headed to Macon to take on Mercer University (5-1), a Division I Football Championship Subdivision team.

Berry’s win this season came against the JV squad of LaGrange College, a game designed to even the playing field for the Vikings as they are fielding a team mostly comprised of freshmen. But, that hasn’t deterred fans who have showed up in droves to cheer on the team.

“It’s continuing to be great support from our fan base,” Kunczewski said. “I know they want to see more success out on the field just as much as we do. But, we appreciate their support.”

Berry travels to Conway, Ark., to take on Hendrix College (2-3) on Saturday, a game the Vikings have a shot at winning if they can score touchdowns when they’re in the red zone. Hendrix is playing its first football season after a lengthy hiatus.

Here’s a look at the Vikings’ leaders thus far this season:

Defense: Linebacker Anthony Batey has been a driving force on defense, notching 54 total tackles. His high-point of the season is likely a 100-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against Rhodes College, tying an NCAA record.

Rushing: Trevor Price has established himself as the Vikings’ top back, rushing for 174 yards on 42 carries, good for 4.1 yards per carry.

Receiving: Chris Lilly has been the team’s go-to receiver, hauling in 21 catches for 301 yards and three touchdowns. He’s also averaged 18.9 yards per kickoff return across 14 returns and leads the team with 583 all purpose yards.

Passing: Berry has utilized three quarterbacks this season. Adam Sandin leads the team completing 40 of 77 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns.

Kicking: With 45 punts, Mitchell Blanchard may be used too much this season, but he’s delivered, averaging 38.8 yards per punt. He’s had six punts land inside the 20 and five punts of more than 50 yards. He also scored a 47-yard rushing touchdown on a fake kick against Rhodes.

About the author

Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits The Travel Trolley and Railfanning.org.