ROME, Ga. — What a difference a year makes.
Berry College Football Coach Tony Kunczewski can look at his squad and immediately see the difference in their play. In 12 quarters of play so far in 2014, the Vikings have legitimately competed in 11.
A year ago, the Vikings, a team of mostly freshmen, struggled to post a complete game. While their record doesn’t reflect the improvement, the change is palpable.
“Our guys can physically withstand the whole football game,” Kunczewski said following last week’s 12-0 loss to Rhodes. “Last year, how many times did we play two quarters and just couldn’t hold up after that?”
While the play on the field is improved, there is one holdover from a year ago: fan support. As was the case in their inaugural season, Vikings supporters are turn out in droves; nearly 3,000 turned out for the season’s home opener last week.
School officials are hoping for a massive turnout for the first ever game on Mountain Day, effectively homecoming weekend. Berry hosts Washington University of St. Louis (1-3).
“We’re hoping to play in front of a packed house,” Kunczewski said.
Berry By the Numbers
- 125: Total rushing yards freshman Jalen Tuggle has amassed during three games
- 40.3: Average yards per punt for sophomore Mitchell Blanchard
- 37: Longest interception return thus far this year, courtesy of sophomore Anthony Batey
- 33: Number of tackles sophomore Matt Farinella has amassed during the first three games of the season
- 6: Number of touchdowns sophomore Dale Jackson has tossed this year
- 4: Number of sacks sophomore Preston Stewart has through three games (for a total loss of 36 yards); following week two, Stewart earned the Southern Athletic Association’s defensive player of the week, the first Viking to earn an SAA weekly defensive honor
- 2: Number of touchdowns for both sophomore Christopher Lilly and sophomore Trey Ciresi