Berry offense explodes in 46-24 win over Hendrix

Christopher Lilly snagged 6 catches for 102 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging an impressive 17 yards per catch. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

ROME, Ga. — An energized Berry College offense posted a record afternoon to lead a Vikings team that operated on all cylinders and cruised to a dominating win over Hendrix College, a fellow second-year program.

Playing their first home game since the first-ever true win in program history, the Vikings cruised to a 46-24 victory before a vocal crowd of 1,785 at historic Barron Stadium.

Dale Jackson complete 24 of 35 passes for 243 yards and five touchdowns. Christoper Lilly caught three of those touchdowns and put up a six-catch, 102-yard afternoon.

“Our quarterback play was very good,” Berry Head Coach Tony Kunczewski said in a post-game interview. “That’s the maturation of our quarterback that now he can see things coming pre-snap. So, we’re able to take advantage.

“I think Dale’s play has gown tremendously since that Rhodes game,” Kunczewski said, referring to a 12-0 loss on Sept. 27 to Rhodes College in which Jackson was sacked 10 times. “And, it showed today.”

Dylan Shelton, playing in the place of Seth Peters, completed 28 of 46 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns for the visiting Warriors, but saw his performance marred by a pair of drive-killing interceptions. Two of Shelton’s touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter as Berry began subbing its starters.

The Vikings kick-started the afternoon by jumping out to a 10-0 lead on a remarkable turn of events.

Facing a fourth-and-nine on the Hendrix 49, Mitchell Blanchard booted a 39-yard punt. The Vikings re-took possession when Caleb Shannon coughed up the ball at the Hendrix 10.

The Vikings went three and out, and Campbell Harrison booted a 22-yard field goal for the first points of the game. On the ensuing kick off, Blanchard attempted an onside kick, but the ball dribbled off the tee, and Berry recovered after a Hendrix player touched the ball while trying to recover it.

“We came into the game saying ok, we’re going to score on our first possession, then we’re going to onside kick,” Kunczewski said. “We didn’t think we would not score, punt, then get the ball back and then kick a field goal and then dribble the ball one yard off the tee.

“ …It wasn’t how we scripted it, but that was our plan going into the game that we were going to do that,” Kunczewski added. “They’re very good on offense, regardless of who they have. So, we like if we could steal a possession, we ended up stealing two in the first quarter, which was critical.”

It was just the beginning of a Berry-dominated game. The Vikings took a 33-10 lead into halftime.

Berry (2-4) travels to Birmingham-Southern College (2-5) next Saturday. Hendrix (4-2) hosts Austin College (4-2).

Game Notes

  • Berry’s Jalen Tuggle rushed for 68 yards on 16 carries.
  • Bryce Bailey and Malcholm Graham posted third quarter interception to kill a pair of Hendrix drives and keep momentum in the favor of the Vikings.
  • A total of nine Berry receivers caught passes.
  • Jonathan Fisher led the Vikings defense with seven tackles
  • Berry completed both of its fourth down conversions while Hendrix completed two of its three fourth-down conversion attempts
  • Hendrix picked up 370 offensive yards to 362 for Berry.
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.