The No. 17 ranked Berry Vikings (4-0, 2-0 SAA) escaped against the Centre College Colonels (3-1, 1-1 SAA), Saturday night, in a rain-soaked 38-35 overtime victory. A defensive stand and missed field goal by the Colonels was all the Vikings needed to stay undefeated on the year. The win kept the Vikings tied with Millsaps atop the SAA standings. It was a full team effort as the Vikings answered any questions about the legitimacy of their team.
The conditions were less than desirable as rain poured down at kickoff last Saturday night. However, the Vikings wasted no time getting on the board, as Tate Adcock found TJ Ciresi for a 17-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive to give Berry 7-0 lead. Berry was able to capitalize on a fumble when Randall Booker jumped on the ball to give Berry a 14-0 advantage.
After the Colonels were able to tie it up at 14, Joey Connors capped off a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a rushing score to give the Vikings a 21-14 lead going into the half.
The third quarter saw the Colonels tie the game up at 21, and the final period saw the Vikings trail for the first time in the game 28-21. With the Vikings facing a deficit, Mason Kinsey hauled in a 42-yard catch that set up another Joey Connors rushing touchdown to even things up. Connors finished the night with a tough 36 yards and two scores.
A big defensive stop led to a Mason Kinsey touchdown reception, to give Berry a 35-28 lead. Kinsey finished with five receptions, 135 yards and one touchdown.
With just over two minutes remaining, the Colonels drove down the field and forced overtime tying the game at 35.
As the overtime period started and the rain picked up, both teams were looking for anyway to get points on the board. The Vikings took the ball first and were forced to try a field goal attempt from 37 yards. Amidst the driving rain, Trey Gregory nailed the attempt to give Berry a 38-35 advantage. The lead would stand as the Vikings defense held strong and the Colonel’s kicker missed wide on the game-tying attempt.
The Berry defense maintained their bend-don’t-break mentality and stepped up when it mattered most to. Leading the defensive charge was senior defensive back Kevin Grier who tallied seven tackles and one interception. The front seven dominated once again anchored by Bryson Lamboy and Alex Kirkendoll who contributed with nine tackles and seven tackles apiece.
The offense remained well balanced as well, as the Vikings were led by Adcock who finished with 182 passing yards going 11 for 19 and two touchdowns. CJ Stone led the team in rushing with 97 yards on 13 attempts.
The Vikings maintain their regular-season win streak, extending it to 19 games. Berry also now sits at 5-1 all-time in overtime contests.
Berry hosts Austin College next Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 2 pm EST.