Mason Kinsey

Berry receiver Mason Kinsey returned a 97-yard kickoff for a touchdown Saturday against Hendrix, setting the program record for longest kick return.

A pair of local college football athletes were recognized for their weekend performances on Monday, and the Berry Vikings held steady in the polls after another hearty win.

Berry senior receiver Mason Kinsey is this week’s Southern Athletic Association Special Teams Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday. Meanwhile, the Gulf South Conference announced Shorter linebacker Xavier Robinson as the league’s Freshman of the Week.

Kinsey, a D3football.com Preseason All-American, led No. 7 Berry to a 27-9 victory over previously unbeaten Hendrix on Saturday with his highlight coming on a 97-yard kickoff for a touchdown in the second quarter that set the program record for longest kick return.

It was just the second ever Viking kickoff return for a touchdown.

Kinsey finished with 10 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown and 248 all-purpose yards, which is the second most in a game in Berry football history. He leads the SAA with 107 receiving yards per game and nine touchdowns.

Berry (6-0, 4-0 SAA) remained at No. 7 in the American Football Coaches Association Division III poll on Monday while moving up a spot to No. 8 in the D3football.com poll.

The Vikings are the only SAA team in the top 25 of either poll. Mary Hardin-Baylor, out of Texas, is first in each poll.

Robinson leads Shorter with 45 tackles this season, including nine tackles against West Alabama on Saturday. He also leads the Hawks in tackles for loss.

Shorter, which lost to the Tigers 41-0, is now 0-6 and hosts North Greenville (2-4, 1-3) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Barron Stadium for homecoming.

Berry will be on the road Saturday at conference foe Birmingham-Southern, which is 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference.

The Panthers also got some recognition Monday at running back Robert Shufford was named the SAA Offensive Player of the Week. The junior has rushed for 100 yards in each of the last four games, including 133 on 14 carries in a 46-7 win over Rhodes on Saturday.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. in Birmingham, Alabama.

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