Vikings head coach Tony Kunczewski, who has led the team to three consecutive SAA titles in just six years, was named the conference’s Coach of the Year for the third straight season.
Meanwhile, Berry defensive lineman Bryson Lamboy, who was a force on the front line during his high school career at Coosa, was given the SAA’s Defensive Player of the Year honor for his performance in his senior season. CJ Stone rounded out Berry’s awards as the league’s Special Teams Player of the Year.
Fresh off of shutting out Maryville to open the NCAA Division III playoffs, the Vikings will meet No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday in the second round at 1 p.m. EST in Belton, Texas. It is the second year in a row Berry has advanced to the Sweet 16.
Lamboy keeps the SAA Defensive Player of the Year plaque in Mount Berry, winning the team’s third straight after Vikings’ alum Mamadou Soumahoro claimed the award the last two seasons.
This marks Lamboy’s first All-SAA first-team honor after a career season. He posted career-highs in every statistical category following the regular season, leading the league in sacks (nine), forced fumbles (three) and fumble recoveries (two). Lamboy was also top-five in the league with 15 tackles for a loss.
“I just make sure to give 100 percent on every play and do the best I can,” Lamboy said when asked about his performance this season following Berry’s win over Maryville on Saturday. “I worked hard in the offseason and I was ready for this year.”
Stone, a senior running back from Atlanta, was one of the most dangerous kickoff returners in the league when given the opportunity. He averaged 24.3 yards per return including a long of 51. Also a threat out of the backfield, Stone averaged 64.3 rushing yards per game and scored four touchdowns during the regular season.
Joining Lamboy on the All-SAA first team were Berry running back Joey Connors, receiver Mason Kinsey, offensive lineman Nick McGee, linebacker Jack Carroll and safety Kevin Grier.
Second-team honorees include Hayden Murphy, Jonathan Cox, Trey Gregory, Alex Kirkendoll and Mark Sommerville. Antonio Brown, Jacob Bishop, Tate Adcock, Stone, Mac Wells, David Galloway, Brandon Palmer, A.M. Harris, Derrell Mims and Randall Booker round out Vikings with honorable mention accolades.
Connors, a senior running back from Johns Creek, made the switch to running back this year and immediately became a contributor, including scoring two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown against Maryville on Saturday.
Kinsey, a junior wide receiver from Demorest, earns his second-straight All-Conference first team nod, ranking among the best in NCAA Division III with 15 receiving touchdowns this season.
McGee, a senior offensive lineman from Evans, has been an anchor on the Vikings’ offensive line for the past two seasons, competing in every game over that span, and was rewarded with his second straight All-SAA first team selection.
Carroll, a sophomore linebacker from Canton, earns his first All-SAA first-team nod. He posted a career-high 44.0 tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss during the regular season.
Grier, a senior defensive back from Lilburn, Ga., will graduate as a four-time All-Conference honoree with three first-team selections. He closed the season with 42 tackles and tied a career-high with three interceptions.