A familiar opponent awaits the Berry football team when it kicks off the season on the road, and it’s a team the Vikings have seen a lot of success against in recent years.
The Vikings open the 2019 season Saturday at 2 p.m. when they travel to face Maryville at the Scots’ Honaker Field.
The No. 16-ranked Vikings own a 4-3 series lead against the Scots, winning the last four matchups. Maryville came out on top against Berry in the first three contests, which were the first three years of the Berry football program.
Former Dragons face off
Saturday’s matchup will feature a lot of local players on both sidelines.
Back for his sophomore season, former Pepperell player Trevor Thomas saw time against the Vikings in the 2018 season opener. He was 4-for-5 for 47 yards in the 38-3 loss to Berry. He finished the season going 29-for-67 with 365 yards and three touchdowns.
He won’t be the only former Dragon on the field as Connor Chandler joins the team for his freshman year at wide receiver.
Another former teammate will be on the Berry sideline as T.J. Watkins who’s also back for his sophomore year. Watkins caught four passes for 33 yards in last year’s season-opening matchup and finished the season with 19 receptions for 224 yards and a touchdown.
The Vikings and the Scots met twice this past season facing each other in the first round of the Division III NCAA playoffs. Berry ran through the Scots for a 31-0 win, which was the first time in school history Maryville had reached the postseason. Returning an upper-classmen laden offensive line, the Scots will hope to repeat last year’s success that saw them finish 7-0 in USA South Athletic Conference play.
The Vikings are hoping to win their fourth straight Southern Athletic Association title and return to the playoffs after exiting in the second round last season.