Tis’ the season of the trophies as Berry College’s men’s basketball and football teams claimed their respective Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Championships last Saturday.
Berry football eclipsed Hendrix 21-20 in Little Rock, Arkansas, while men’s basketball conquered Oglethorpe, 72-58, at The Cage Center. Berry men's basketball won its first SAA title since 2018.
A failed extra-point attempt by Hendrix late in the fourth quarter saw Berry capture its fifth straight SAA Championship, this one being claimed at War Memorial Stadium in Arkansas’ state capital.
Berry struck first when sophomore quarterback Gavin Gray found Cameron Kawa for a 13-yard touchdown reception with 4:34 to play in the first quarter.
Just over two minutes later, Hendrix tied the game, but after Hendrix fumbled on a punt return, freshman running back Jonahan Maisonave punched it in from 2 yards out as Berry took a 14-7 lead after one.
The Vikings’ defense would a little scoring of their own as Devin Grier picked off Hendrix quarterback Miles Thompson’s pass for a 58-yard pick six to make it 21-7.
That two-score advantage would hold until the fourth quarter, when Hendrix scored two touchdowns on separate 8-play drives. Jacob Wood scored from 15 yards out and Tajae White streaked across the goal line from 9 yards away.
The failed PAT would put Hendrix in a tough bind, as it only saw the ball one final time, a drive that resulted in one first down before Berry’s defense locked it down to seal the deal.
Gray completed 18-of-28 passes for 205 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Rushing-wise, Maisonave led the way with 51 yards.
Despite Hendrix outgaining Berry 294-257, Hendrix quarterbacks would throw four interceptions over the course of the contest.
With the victory, the Vikings achieve their first-ever undefeated season in program history.
In the basketball game, the Vikings controlled the game from early on, trailing only once in the entire game, 8-6, in the first half.
Four Vikings reached double figures.
Rob Mbenoun led the way offensively with 14 points. Brooks Austin recorded 13 points, Micah Johnson chipped in 12 and Drew Jones tipped in 11.
Berry shot nearly 50% from the field (29-of-60) and 36.7% from downtown.
The Vikings finish the 2021 schedule at 13-1 overall, the lone blemish a 72-68 loss at Centre College.