Losing two games in a row is something the Berry football team hasn’t experienced in six years.
On Saturday at the halfway mark of the season, the Vikings will be out to make sure that streak quickly comes to an end.
Coming off a loss – the team’s second straight- in their Southern Athletic Association opener a week ago when SAA preseason favorite Trinity handed them a 27-6 setback, the Vikings are determined to get back into the win column Saturday when they head to Jackson, Miss., to face the Millsaps Majors in another conference test.
“This is uncharted territory for us,” Berry head coach Tony Kunczewski said as the Vikings hit the road with a 2-2 overall record and a 0-1 SAA mark, “but we’ve got to learn from it and move on. We’re still searching for an identity, especially on offense. But we’re very close.”
Against Trinity, Berry had trouble finding its offensive rhythm as the Vikings ended the night held to a season-low 181 total yards, including another low of just 31 rushing yards.
The lone production came through the air as junior quarterback Gavin Gray completed 11 of 21 passes for 129 yards with Cameron Kawa hauling in four of those tosses for 46 yards, and the lone big play of the game was a 54-yard reception by Jake Bretz.
Berry’s lone points came from the leg of placekicker Matthew Syverson, who connected on field goals of 32 and 36 yards.
“Defensively, they’ve been good for a while,” said Kunczewski, “and offensively I was very impressed with their quarterback and how talented and deep their receivers are.
“The big difference was they converted their third downs,” he said about Trinity converting nine of 19 third down situations while the Vikings managed just four of 12 situations. “Defensively, we’ve got to do a better job making the plays on third down.
“We’ve played two really good teams in our last two games.”
This week, the Vikings will be facing a team that is fresh from tasting victory for the first time this season and returning home to host Berry for its homecoming game.
Millsaps (1-3, 1-0) broke into the win column last week handily downing SAA foe Rhodes 42-21 thanks to an impressive showing by quarterback Kaleb Thompson, who was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.
In that game, Thompson scored four touchdowns (three passing and one rushing) and accumulated 339 passing yards and 41 rushing yards for 380 all-purpose yards. He finished 18-for-33 passing, and in four games, he has thrown 1,091 yards nine touchdowns.
“He’s pretty impressive and crafty at running and passing,” Kunczewski said of the junior, “and (as a team) they’re talented at the skill positions on offense and defense.”
And if the Vikings were looking at getting back on track when they have the ball, this outing may be the time to do it as the Majors’ defense is giving an average of 40 points and 420 yards a game.
“We’ve got to figure a way to dust ourselves off,” Kunczewski said, “get back up and keep fighting.”