MARYVILLE, Tenn. — The Vikings defense shut out the offense of the Maryville Scots in the second half to propel Berry to its second consecutive season-opening victory on Saturday afternoon with a 30-24 final.
A few first half mistakes by Berry including a fumble and a blocked punt allowed the Scots to take a 24-13 lead heading into the half, but the Vikings were able to force a pair of turnovers to swing the momentum back towards the Silver and Blue in the final two periods.
On Maryville's first drive of the second half, the reigning Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Defensive Player of the Year, Mamadou Soumahoro, tipped a pass from Adam Diggs that was collected by Justin Akin at the Scots' 22 yard line. Akin would scamper all the way to the Maryville 12 to set up a short field for the Vikings offense. Berry quarterback Slade Dale would then connect with sophomore wideout Mason Kinsey several plays later for a touchdown to cut the Scots' lead to four points.
A defensive three-and-out would give Berry the ball back at the Maryville 36 before Dale connected with Trey Ciresi in the back right corner of the Scots' end zone, an area that has affectionately been coined over the past two seasons "Ciresi's Corner", to give Berry a 27-24 lead. Kicker Trey Gregory would tack on his third field goal of the afternoon early in the fourth quarter to extend Berry's lead 30-24.
The Scots had a chance late in the final period to tie it up. Led by Diggs, Maryville marched 62 yards down the field with less than two minutes remaining for a promising drive. On third and 16, Diggs connected with Mac Seagle for a 20 yard completion before he turned upfield and was met by the Vikings' secondary which knocked the ball loose and was recovered by Evan Breakspear to secure the victory.
BERRY STATISTICAL STANDOUTS:
- Slade Dale: 14-21, 145 pass yds, 2 TD, 22 rush yds
- Jacob Collins: 22 att, 112 rush yds, TD
- Trey Ciresi: 4 rec, 60 yds, TD
- Trey Gregory: 3/3 FG, 32 LG, 3/3 XP
- Kevin Grier: 8 tackles
- Evan Breakspear: 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery
- Mamadou Soumahoro: 6 tackles, 1 sack
- Justin Akin: 3 tackles, INT
MARYVILLE STATISTICAL STANDOUTS:
- Adam Diggs: 15-25, 126 yds, INT
- Elijah Chenier: 14 att, 39 yds, TD
- Mac Seagle: 4 rec, 80 yds, TD
- Christopher McKenzie: 8 tackles
- Jacorey Jackson: 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1.5 tfl
- The Vikings gained 160 of their 311 yards of offense on the ground and held the Scots to just 73 yards rushing
- Jacob Collins set a career high with 112 yards on the ground
- Berry's kicking game was strong on the day, with Trey Gregory hitting all three field goals and extra points. Punter Will Kenworthy also averaged 43.8 yards per boot on the day with a long of 51.
- Berry will return home to face LaGrange on Saturday for a 6:00 p.m. kickoff. The Panthers fell to Birmingham-Southern 29-25 this afternoon.