Berry College used a stout rushing attack to improve to 2-0 with a convincing 34-21 win over LaGrange College. The Vikings increased their series record to 6-1 against the Panthers.
Former Hillgrove Hawks player Cameron Kawa scored the Vikings’ first touchdown taking a swing pass from quarterback Gavin Grayor 29 yards to paydirt. Wide receiver TJ Watkins -Pepperell and two-way player Luke Birk put a hat-on-hat clearing the way for Kawa.
Third-year head coach Earl Chambers swapped out quarterbacks hoping to find a spark on offense. Chambers turned to his punter in the first offensive series of the fourth quarter trailing 34-7. Coleman gave the former Georgia Bulldog just what he had been looking for. The true freshman from Richmond Hill dropped a 40-yard gem over the right shoulder of wide receiver LJ Flint for the Panthers’ first offensive touchdown of the game.
Flint’s touchdown came 7 minutes after freshman defensive back/linebacker Jaylen Colvard -Houston County picked off Blake Hembree -Alexander HS and took it to the house.
LaGrange fed off the two big plays on the second possession of the final quarter. Coleman went back to the air finding De’queze Fryer wide open deep behind the Vikings’ safety for a 65-yard touchdown. Fryer had a superb day. The junior tight end from Jones County had 3 receptions for 103 yards.
A 13-point lead in the fourth is normally a fairly safe lead. That is unless the opposition has the capacity to score quickly. The last two Panthers’ scores took all of 4 minutes total. The only problem the Panthers could not allow the Vikings’ clock-draining rushing attack to have the ball back.
Chambers and staff called for the on-side kick. It didn’t come as a surprise to the Vikings who had their all-hands team on the front line for the ensuing kick. Alex Rivera bounced the kick high into the air hitting junior defensive back Elohim Hull-East Paulding in the hands. The ball didn’t stay in his hands thanks to Fryer. The 230 lb. tight end made contact milliseconds after the ball touched Hulls’ fingertips. Freshman Malachi Powell – Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe recovered the bouncing ball for the Panthers at their 41.
Unfortunately, the penalty bug that had hampered several of the Panthers’ drives reared its ugly head. LaGrange had 11 penalties for 90 yards. Berry on the other hand spread out 40 yards of penalties evenly over two halves of football.
Tailback Brandon Cade led all Vikings rushers with 94 yards on 9 carries including a 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Four Vikings ball carriers out-rushed the top two LaGrange College ball carriers.
Coleman averaged 33.4 yards on 9 punts to go along with 8 of 12 passing for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
Game Photo Gallery
All photos credit Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports