By Matt Noonan
The fifth week of the spring football season is upon us – crazy, right? – and there are a ton of matchups to follow this weekend, including some in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA).
As of this evening, three teams boast perfect records in the SAA – Berry College, Hendrix College, and Trinity University (Texas) – while Birmingham Southern College sits alone in the second place with a 2-1 record.
All four teams remain in contention for the SAA crown. But the same could be said for Centre College, which enters the final week of the conference’s regular season with a 1-1 record.
Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups with two of the three outcomes determining what two team will compete next Saturday, March 13 in the SAA Championship.
Hendrix at Trinity (Saturday, March 6): Both teams enter this must-see ad must-follow contest with identical 2-0 records. And the winner will most likely compete against Berry or Centre or perhaps see each other again next weekend in the SAA title game.
The Tigers’ offense has been impressive thus far, averaging 36 points per game, thanks to quarterbacks Tucker Horn and Wyatt Messex, who have combined for seven touchdown passes.
Trinity has not competed since February 13 while Hendrix appeared on the gridiron at the beginning and end of February. Their two wins have come against the same squads Trinity has beaten: Austin College and Millsaps College. Austin provided both squads with challenges, including Hendrix, which found a way to outlast a Kangaroos squad that produced a season-high 31 points last Saturday.
Kip Vanhoose was the player to watch on Hendrix last weekend – the Kansas City, Missouri native rushed for a season-high 94 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns.
This has the making for an exciting matchup that should mimic the previous meeting from 2019, which saw the Tigers edge the Warriors, 20-17.
Berry College at Centre College (Saturday, March 6): It would be hard to pick against the Vikings of Berry, which enter the final week of its shortened season with a great deal of momentum.
The Blue and White scored two wins last month, including a come-from-behind victory against Birmingham Southern. Two weeks after their three-point victory, the Vikings rolled past Rhodes College, 54-7.
Quarterback Gavin Gray has tossed six touchdowns this season – last week, he connected with three different receivers for scores, including Cameron Kawa, who hauled in the game-winning touchdown last month against BSC.
Trentin Dupper will lead a Colonels offense that has recorded 65 points in two games, including 35 last week against BSC.
A win over Berry would help Centre’s chances with securing a spot in the SAA title game next weekend.
Berry College has won the last four meetings, including their most recent clash in 2019, which saw Gavin Gray complete 10 of 24 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 45-22 victory.
Millsaps College at Austin College (Saturday, March 6): Despite back-to-back losses to Hendrix and Trinity, Austin seems primed to finish its shortened season with a win over Millsaps.
The Kangaroos enter their final contest averaging 27.5 points per game – let’s call it roughly four touchdowns – and will once again rely on quarterback Tyler James, who concluded last week’s contest against Hendrix with 320 yards of total offense.
Regan Wilkins and Jarrett Pleasant concluded the game with 10 total tackles, respectively, while John Aldridge converted five kicks, including four extra points.
Millsaps has not played since February 13 when they fell to Trinity by a score of 37-7. Quarterback Amryn Jeffrey finished the game with one touchdown while Mickale Massey and Liam Vincifora each recorded 13 total tackles.
Austin beat Millsaps in their last outing in 2019 by a score of 20-7. Evan Powell highlight the Kangaroos win by rushing for a game-high 117 yards on 13 carries.