Gavin Gray has enjoyed a successful spring season thus far, leading the Berry College football team to a pair of wins last month, including a come-from-behind victory against Birmingham-Southern College.
Gray, who was named the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Newcomer of the Year in 2019, has tossed six touchdowns while recording 526 passing yards in two contests. His play on the field has positioned the Vikings for a chance to compete in the conference championship next weekend, but the focus for Gray and his teammates this week is an important matchup on Saturday, March 6 against Centre College.
Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Gray to discuss his team’s spring season, as well as what he and the Vikings must do to continue their recent success against Centre on Saturday.
Tell me about your team’s past two contests – from your perspective, what has worked on the offensive end?
From my perspective, each game had different aspects of our offense that worked. Against Birmingham-Southern, our run game wasn’t as strong so our passing game was our go-to. Against Rhodes College, our running game did well. I think it shows just how good our coaches are at finding what aspect of the offense (we) excel at during the game.
This may sound cliché, but how has the offense improved from your team’s initial spring game against Birmingham-Southern to last weekend’s 54-7 win over Rhodes?
I think the first game for everyone can be exciting and emotional. Our win against Birmingham-Southern gave everyone on the offense some valuable experience in not only a game (situation), but also a down-to-the-wire contest. Against Rhodes, it felt like everyone was more confident and knew what to expect.
Take me back to your team’s first spring game against Birmingham-Southern. What do you remember about that final drive, which saw you connect with Cameron Kawa for the game-winning touchdown?
We just told ourselves we needed to get first downs; don’t worry about the score because if we get first downs then the score will handle itself. The receivers on that last drive – and really all game – did a great job of coming back to me when scrambling, which helped us convert a big fourth down conversion. On the last play of the drive, Cam did a great job of getting open and giving me a ton of space to complete that pass for the touchdown.
We presume this was not the first time you led your team, both Berry and Calhoun (high school), on a game-winning drive, right?
I can’t remember having any game-winning drives but I do remember having game-sealing drives. Against Cedar Grove in the semifinals of the 2017 Georgia High School Association (GHSA) playoffs, the score was 14-6 and we needed to get a couple of first downs to run out the clock. I think those big moments like (that particular experience against the Saints) have helped me stay poised in moments like the final drive against Birmingham-Southern.
As you (and your team) turn the page to Centre College this weekend, what must you and the offense do to continue your recent success?
I think we have to continue to do what we do. Centre has a great team. They have a great defensive line with great linebackers and defensive backs. They are well-coached and stay disciplined. We know it is going to be a physical and tough game, but we just have to stay focused on the things we can control and make adjustments when they are needed.