Noontime’s Monday Roundup: Berry Captures The SAA Crown

By Matt Noonan

Another busy weekend of spring football is in the books.

This past weekend featured a slew of exciting outcomes, including an NCAA D-III conference championship tilt that saw Berry College edge Hendrix College by a score of 21-20.

Last Saturday’s win over the Warriors capped an impressive spring season for a Vikings squad that needed overtime one week earlier to beat Centre College to secure a spot in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) title game.

The Blue and White have now won seven consecutive meetings against the Orange and Black since 2014.

Gavin Gray and Jonahan Maisonave each recorded one touchdown in the win while the Berry defense finished with four interceptions and forced two fumbles. Devin Grier led the Vikings defense with three interceptions and Jack Carroll produced a team-high 13 total tackles, including nine solo stops and two tackles for a loss of seven yards.

Miles Thompson, Jacob Wood and Tajae White each recorded one touchdown for Hendrix.

Prior to Berry and Hendrix meeting in the SAA title game, Trinity University beat Birmingham-Southern College on the same field by a score of 38-15 – the game was played at War Memorial Stadium in Arkansas – while Centre College topped Austin College and Millsaps College beat Rhodes College on Sunday.

All eight teams will be idle until next school year, but Berry should be able to continue its spring season momentum into next fall, as well as be the early-season favorite to win its sixth-straight SAA title.

Other news and notes from a busy weekend of spring football:

  • The Wilmington College football team began its spring season with a come-from-behind win over Capital University. Quarterback Kyle Barrett capped a 16-play, 99-yard drive by tossing his second touchdown of the evening to Itika Wynn Jr. with 39 seconds remaining before the Wilmington defense denied Capital a chance to respond on its final series.

  • Bryan Moore, who is the head coach of the Wilmington football team, said it was “unbelievable to be back out there tonight” after the Quakers edged the Crusaders.

  • Jaedyn Prewitt recorded season-highs in passing yards (458) and touchdown passes (four) last Saturday as Whitworth University capped its spring season with a 56-23 win over Pacific Lutheran.

  • The Brevard College football team “christened the newly-expanded Ives-Lemel Family Field” last Saturday with a 27-3 win over Huntingdon College. The win evens the spring season series between the two schools at 1-1 – the Hawks beat the Tornadoes last month by a score of 26-18.

  • Brevard quarterback Eli Carr tossed a season-best four touchdowns in his team’s second-straight win over Huntingdon while completing 12 of 20 passes for 194 yards. One week earlier against Averett University, the Asheville, North Carolina native recorded a career-best in passing yards (212).

  • The Bluffton University football team scored its second-straight spring victory last Saturday, as well as third win of the 2020-21 school year as the Beavers topped Anderson University, 35-27. Bluffton’s current 3-0 mark matches its start from 2016, which saw the Purple and Gray finish its campaign with a 7-3 record.

Berry, Hendrix Set To Compete In SAA Championship

By Matt Noonan

The sixth week of the spring football season is set to kickoff later this week and there is one game with a trophy on the line.

Berry College and Hendrix College will compete on Saturday, March 13 for the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) title – both teams enter this highly anticipated matchup riding a three-game winning streak, respectively.

Hendrix captured the Western Division crown last Saturday with a 13-3 win against Trinity University (Texas) while Berry rallied to beat Centre College to claim the East title in overtime.

“It is hard to put into words how proud I am of our team to continue to adapt, adjust, improvise and overcome,” said Hendrix coach Buck Buchanan via the athletic department’s release from last Saturday’s win over Trinity.

Saturday’s match-up will be played at War Memorial Stadium after in Arkansas at 7 p.m. eastern – the game will commence after Trinity and Birmingham-Southern College square-off in the first SAA clash of the weekend, which is scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m. eastern. On Sunday, two more SAA games will be played on the same field between Centre College and Austin College at 1 p.m. eastern followed by Rhodes College and Millsaps College at 7 p.m.


For those interested in purchasing tickets or learning more about this exciting weekend of SAA football at War Memorial Stadium, HOP HERE!


Sticking with the SAA championship – and yes, the big weekend in Arkansas for all eight squads – make sure to watch (or listen) to this week’s “In The (D3FB) Huddle” show with Frank Rossi and James Baker – our friends were joined by members of both the Berry and Hendrix football team, who provided some insight into Saturday’s title game.

Let’s go inside the Berry-Hendix Matchup:

  • In their last meeting in 2019, Berry beat Hendrix, 27-9, thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Gavin Gray, who was recently named the league’s offensive player of the week, along with six sacks from the Vikings defense. Hendrix quarterback Miles Thompson concluded the game with 245 passing yards.
  • The Warriors’ last win over the Vikings came in 2013 when the Orange and Black beat the Vikings by a score of 30-17. Hendrix’s Tanner Frye completed 28 of 39 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 40 yards on eight carries.
  • Berry enters Saturday contest averaging 32.67 points per game – let’s call it 33? – while Hendrix has averaged 33 points per contest in three games.
  • Berry has won its last six matchups against Hendrix.

Three Players to Watch (Berry):

  • Gavin Gray (QB): The second-year signal-caller leads all SAA passers with eight touchdowns while averaging 245.0 yards per game. Gray was instrumental in the Vikings come-from-behind win over Centre last Saturday, which needed overtime to decide a winner.
  • Cameron Kawa (WR): The first-year wide out leads the Vikings in touchdown receptions (three) and is one of two receivers to have caught 10 passes from Gray this year.
  • Connor Cheyunski (LB): Ranked fourth in the conference in total tackles, the third-year linebacker leads the Vikings with 28 total tackles, including 10 solo stops.

Three Players to Watch (Hendrix):

  • Kip VanHoose (RB): The senior tailback from Kansas City, Missouri leads the Warriors in net yards (190) and rushing touchdowns (four). He ranks second in the SAA in rushing touchdowns behind Birmingham-Southern’s Robert Shufford.
  • Blake Hinton (WR): The senior wide-out from Dallas, Texas leads the Orange and Black in receiving yards (223), yards per game (74.33) and touchdown receptions (two).
  • Jacob Bremmon (DB): The third-year defensive back leads all SAA defenders with three interceptions – all three of his picks came against Trinity.

We’ll be back for more football content later this week, but as always, thanks for stopping by to read our Wednesday Football Notebook!

Player Perspective: Gavin Gray (Berry College)

Gavin Gray (2) has led the Berry College football team to back-to-back wins, including a come-from-behind win over Birmingham Southern last month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Berry College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

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.

Looking Ahead To A Busy Weekend of SAA Football

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.

Noontime’s D3 Football Team of the Week: Monday, March 1, 2021

By NoontimeSports.com

Happy Monday, everyone!

While it seems hard to fathom, four weeks of NCAA D-III spring football is in the books – yes, four weeks! – which means it is time to unveil our weekly Noontime Sports Team of the Week for Monday, March 1, 2021.

Did you miss our previous teams? If so, revisit our week one and week three teams!

As always, thanks for stopping by to read today’s Team of the Week, and make sure to come back later this week for more spring football posts.


Noontime Sports D-III Spring Football Team of the Week (March 1, 2021)

Anthony Avila (Mary Hardin-Baylor): Avila enjoyed a successful day of kicking the football last Saturday against Southwestern – he converted all seven extra points, along with a 42-yard field goal for 10 points before tallying eight kickoffs for 414 yards with two resulting in touchbacks.

Dakwa Davis (Texas Lutheran): Against Sul Ross State, Davis led all defenders with 11 total tackles, including six solo stops and four-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 15 yards. He also registered a half sack for a loss of five yards.

Cameron DeArman (Birmingham-Southern): DeArman was a player to watch on the Birmingham-Southern defense last weekend against Centre by posting eight total tackles, including four solo stops and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 22 yards. He also recorded one sack for a loss of 16 yards to go with four quarterback hurries.

Trentin Dupper (Centre College): Duper tallied 286 yards of total offense and four touchdowns last weekend in his team’s second spring game against Birmingham-Southern. Duper completed 14 of 25 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 38 yards and one score.

Gavin Gray (Berry College): Gray led Berry to its second-straight spring victory over Rhodes by completing 15 of 21 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns while adding 10 yards on three carries.

Cameron Gieseman (Bridgewater College): In his team’s spring football season-opener against Shenandoah, Gieseman recorded nine points on three extra points and two field goals (longest was a 32-yard boot) along with four punts for 151 yards with two kicks landing inside the Horets’ 20-yard line. Giesman also recorded six kickoffs for 360 yards with three touchbacks.

Billy Higgins (Ferrum College): Against Emory & Henry last Friday, Higgins produced a game-high 11 total tackles, including two tackles for a loss of six yards and on sack for a loss of four yards.

Akeem Jackson (Mary Hardin-Baylor): Against Southwestern, Jackson produced 13 total tackles, including nine solo stops, four tackles for a loss of one yard, and one sack for a loss of four yards. Additionally, He recorded one forced fumble in his team’s 52-7 victory.

Tyler James (Austin): James amassed 320 yards of total offense, including 56 yards on eight carries. He completed 23 of 34 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s second spring football game against Hendrix.

Julius Johnson (Louisiana College): Johnson led the Louisiana College defense against East Texas Baptist with nine total tackles, including five solo stops, two-and-a-half tackles of of nine yards and one sack for a loss of eight yards. He also recorded one interception (10 yards) in a six-point victory (23-17).

Kyle Jones (Hardin-Simmons): Against McMurry, Jones completed 15 of 24 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a game-high 71 yards on nine carries.

Grayson Overstreet (Emory & Henry): In his team’s spring season debut, Overstreet rushed for a game-high 196 yards on 32 carries and two touchdowns.

Donovan Pinnix (Emory & Henry): Against Ferrum, Pinnix turned in an impressive performance on defense with seven total tackles, including five solo stops and two sacks for a loss of 19 yards, along with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Gavin Stone (Randolph-Macon): Stone enjoyed an impressive spring football debut last Friday by tallying seven points off four extra points (all made) and a 35-yard field goal to go with four punts for 154 yards, including three boots that landed inside the Guilford 20-yard line. Stone also recorded six kickoffs for 266 yards with one kick resulting in a touchback.

Miles Thompson (Hendrix College): Thompson racked up 316 yards of total offense, including 244 through the air on 22 of 26 pass attempts. He tossed two touchdowns against Austin while adding 72 yards on 10 carries.

Kip Vanhoose (Hendrix College): Vanhoose rushed for a game-high 94 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns while catching three passes for 37 yards and one score.

Duncan Varela (Pugent Sound): Against Pacific Lutheran, Varela registerd 168 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. He rushed for a game-high 131 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown and caught three passes for 37 yards and two scores.