Looking both backward and forward: A retrospective look at right now! Featured Photo: Micki McDaniel @minguabeefjerky @KyHighFootball @CentreFootball @1776Bank @MaxPreps

We are coming to the close of another season and, so far, it has been very interesting. This coming Saturday Centre College closes its season on the road in Mount Berry, Georgia playing the Vikings from Berry College in its stadium aptly named, “Valhalla.”

Photo: Micki McDaniel

Centre went to the mountain-top to play the Sewanee Tigers and got way more of a contest than anticipated. Needless to say, and we have said it all year, one must remember these are college football teams and college football players. You have to “bring it” every single game or be subject to getting upset. Saturday was as good of a reminder of this particular principle as one might ever see.

On paper, Centre should have been a heavy favorite. Well, Sewanee didn’t get the memo.

Centre escaped Sewanee, Tennessee. An effort as lackluster as the Sewanee one in Georgia and the Colonels will not emerge nearly as fortunate.

We are going to look back at the Sewanee game. Then we will peer forward at the trip to Berry College.

Looking back at Sewanee…

Looking at the statistical data one has to wonder how this game was as close as it was. Centre had 23 first downs to Sewanee’s 12. Centre had 428-yards of offense in 74-plays for an average of 5.8 per play to Sewanee’s 271.

Centre threw for 161-yards passing to Sewanee’s 104. Centre ran for 267-yards from scrimmage to Sewanee’s 167.

Centre didn’t have a single sack. Centre didn’t recover a fumble. Centre didn’t record an interception.

Let me first say, we all know what a talent Trentin “Supper” Dupper is under center. Statistically at least, and we are going off of numbers alone, Saturday was not among his finer efforts in what has been an All-conference-type season.

As an anecdote, the late John Majors, whose dad Shirley (yes, that was his name) coached for many years at Sewanee, fumbled a kick which cost Tennessee a Sugar Bowl title to Baylor in 1957 following the ’56 season. Majors was the Heismantrophy runner-up that very year.

Owing to the Majors’ miscue, Baylor won the game 13-7. They interviewed John Majors’ mother after the game and asked specifically about the fumble. Elizabeth Majors told the inquisitor that “even the best cooks burn the biscuits from time to time.”

In that vein, we had quite a few players who may have burned the biscuits on Saturday on the mountain-top. However, the team emerged with a win and that, after all, is the only important thing.

Edwards, Photo: Micki McDaniel

Trentin Dupper completed 12 of 27 passes for 161-yards with 2-picks and one TD. Now, where one aspect of the offense appeared a little off, another appeared to blossom.

Patric Edwards easily had his finest outing of the season if not his Centre career. Edwards rushed the football 30-times for 210-yards with 2-TDs, averaging 7-yards a carry. Dupper chipped in 53-yards rushing and a TD.

Jordan Gunter led all receivers with 3-receptions. Gunter also snagged a TD receiving on a day when every score would be critical. 

Christian Billiter had a 54-yard kickoff return. Sam Murray had a 30-yard return and Jordan Gunter added a 26-yard punt return to swing the 3rd phase of football, special teams, into the Colonels’ favor. On this day, Centre didn’t have but a slim margin for error.

Miles Smith paced the team with 7-tackles, 4 of which were TFLs with a hit on the QB. Keanan John had 2-TFLs, Dallas Douglass had one TFL, Ollie Hunter had a pair of TFLs while Reiley Colwick tossed in a TFL of his own.

Er’Ron Mitchell had one of the team’s two pass breakups. Freshman, Evan Elder, forced a fumble and showed why everyone in the program is excited about his playing future.

About all which can be said is we successfully ran our record to 7-2. Good teams and good programs find ways to win “ugly.” Saturday was “ugly.” It was good to get out of there adding a mark in our win column.

Looking ahead to Berry College…

Next up for the Colonels is a road trip to play at a place it is really hard to optimally perform. Berry College is a program considered among the finest in the SAA if not in all of the NCAA’s Third Division.

These guys will be tough. They will be keen to slide into the offseason at 7-3 as opposed to 6-4.

Centre, with the win, would be 8-2. That would catapult the team into the offseason and give the program momentum coming into the ’22 season in what will be a brand, spanking-new bunch of athletic facilities to include a new stadium.

C. Cheyunski

Berry College is coming off a 45-14 pasting of Rhodes College in Memphis. Berry is 6-3 on the year with wins over Maryville, LaGrange, Millsaps, Sewanee, and Hendrix in addition to Rhodes and losses to UW-Whitewater, Trinity, and Birmingham Southern.

In the Rhodes game, Rhodes had more first downs than did the Vikings (20 to 14). Berry had 422-yards of total offense while surrendering 315. 

Berry threw the football for 133-yards on 9 of 21 passing with an interception. The Vikings ran the ball for 289-yards on 36-carries.

Gavin Gray had a tough day for the Vikings going 9 for 21 for 133-yards with one TD and one INT. Cade Brandon rushed the football 16-times for 136-yards with a TD and Josh Rogers gained 84-yards rushing and scored the other rushing TD on the afternoon.

Gray’s favorite target down the field appeared to be Deiondre Wilson. Wilson caught 6-balls against Rhodes for 111 receiving yards with the only score of the day through the air. 

Matthew Syverson handled both the kickoff and punting duties but the Vikings showed it would drop Gavin Gray back and have him punt it, if the moment suits. There was such a moment this past Saturday in the Rhodes game and the QB dropped his solitary effort inside the 20-yard line (mission accomplished). 

L. Filipkiowski

Brandon Moody is a weapon in the kick return game as he shoed yesterday. Moody averaged 27.5 yards per return Saturday in Memphis.

Luke Filipkowski is a second-level defensive threat to pick off passers and has to be accounted for in the passing game. Against Rhodes, Filipkowski picked a pair of passes for 54 yards in returns including a 40-yarder he took back for a “pick-six.” 

John Mancuso paced the defense with 10-tackles. Connor Cheyunski had 8-tackles and a TFL.

Jake Seeger is the team’s most potent and consistent up-front pass rusher. Seeger had a QB -sack and 3-TFLs on Saturday.

Charlie Sims had a sack against Rhodes as did Caleb Dallas. Will Henley and Ben Prescott split the 4th sack on the day. 

Prognosis:

This may be the easiest prognosis on the year. We will have to play much better or we will get creamed in Valhalla.

Trinity College and Birmingham Southern are at the top of the conference heap. This has been amply demonstrated both all season and yesterday where Trinity beat BSU in Texas, 28-27, to take the crown. After those two, Centre and Berry College are the third and fourth best teams in the SAA.

Just as you can’t really turn around for the difference between one and two, the difference between three and four is just as minuscule, just as thin. Make no mistake here, and forget about the loss to Wisconsin White-Water (which will challenge for the National Title this and every other year), Berry College is every bit as talented, athletic, and well coached as any team at the top of the SAA, we included.

It would be exceedingly wise for Centre to get off the bus ready to play and play at its very best. Otherwise,…

This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!

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