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BERRY – The Berry Wildcats advanced to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row after defeating the R.A. Hubbard Chiefs 36-8 Friday night in the second round of the AHSAA Class 1A playoffs.
Berry senior running back Terrance “Tank” Hollingsworth, who has committed to play at Arkansas State next season, had 101 total offensive yards (71 rushing, 40 passing), putting him 51 yards shy of the AHSAA record for career yardage. In Berry’s first-round win last week at Donoho, Hollingsworth had 248 all-purpose yards to set the AHSAA record for career all-purpose yards.
Though Hollingsworth had another productive night on offense, it was his and his teammates’ efforts on defense that set the tone for Berry. The Wildcats defense allowed only 80 yards of offense, all rushing, and no points. The Chiefs’ lone touchdown was on an interception return.
“We knew if we shut them down on defense, we could win,” Hollingsworth said. “That’s what our main focus was this whole week. We went over it, kept going over all our scouting reports, we learned it, so we had to come out here and show people that we learned it.”
Leading 14-0, the Wildcats effectively put away the visiting Chiefs with a 16-play, 79-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown run for Hollingsworth, his first of two. The drive chewed up 9:53 off the clock.
Berry coach Danny Raines said it was part of the plan to use as much time as possible while holding the lead.
“We just wanted to go down and score, and obviously taking time off the clock helped us,” Raines said. “The line was doing a great job, the guys were doing a great job running the ball and taking care of the ball, so as we kept going, it worked out well for us.”
As a team, the Wildcats rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns. Senior fullback Jeremiah Chaney led the team in rushing with 86 yards on seven carries.
Berry senior quarterback Weston Bonner was just 1-for-3 passing on the night, but he made his one completion count, throwing a 24-yard strike to Charleston Hudson on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Bonner opened the scoring in the first half for Berry with two rushing touchdowns.
Troy Locke and Chaney each had eight tackles to lead the Wildcat defense. A.J. Johnson followed with five tackles.
Berry (7-5) travels to Region 5 rival Hubbertville, which defeated the Wildcats 20-16 in the third week of the regular season.
“We’ll have to prepare better than we did last time, because they’re going to run the ball, Hollingsworth said. “They’re physical. We’ve just got to be more physical. They’re probably more physical than we are, but we can outrun them. If we get it outside, we’ve got them.”