Ciresi’s catches end up in end zone for Berry



The way Trey Ciresi sees it, every ball belongs to him.

If a pass is headed his way, he plans to grab it. It doesn’t matter if it’s over his head or just beyond his reach.

“As a receiver, I have that mentality, if the ball’s in the air, it’s mine,” he said. “It should be caught.”

Ciresi is tied for first in Division III with seven touchdown catches for Berry, which is 3-0 (1-0 Southern Athletic Association) for the first time in the program’s four-year history.

He scored consecutive touchdowns to help the Vikings rally from two, two-touchdown deficits and defeat Maryville (Tenn.) 34-33 in the opener, and then scored on both of his catches in a win over LaGrange.

Last week, Ciresi averaged 26.4 yards on his six catches, with scoring receptions of 60, 30 and 24 yards in a victory at Rhodes.

He has 17 catches for 274 yards heading into today’s home game against Sewanee.

It certainly helps that Ciresi, at 6 feet 3, often is several inches taller than opposing defensive backs.

“Both of our quarterbacks trust me, and if they put it up there, they trust I’ll go get it,” he said.

Ciresi is typical of Berry’s players.

He entered the new program as a freshman in 2013, and like his teammates, suffered through an 0-9 season that year and just two wins the next.

Those players matured and helped the Vikings morph into a 7-3 team last year.

With this year’s start, Berry has won 10 of its past 12 games.

“They’re battle tested,” coach Tony Kunczewski said. “They were thrown into the fire as freshmen and sophomores. Now, as seniors, they’ve been through the battles.”

The Vikings were on the verge of a playoff berth last fall, but lost their final two conference games — by a combined two touchdowns — and missed the postseason.

“Last year left a bad taste in our mouth,” Kunczewski said.

Ciresi, who redshirted as a freshman, and senior receiver Chris Lilly have combined for 11 of Berry’s 13 receiving touchdowns, and they are tied for the school’s career mark with 18 touchdowns each.

“I’m not too concerned about having seven touchdowns, I’m trying to get better for (the next game),” Ciresi said.

— ANDY JOHNSTON



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