|Austin Lowe goes up high on one of his 15 carries for Berry.
Berry athletics photo
Berry's first trip to the NCAA playoffs will extend into a second week, while Linfield advanced to face a familiar rival and St. Thomas moved on with ease in the top-right bracket of the 2017 Division III football playoffs.
- Updated playoff bracket
- Wrapup: UW-Oshkosh bracket
- Wrapup: Mount Union bracket
- Wrapup: UMHB bracket
- Wrapup: Delaware Valley bracket
- First-round playoff scoreboard
- Even more game stories
Wyatt Smith threw a touchdown pass and Duke Mackle returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown as eighth-ranked Linfield rolled out to a 21-0 lead at the half on No. 5 Hardin-Simmons. And although the Cowboys got on the board with a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown by Reese Childress, it wasn't enough as Willy Warne tacked on his second field goal of the afternoon and the Wildcats won 27-13. Smith was 17-for-24 for 226 yards and a score in his first playoff start, but Chidubem Nnoli rolled up 150 yards on the ground for the Wildcats. Meanwhile, the defense intercepted Landry Turner three times, limited him to 87 passing yards on 33 attempts.
Linfield will go back to Mary Hardin-Baylor for the fourth game in two seasons, three of them in Belton. UMHB threw an interception and missed a field goal on its first two possessions before breaking through with Markeith Miller's 3-yard touchdown run with 2:42 left in the first quarter. Carl Robinson III's 6-yard touchdown pass to Jonel Reed early in the second quarter made it 14-0 Cru and UMHB stretched it to 16-0 when a punt snap soared over the head of Chapman punter Elias Deeb for a safety. Miller added a 1-yard scoring run and Robinson hit Reed with a 26-yard scoring strike to stretch it to 30-0 UMHB at halftime en route to a 50-6 win.
Berry ground out a 34-20 win vs. Huntingdon to improve to 11-0 and advance in its first-ever playoff trip. The teams combined for just 20 completions through the air, but accounted for 190 yards on the ground with 84 combined rushing attempts. When the plays did come through the air, they were big as the Vikings averaged 9.3 yards per pass play including a 59-yard score to sophomore wide receiver Mason Kinsey late in the third to seal the game.
Adam Brant led another impressive defensive display and sophomore Josh Parks ran for 106 yards and a touchdown as No. 4 St. Thomas rolled to a 47-8 win vs. Eureka. Brant returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown and had a forced fumble as the Tommies advanced to the second round. They limited LeAnthony Reasnover to 12 yards on 12 touches in the first half and 76 yards on the day, incluing 41 rushing yards on 27 carries. Plus, freshman running back Tom Loeffler provided a highlight-worthy moment with his second-quarter touchdown.