Ivy rivalry pulls at family

Twins from Bel Air face off for 1st time as Harvard meets Princeton

College football

October 21, 2006|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Reporter

As a quarterback for Bel Air High School, Andrew Berry spent nearly three seasons trying to get the ball into the hands of his favorite receiver, Adam Berry, his fraternal twin. Today at Princeton, though, Andrew will try to keep the ball out of Adam's hands.

Andrew is a sophomore defensive back at Harvard. Adam is a sophomore receiver at Princeton. When the Crimson face the Tigers today at noon in a matchup of unbeaten Ivy League teams, the 19-year-old brothers will be football rivals for the first time.

"This game should be intense. We'll both have to pull out every trick in the book," said Andrew, a returning starter whose Crimson lost to Princeton by three points last year. Adam did not start as a Princeton freshman.

Harvard coach Tim Murphy said Andrew's teammates "have been busting his chops about his brother all week."

"I'm already used to a lot of his mannerisms, but there are a few things that I haven't had a chance to use in games, so I'll be ready to throw something at him that he's not expecting," said Adam, who is 60 seconds younger than Andrew and about an inch shorter at 6 feet. "I've been watching a ton of film on him, but it's kind of weird studying your brother when he's always been your teammate."

It also will be strange for their mom, Brenda Berry, who will be in the stands with her husband, Drew.

"I know the boys and their father are having fun with it," she said. "But for me, it's going to be more difficult than fun."

Harvard, ranked 15th in the NCAA's Division I-AA poll, and Princeton, ranked 22nd, have 5-0 records and are 2-0 in the league. That kind of team success is something the Berry twins grew accustomed to at Bel Air.

Before graduating in 2005, the Berrys led Bel Air to its two best seasons in school history as the Bobcats reached the Class 3A North Region title game in 2003 and the 3A state semifinal in 2004.

Adam is Bel Air's all-time leader in career receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. In his last two seasons, he had 81 receptions for 1,284 yards and 22 touchdowns. Andrew had 2,522 passing yards for 38 touchdowns in his final season and a half before an injury to his left wrist ended his senior season. Adam twice earned first-team All-Metro honors; Andrew earned second-team All-Metro as a junior. They shared 1,430 SAT scores as well as co-valedictorian honors.

"When it came to choosing colleges, our preferences were not to go to the same school," Adam said. "We were definitely prepared to go our separate ways."

During tryouts at Harvard, Murphy said Andrew practiced at quarterback, but he also made an interception during his first practice with the starting defense. "It was apparent," Murphy said, "he had the athletic ability to help us right away" as a freshman defensive back.

"I never played on `D' in high school, so I didn't have any bad habits coming in. That allowed me to develop quicker," said Andrew, who recovered a fumble and broke up three passes in his first start, a 31-21 win over Holy Cross.

Adam played mostly on the scout team as a freshman, which he called "a humbling experience."

"The biggest adjustment was learning to use my physical tools against players with more savvy. It's not enough to attack [defensive backs] with sheer athleticism. I had to look at getting open more as a chess match and be attentive to detail," Adam said. "During one of the next fall practices, I made two good receptions and was in a zone for the rest of the preseason. That's when I began to grow as a player."

In a season-opening 14-10 victory over Lehigh, Adam had the game-winning catch, a 12-yard touchdown with 6:56 left in the third quarter. In an overtime 27-26 win over Colgate, Adam outleaped a defender, tipped the ball to himself and set up fourth-and-inches near the goal line, which led to the game-winning touchdown.

"Adam has made a lot of clutch, tough catches," said Princeton receivers coach Scott Sallach, calling him "a technically sound receiver with great hands."

"Adam rarely makes a mental error and makes difficult catches," Andrew said. "But I have a couple of techniques up my sleeve that will hopefully rattle him."

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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