STADIUM: Newman Stadium, 4811 Kelly Road, Tampa CLASS-DISTRICT: 3A-4 (with Bishop McLaughlin, Fort Meade, Frostproof, Lakeland Christian, and Tampa Catholic) COACH: Dominick Ciao (277-80, 24th season overall; 45-20, seventh season at Berkeley Prep) LAST SEASON: 6-4
Brad Mayes, junior quarterback
Every team wants more out of its standout quarterback, and coach Dominick Ciao and the rest of the Buccaneers are expecting a lot from Mayes, who is coming off an 11-touchdown, 1,251-yard sophomore season.
“He’s our offensive playmaker,” Ciao said. “We all expect great things from him because he’s a tremendous athlete and an even better leader.”
Mayes can run, as well, adding 315 rushing yards and four TDs last season, and if the Buccaneers are to make a playoff run, it will be largely in part to Mayes
Aug. 30: Middleton
Sept. 6: at Lakeland Victory Christian
Sept. 12: Orlando Lake Highland Prep
Sept. 20: Lakeland Christian
Sept. 27: at Spring Hill Springstead
Oct. 4: at Fort Meade
Oct. 18: Tampa Catholic
Oct. 25: Bishop McLaughlin
Nov. 1: at Frostproof
Nov. 8: Brandon
Leading the way for Berkeley Prep are 15 seniors, all of which, Ciao says, will play vital roles in the team’s success. “We do have great senior leadership,” Ciao said. “Most of them have been here four years, been playing awhile and they know what’s expected of them. I’m proud of them and they’ll be a good class.”
One of those seniors is TE/DL Jared Shimberg, who has been a “tremendous competitor,” Ciao says, and adds “he plays hard every snap and I’m glad to have coached him for four years.”
The Buccaneers’ top three tacklers from 2012 return and are part of that senior leadership Ciao mentioned. Returning are Clint Gasque, George Pennington and John Kastrenakes, each of whom has 60-plus tackles, while Gasque also had two interceptions. This core will have to lead a defense, that, despite a 6-4 record last season, is looking to improve after allowing 248 points.
Building the forefront
If Mayes is going to be successful and the defense is going to show improvement, then Ciao knows the offensive and defensive lines will need to work. “We have to know how we match up on the other side,” Ciao said, “but if the guys play like I know they can, then they can be successful.” The top two sack leaders have graduated, but Bo Peek showed promising signs, picking up three sacks as a freshman in 2012.
Ciao said if Mayes and the offense is going to be successful, they have to find a way to balance the passing and rushing games.
“We need to find a way to throw and run, which we need more balance from younger guys who we need to step up, too,” Ciao said. “We even need some younger guys to step up and play like juniors and the juniors like seniors