TAMPA — Berkeley Prep’s defense had no answer for Tampa Catholic two-way star T.J. Harrell on Friday night.
And despite playing nearly every snap on offense and defense, the highly recruited athlete mustered enough energy for one more play to put the Crusaders over the edge.
With 52 seconds remaining in the game, Harrell broke through the middle of the field for a 21-yard touchdown run to give Tampa Catholic the lead and eventual 17-10 victory against the Buccaneers in a Class 3A District 4 game.
Harrell finished the game with 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and a handful of tackles on defense.
“This was personal for me,” Harrell said. “My freshman year they beat us when they had a great All-American in Nelson (Agholor), and sophomore year they beat us and knocked us out and we missed the playoffs. This was personal.”
Hunched over and wobbly after the game, Harrell said he knew his team depended on him for big plays.
“After every practice, I think in my mind, ‘I have to go both way. It’s something I have to do and I have no choice.’ So after practice I get a little extra running in and conditioning. I go hard so that’s how I did it out there.”
Berkeley Prep tied the game with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter when junior quarterback Brad Mayes found Jacob Mathis in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown pass. Austin Iglehart’s extra point tied the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tampa Catholic’s Willie Conley ran for a 37-yard return to put the Crusaders in Berkeley’s territory. Six plays later, Harrell scored the go-ahead touchdown.
Berkeley attempted a Hail Mary with eight seconds left but the ball was intercepted by Justin Motlow.
Mayes finished the game with 219 passing yards while Mathis had six catches for 130 yards.
“We had no time outs and we just tried to make plays,” said Berkeley Prep coach Dominick Ciao of his team’s last drive. “Give them tremendous credit, they’re a tough, physical, explosive team.”
Tampa Catholic 0 7 3 7 — 17
Berkeley Prep 0 0 0 10 — 10
T — Harrell 8 run (Sarafianos kick)
T — FG Sarafianos 27
B — FG Iglehart 23
B — Mathis 9 pass from Mayes (Iglehart kick)
T — Harrell 21 run (Sarafianos kick)