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HomeTeam Huddle: Berkeley easing in to new era

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Thu. May 17, 2012 | Joey Knight | Email

HomeTeam Huddle: Berkeley easing in to new era

Few coaches prepare for their pregame warmups, from calisthenics to claps out of the huddle, as meticulously as Berkeley Prep’s Dominick Ciao.

Tonight, with a palatial new fieldhouse presiding over Newman Stadium from the north end zone, Ciao will roll out a 2012 Buccaneers team that should line up and limber up as efficiently as anyone. Post-kickoff? The Bucs are bound to be considerably more raw.

“We’ll be as vanilla on both sides of the ball as we’ve been in a long time, and that’s okay,” said Ciao, whose team hosts Admiral Farragut in a four-quarter spring game. “What we’ve stressed this spring is trying to be fundamentally sound and run, block and tackle.”

The post-Nelson Agholor era commences with Ciao trying to replace 14 seniors, including his top passer (four-year starter Destin Nichols), rusher (Agholor), top six receivers, four of the five leading tacklers (including two Division I signees) and kicker-punter Justin Vogel (who will walk on at Florida).

Among those to watch tonight: 6-foot-1 rising sophomore QB Brad Mayes, a baseball player who joined the football team only recently; wrecking-ball-sized RB Chris Williams (5-5, 165); and 6-4 rising junior Jared Shimberg, who slides from tackle to tight end.

“All eyes are on us,” said Williams, a 400-yard rusher last season, “and I think we’re going to put on a show.”

Berkeley by the numbers
2 Completions last season, in five attempts, by new starting QB Brad Mayes
3.5 Williams’ unweighted GPA, despite a daunting course load including honors U.S. history, chemistry, algebra II and Spanish III
52 Players, give or take a few physical and academic casualties, Ciao says he has for spring drills
95 Percent of the receiving yards lost from the 2011 team due to graduation. Ben Novello (one catch) and Williams (five) are the only returners who caught a pass last season

Litton okay
An examination by a specialist Thursday revealed no significant ligament damage to the injured right thumb of Wharton QB Chase Litton, his father said.

Jeff Litton said his son, who got the thumb caught in a helmet at a recent practice, sustained only a sprain with a deep muscle contusion. He’s expected to be sidelined only two or three weeks.

Spring game, jamboree slate

Today
Admiral Farragut at Berkeley Prep, 7 p.m.
Tampa Catholic at Crystal River, 7 p.m.

Saturday
Agape Christian at Cambridge (Skyway Park), 7:30 p.m.

Thursday
(All jamborees at 6:30 p.m.)
at Alonso: Gaither vs. Sickles, Alonso vs. Steinbrenner
at Blake: Hillsborough vs. Middleton, Blake vs. Chamberlain
at Brandon: Bloomingdale vs. Brandon, Bloomingdale vs. Newsome, Brandon vs. Newsome*
at East Bay: Riverview vs. Lennard, Spoto vs. East Bay
at King: Tampa Bay Tech vs. Wharton, King vs. Freedom
at Leto: Robinson vs. Jefferson, Leto vs. Plant
at Plant City: Durant vs. Strawberry Crest, Armwood vs. Plant City
Ocala Christian vs. Seffner Christian at Dover Patriots Youth Football, 7:30

*Brandon jamboree will consist of three quarters; all other jamborees to feature two halves.

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