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Berkeley Prep: Season preview

Stadium: Newman Stadium, 4811 Kelly Road, Tampa

Playoff history: 1980, 1984, 1985, 2003, 2004

Last appearance: Beat Naples St. John Neumann 49-8; lost 43-23 to Lakeland Evangel Christian

A-listers Julian Crockett

Multi-faceted player who excels on offense and defense, always a plus for the Buccaneers program. Crockett combined for 400-plus yards of offense last season as a running back and returner.

Keith Bexley

A middle linebacker Ciao said played "super" last season, Bexley led the defense with 28 tackles. He will again line up at the heart of the Berkeley defense.

Jordan Crockett

Will be the Bucs' top threat in the passing game. Also is an above-average cornerback for the defense. Twin brother of Julian and one of nine seniors and 20-plus returning players on the Bucs roster.

Rising star Kevin Laddon

Laddon earned the quarterback job during spring drills. Laddon, who tossed two touchdowns in the spring game against Orlando Lake Highland Prep, takes over for graduated signal caller Archie Barnes. Laddon scored 19 points as Berkeley's place kicker a season ago.

Stunt man Kevin Yent

Guy who does the dirty work

A junior running back, Yent handles the task when the Buccaneers need hard-to-come-by inside yards. Yent averaged 5-plus yards a carry last season and scored two touchdowns. He also provides lead blocking for fellow back Julian Crockett.

Cutting-room floor

Three things the Bucs need to avoid

1. Injuries. With a roster of about 40 players, health is always an issue. Coach Dominick Ciao hopes to increase those numbers but he fully plans on platooning players at certain positions as well as having key athletes playing multiple positions on both sides of the ball.

2. Costly mistakes. The Buccaneers led at some point in eight of their 10 games in 2007. But miscues, namely turnovers, helped lead to Berkeley Prep's 5-5 record. Ciao said his team has to improve come the fourth quarter.

3. Going winless in league play. One thing Ciao did not accomplish in his first season with the Bucs was a victory in Class 2B, District 6 play. Berkeley lost to league foes Clearwater Central Catholic, Sarasota Cardinal Mooney and Frostproof by a combined 83-38. "We lost the wrong games," Ciao said.

Review

"(Bucs coach Dominick Ciao) is one of the top guys in what we do. His experience and knowledge of the game makes them a better team. When we play them, we know we have to be on our A-game as a coaching staff." — Clearwater Central Catholic coach Michael Jalazo

Rod Gipson, Times correspondent

Berkeley Prep: Season preview 09/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 3:45pm]
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