TAMPA — Berkeley Prep led by just two at the half Friday night but pulled away for 23-12 victory over visiting Middleton.
"They (Middleton) are a tough, physical, explosive football team; we knew we'd have our hands full," Bucs coach Dominik Ciao said. "But we weathered some mistakes in the first half and got out with a great win."
The Bucs appeared to have mismatches on paper, as they had three receivers taller than 6 feet. But the Tigers brought pressure in quarterback Brad Mayes' face, much of it coming from senior linebacker Brandon Tillman.
Mayes was 7-for-16 for 90 yards and two interceptions. However, the Bucs ground game was productive, driving close enough for short fields. Eight of Berkeley's 11 drives started in Middleton territory. Senior Austin Inglehart hit field goals of 45 and 34 yards and running back Robert Leverette had runs of 25 and 20 yards, and a short touchdown run as well.
The Tigers imploded to start the third quarter, giving up a safety and two touchdowns in the first four series. Middleton's Tillman did produce the biggest scoring play of the game, a 32-yard screen where he got a block from sophomore Chalo Judge.
Andy Warrener, Times correspondent