Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Football: Tampa Catholic 17, Berkeley Prep 10

TAMPA — It wasn't the entire Berkeley Prep team, but one Buc in particular, who stood out in coach Mike Gregory's mind as Tampa Catholic prepared to take on its district foe.

Two years ago, Nelson Agholor ran for 312 yards and had two touchdowns in the Buccaneers' drubbing of the Crusaders. Back then, the future University of Southern California wide receiver was the source of Tampa Catholic's despair. Now, he was a motivational tool.

"In order to win this game tonight, you've got to come up big," Gregory told T.J. Harrell before Friday's game. "You've got to be Nelson tonight. For us."

Keeping his coach's challenge in mind, Harrell rushed for two touchdowns, including a winning score with 52 seconds on the clock, to lead Tampa Catholic to a 17-10 road win against Berkeley Prep.

Harrell, who rushed for 123 yards, was the sole spark in an otherwise lifeless night for the Crusaders.

Tampa Catholic (6-1, 3-0) came into the matchup atop the Class 3A state rankings. Still, the night was quiet. The game began with a sparse crowd, and there was neither a band nor dueling student sections to liven the atmosphere. The play on the field matched the surroundings.

Harrell scored the first points with 11:13 to go in the second quarter on a 7-yard run, and the Crusaders took the small lead into halftime. The Bucs (2-4, 0-3) forced four three-and-outs before the break.

Tampa Catholic padded its lead late in the third quarter with a 27-yard field goal from Michael Sarafianos. The next 14 minutes, though, were all Bucs.

After driving to the 6-yard line, quarterback Brad Mayes threw three consecutive incomplete passes and the Bucs settled for a 23-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. With 2:10 on the clock, Berkeley Prep finally made it to the end zone, as Jacob Mathis followed a 70-yard reception with an 8-yard touchdown catch.

"We kept our poise," Berkeley coach Dominick Ciao said about his team's game-tying drive. "We made some plays."

The Crusaders, desperate to keep its perfect district record intact, had one last chance to do the same.

After more than three quarters of floundering, quarterback Kyle Ploucher's offense marched down the field, and on third and 4, with the Crusaders at the 22-yard line, Harrell saw a big hole.

"It was set up perfectly," he said. "We saw the linebacker shift. There was nobody in my hole where I'm going."

Nobody, except a referee.

"I had to avoid him," Harrell said, laughing. "I saw the end zone goal line and just fell in."

Thanks to Harrell, the Crusaders finished Friday's game the victors — just barely.

"Winning is hard work," Gregory told his huddled team after the game, fans filing out of Stanford J. Newman Stadium.

The Crusaders' solemn expressions proved they had learned that the hard way.

Football: Tampa Catholic 17, Berkeley Prep 10 10/19/13 [Last modified: Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve


    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  4. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]