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Arena QB moonlights as Bucs assistant

John Kaleo has his future mapped out.

When he's done playing in the Arena Football League, he wants to be an Arena coach. In the interim, the former Storm quarterback is brushing up on his coaching skills as an assistant at Berkeley Prep.

"He's totally into it," coach Frank Sullivan said.

In four seasons with the Storm, Kaleo passed for 9,971 yards and 187 touchdowns. He left to play for Austin last year, but lives in Tampa during the offseason while working in real estate.

Kaleo, 33, met the Berkeley coaches through a friend, and when a spot as passing game coordinator was offered he took it. Kaleo coached high school ball in his native Maryland, but had not been on the sideline in that capacity for several years.

"I'm having a ton of fun, giving them my ideas, coaching the receivers and kind of helping with the offense on gameday," Kaleo said. "I enjoy taking a kid that has some raw skills and coaching him up to where he feels good about himself and displays that at games."

Berkeley Prep is 2-0, largely thanks to the play of quarterback Derek Hatcher.

"Derek's doing well," Kaleo said. "He would excel at any high school in any class. He has that it factor you're looking for. He has the speed you need and has a very strong arm. He's an exceptional runner, so what I'm trying to do is calm him down as a passer and make sure he's poised."

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Hatcher, a senior, has completed 16-of-25 for 286 yards and six touchdowns. He has rushed for 101 yards and returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown.

"He's having a hard time getting noticed because the small private schools don't get a lot of recognition," Kaleo said. "But because of his athleticism, he can definitely play on the Division I-A level some day. He could play (defensive back)."

RISING STAR: Middleton senior wide receiver O.J. Murdock got a nice dose of national pub this week when TheInsiders.com released its list of the country's top 100 prospects. Murdock ranked 66th, 12th-best among Floridians. Tigers coach Harry Hubbard said his standout deserves the mention.

"He's blessed with something the supreme being has given him," Hubbard said. "It's his speed more than anything else. It allows him to separate from people a lot easier."

Murdock (6-0, 185) has finished in the top four at the state track meet in the 100 and 200 meters the past two years. He's easily one of the state's fastest prep players and has received scholarship offers from most of the South's major programs. This season, Murdock has four catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Middleton is 1-1.

"Teams focus on him, but we have some other top receivers so we can spread the ball around," Hubbard said.

WORTH WATCHING: The contract is up after this year for the state football finals, currently held in Gainesville. "We'll obviously look into the logistics and see if Tampa makes sense for it," Tampa Bay Sports Commission executive director Rob Higginssaid. Tampa's location is a great selling point, but the Bucs might not be crazy about having Raymond James Stadium host seven games in mid December.

AND FINALLY: The Academy of the Holy Names hired Dave Smithas soccer coach. Smith, who has played professionally and semiprofessionally in England and Greece, has his own Web site (www.soccerdave23.com), which is everything soccer.

Keith Niebuhr can be reached at 226-3368 or online at niebuhrsptimes.com.

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