WHAT ARE THE BUCCANEERS DOING?
Hoping a key group of experienced sophomores can help lead the team through a tough district and back to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
What they're saying about the Bucs
Coach Dominick Ciao "We feel we have a very tough district and just want to give ourselves a chance to be in the hunt come November. We can do so but need to play perfect football most of the time."
Clearwater Central Catholic coach Mike Jalazo "Berkeley Prep is one of the most prepared teams we face. Their young quarterback (Destin Nichols) did a great job against us last year and should be even better this year."
Clearwater Central Catholic coach Mike Jalazo "They are big and physical up front and will present a number of challenges to anyone they face this season."
FridayNightRewind Construction is rampant on the Berkeley campus. We like what Ciao's building on the field as well. Chalk the Bucs up for another winning season.
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A few Bucs we'll be following on Fridays
S/WR/PR Nelson Agholor
Agholor was considered one of the best freshmen in the state in 2008. The versatile sophomore will again be asked to contribute all over the field on offense, defense and special teams.
QB Destin Nichols
Nichols is another young player with unlimited potential. He started all 10 games last year as a freshman and Ciao has little doubt Nichols will be a special player.
LBs Matt Dowdle and Mark Timmel
This duo is among six returning starters for the defense. Both are three-year starters at linebacker and will help lead a very young defense.
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Tweet and sour
Why the Bucs will make the playoffs
Maturity of their young guns. Berkeley started four freshmen a year ago (Nichols, Agholor, DEs Reggie Barnes and Tyler Davis) and all four will be counted on more heavily as sophomores.
Why the Bucs may not make the playoffs
Youth and inexperience at the skill positions. The Bucs have only 10 seniors and also need to solidify the RB, WR and TE spots after losing last year's starters to graduation.
Justin Dargahi, Times correspondent
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Coach: Dominick Ciao (third season 11-8; 20th overall, 142-69)
Last season: 5-4
Class: A, District 6
Colors: Columbia blue and white
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