TAMPA — Berkeley Prep turned away visiting Calvary Christian at the goal line with 16.5 seconds left to hold on for a 28-26 victory.
Calvary Christian (1-1) went into aggressive mode in the fourth quarter, rallying from 28-13 down to a near tie at the end of regulation. The Buccaneers (2-0) used a stout defensive front to stop the two-point conversion and the fans covering the end zone went wild.
“We hung on at the end with the game on the line and made a play,” coach Dominick Ciao said. “I’m proud of our kids because at the end there it was turning. Calvary did a tremendous job of not letting up.”
Ahead 21-3 at the half, Berkeley Prep was in full control in as senior running backs Travis Bates and Xavier Townsend each scored first-quarter touchdowns. Bates scored on the fourth play from scrimmage, totaling 70 yards on four carries, which ended in a 10-yard touchdown run. Townsend followed that with a 37-yard touchdown grab in the back of the end zone.
Junior Troy Reader punched in a 1-yard run on a fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak early in the second quarter. The third quarter saw just three points generated as Calvary senior Freddie Casale connected on a 40-yard field goal.
Trailing 21-6 heading into the fourth, Calvary Christian’s defense was starting to slow down Berkeley Prep. That opened things up for sophomore quarterback Jacob Drackett and the Warriors offense.
After being knocked down hard on a big hit in the pocket early in the fourth quarter, Drackett came out of the game for a few plays. He proved to be tough enough to get back under center as the only quarterback on the roster with senior Brandon Marcsisin inactive due to injury.
Drackett led his group down the field at the 7:45 mark as senior running back Jaeden Atkins pushed in for a 5-yard rushing score to trim the deficit to 21-13. Berkeley Prep quickly responded with a 20-yard touchdown run from Bates after he had a long kickoff return.
Drackett led two touchdown drives with under two minutes to play. The first came on a 15-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Caleb Goodloe over the top. After a failed onside kick attempt with 1:57 left, Calvary Christian forced a fumble as senior linebacker McKinley Small recovered the loose ball on first down.
Drackett then led an eight-play drive which featured a 7-yard catch from senior Carlos Quarles on fourth and 6 inside Berkeley Prep territory. Freshman wide receiver Josh Robinson caught a good lead pass four plays later and took down two defenders with him into the end zone.
“I was so excited. I was jumping around. Josh (Robinson) weighs 130 pounds and he (dragged) two people into the end zone,” Drackett said. “This performance will give us confidence. We knew we were playing a great team. Now we just need to do that in the first quarter instead of the fourth quarter.”
Berkeley Prep defensive end Keon Keeley was a standout all game, totaling 10 tackles and a sack.