Football team preview: Berkeley Prep

Berkeley Prep

At a glance

Coach: Dominick Ciao (14th season)

Class: 3A, Region 3

Last season: 8-2 (lost in region semifinals)

Key players: RB/LB Travis Bates, Jr.; DL/LB Austin Dean, Sr.; WR/DB Henry Ferrilli, Sr.; WR/DB Renaldo Garcia II, Sr.; DB Damien Henderson, So.; DB DJ Hooker, Jr.; DL/OL/TE James Kavouklis, Jr.;  DL/LB Tre Reader, Sr.; QB Gavin Rupp, Sr.; ATH Xavier Townsend, Jr.


Sept. 25 TBD

Oct. 2 at Tampa Catholic

Oct. 9 vs. Lakeland Victory Christian

Oct. 16 TBD

Oct. 23 at Bradenton St. Stephens

Oct. 30 at Clearwater Central Catholic

Nov. 6 vs. Sickles

Things to know

Late start

Taking a precautionary approach due to the coronavirus, Berkeley Prep decided to officially start practice on Monday. Because of the prolonged wait, the Buccaneers will not kick off the regular season until Sept. 25. That is, if they can find an opponent. If not, Berkeley Prep’s opener will be at Tampa Catholic on Oct. 2. Though the schedule is condensed, the Buccaneers still plan on staying in the state series. 

Stacked at the skill positions

Berkeley Prep’s offense has the key pieces in place to be potent. Gavin Rupp, who has offers from East Tennessee State, Gardner-Webb and Tennessee-Martin, returns at quarterback for his senior season. He can hand off to a pair of dynamic junior running backs, Travis Bates and Xavier Townsend. Or Rupp can drop back and throw to his top deep threat, RJ Garcia II, a senior who has already committed to Kansas State.  Though the Buccaneers return nearly skill player, there still is  work to be done on the offensive line, which lost several starters, including Zach Perkins, now at Maryland. 

Berkeley Prep's Austin Dean
Austin Dean

Versatile playmakers

The biggest loss on defensive was Jaylen Harrell, a linebacker who is now at Michigan. Austin Dean, a Rutgers commit, can play on the line or at linebacker. So can Tre Reader. Their flexibility to play multiple positions will be key in filling in certain spots. James Kavouklis will help anchor the line and Damien Henderson, DJ Hooker and Henry Ferrelli will man the secondary.