Football preview: No. 6 Berkeley Prep

Berkeley Prep 

At a glance

Coach: Dominick Ciao, 15th season

Class: 3A, Region 3

Last season: 7-2, lost in state semifinals

Key players: RB/OLB Travis Bates, Sr.; SS/WR TJ Bullard, Sr.; WR/OLB Drew Canody, Sr.; OT/OG Speros Grapsas, Sr.; OT James Hankerson, Jr.; TE CJ Hawkins, Sr.; WR/CB Damien Henderson, Jr.; FS/CB DJ Hooker, Sr.; DT/OG Nikhil Jefferson, So.; DE/TE Keon Keeley, Jr.; C/DE James Kavouklis, Sr.; DE Xavier Perkins, Jr.; MLB/DE Tre Reader, Sr.; OT/C Chad Staley, Sr.; DT Brice Stevenson, Jr.; SB/RB Xavier Townsend, Sr.; WR/CB Nijier Washington, Sr.;  


Aug. 27 vs. Clearwater Central Catholic, 7

Sept. 3 vs. Calvary Christian, 7

Sept. 10 at Robinson, 7:30

Sept. 17 vs. Brandon, 7

Sept. 24 Bye

Oct. 1 vs. Tampa Catholic, 7

Oct. 8 at Freedom, 7:30

Oct. 15 at Lakeland Victory Christian, 7

Oct. 22 at New Orleans Isadore Newman, 7

Oct. 29 Bye

Nov. 5 vs. Plant, 7


The Buccaneers reached the state semifinal for the third time in school history last season and nearly made their first title game appearance, losing to eventual champion Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna 23-21. There is plenty of optimism this year due in large part to a veteran roster with star power. Four players — TJ Bullard (UCF), CJ Hawkins (Florida), Keon Keeley (Notre Dame) and Xavier Townsend (Iowa State) — have already committed to major colleges. The biggest loss on offense is quarterback Gavin Rupp, who walked on at Rutgers. Taking Rupp’s place is Troy Reader, a star baseball player who has already committed to Notre Dame. The running game should be among the best in the area with Townsend (715 yards, 10 touchdowns last season) teaming with Travis Bates (675 yards, five touchdowns) for a solid 1-2 punch.  Berkeley Prep went in search of tough games and will travel to New Orleans to play national powerhouse Isadore Newman, the alma mater of Peyton and Eli Manning and Odell Beckham.