TAMPA, Fla. — Berkeley Prep (12-0) has a perfect record, but longtime head coach Dominick Ciao is now counting perfection in minutes.
“We have to be perfect for 48 minutes to get it done,” Ciao said.
Berkeley Prep will take on Chaminade-Madonna in the Class 3A state title game on Friday in Tallahassee. The Bucs still have a bitter taste in their mouth after losing to Chaminade 23-21 in last year’s state semifinal.
“State championship was always our main goal,” Berkeley linebacker T.J. Bullard told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “Going against the team that beat us at home last year is big. I’m excited for it. Definitely coming to bring everything we got knowing this is my last high school football game.”
“I think it will be huge. Since sophomore, freshman year we’ve been working hard, countless hours, early mornings, late nights trying to get a ring,” Berkeley defensive back Damien Hooker added.
The Bucs are led by 15 seniors and Coach Ciao, who last coached in a final in 1992 with Jesuit.
“Coach does a great job of making sure we don’t get distracted and get all into the hype,” Bullard said.
Sometimes that hype and those distractions find you.
“It’s crazy. It doesn’t even feel real. All the seniors are texting me good luck, finish the job,” Hooker said. “A lot of fans are coming to the game. We have two fan buses coming to the game after exams, so it’s going to be crazy.”
“We have to win the week, it’s just like any other game,” Berkeley running back Travis Bates said. “We have to come in with that mindset. We have to come in to win, not just play. It’s the last game, I’m excited but sad at the same time.”
The clock is ticking Berkeley’s season, and for the seniors, their high school careers.
“We have another 48 minutes and a chance,” Ciao said.