WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Newman Stadium, Tampa
Tampa Catholic’s Kyle Ploucher vs. Berkeley Prep’s Brad Mayes: Ploucher has been steady and in big games has stepped up to make key throws. Overall, the TC senior has completed 78 of 121 passes for 945 yards and 11 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Mayes, who has one of the strongest arms in the area, has been resilient despite losing close games to Lakeland Christian (27-24 in double overtime) and Fort Meade (23-21 on the last play of the game). Mayes has completed 49 of 93 passes for 628 yards and five touchdowns.
IN THE TRENCHES
Tampa Catholic’s aggressive attack vs. Berkeley Prep’s wall: The Crusaders’ swarming defense has gotten much stingier after allowing 30 points to Madison County in the season opener. In the past five games, TC, which platoons freely and shows multiple formations, has given up an average of only six points. A big part of Berkeley’s offensive success, meanwhile, depends on how its line protects quarterback Brad Mayes, who can be highly effective if given time to throw.
CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 4 IMPLICATIONS
A Tampa Catholic victory almost assures a playoff spot for the Crusaders, who are 2-0 in the district. A loss for Berkeley, which is 0-2 in 3A-4, will pretty much sink any playoff hopes. As it stands, Berkeley must win its final three district games against TC, Bishop McLaughlin and Frostproof, and then get some help from other teams, to have any hopes of reaching the postseason. To beat Tampa Catholic, Berkeley coach Dominick Ciao said, “We have to play perfectly on offense, defense and special teams. This game is that type of a challenge for us.”