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Monday, Jul 22, 2019
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Preseason football: Berkeley Prep passing game on point in weather-shortened win

TAMPA — Berkeley Prep did some strange things on offense Thursday night.

Instead of wheeling around to hand off, quarterback Josh Youngblood was firing the ball down the field.

The Bucs becoming more of passing team?

Believe it.

By shucking its running roots, Berkeley Prep created some much-needed balance that helped it rack up plenty of yards in a 21-7 win over Lakeland Victory Christian that was called at the half because of lightning.

It was no secret the Bucs were firmly committed to the ground game last season.

That had a lot to do with what Berkeley Prep had up front, namely Nicholas Petit-Frere, a five-star recruit who was one of the best offensive linemen in the country.

Trouble was, the Bucs became one-dimensional. As a result, Berkeley Prep went 5-4 and just missed the playoffs. The four losses came against playoff teams and were all decided by eight points or fewer.

The motto for this year is to finish games. To do that, the Bucs need more from their passing game.

Part of the reason they kept the air game under wraps last season was because they were breaking in a new quarterback.

Youngblood, a tremendous athlete who has already committed to Temple, was in his first season as a starting quarterback.

He averaged just more than 10 passing attempts last season. With a year of experience, Youngblood is more comfortable running the offense.

Berkeley Prep also needs his arm as much as his legs because the offensive line lost several starters, including Petit-Frere, who is now at Ohio State.

The passing game showed off its big-play ability on Thursday's opening drive with Youngblood hitting RJ Garcia on a 53-yard touchdown pass.

Garcia, the son of Bucs boys basketball coach Renaldo Garcia, was the go-to guy whenever Youngblood dropped back to pass.

Garcia finished with five catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns. The last score was on a 38-yarder with about a minute left in the half.

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