Thu, Dec 7, 2017 11:02 PM
CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW
The Cocoa Tigers will attempt to repeat as Class 4A State Champions when the take on Jacksonville Raines this evening. A win would make Cocoa a perfect 5-0 in state championship games. The Tigers won three consecutive state championships from 2008-2010, won the Class 4A state championship in 2016, and have made it to the semifinal round for 11 consecutive seasons!
Cocoa will enter the 2017 Class 4A State Championship Game sporting an 11-1 record and they have clawed opponents into submission during their annual deep playoff run. The Tigers have outscored the opposition 175-29 in previous three playoff games. Cocoa smashed Lake Placid 63-8 in round one, crushed Avon Park 63-7 in the second round, and thrashed Fort Lauderdale University School 49-14 in the semifinal round two weeks ago.
The Tigers have a two headed monster in the backfield in senior Javian Hawkins and junior Willie Gaines. Hawkins has rushed for 1,737 yards and 20 touchdowns on 199 carries and his backfield mate, junior Willie Gaines has 147 carries for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns. When Cocoa decides to pass, senior quarterback Bradley Cantrell will have that responsibility. Cantrell has passe for 984 yards with 15 touchdowns and only one interception. He will distribute the ball to senior Connor Perrine(21 catches 332 yards 4tds), junior Rashean Lynn(11 catches 255 yards 3tds), and senior Tri-Marea Charles(10 catches 192 yards 4tds). Senior athlete Jordan Wojciechowski has caught only three passes this season, but all three went for touchdowns and he is another option for Cantrell.
Cocoa's defense is led by a quartet of seniors in Zach Beagle(76 tackles), Howard Stewart(52 tackles 7 sacks), Tri-Marea Charles(56 tackles 5 sacks), and John Smith(68 tackles).
The Jacksonville Raines Vikings are making their fourth appearance in a FHSAA state final and it will also be their second finals appearance in the last three years. Raines won the Class 4A state championship in 1997 and also finished as runner ups in Class 4A in 1973 and 2015.
The Vikings suffered a week one defeat at the hands of Jacksonville Robert E. Lee by a score of 20-16, but have won their last 12 games to earn a spot in the Class 4A final. Raines dominated their first three playoff opponents by outscoring them 153-28! In round one, the Vikings pummeled Panama City North Bay Haven 43-0, they battered Callahan West Nassau 57-15 in round two, and clobbered Starke Bradford 53-13 in the semifinal round.
Raines brings a balanced offense into the Class 4A final, they have passed for 2,949 yards and they have rushed for 2,488 yards. Leading the way for Vikings will be senior quarterback Ivory Durham IV. He has completed 70% of his passes for 2,875 yards with 34 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Durham IV has also rushed for 335 yards and 9 touchdowns. He will look to get the ball into the hands of senior George Webb, who is a threat to score every time he has the ball! Webb has 27 catches for 707 yards, a whopping 26.2 yards per catch! Webb also scored on 10 of those receptions and he terrorized opposing special teams, returning 4 punts for scores! Senior Kamaree Noble has 40 catches for 628 yards with 8 touchdowns and provides another target for Durham IV. Another option in the passing game is junior Matthew Drayton, he has snagged 26 passes for 463 yards and 4 scores. The Vikings' ground attack is led by junior Brandon Marshall who has rushed for 1,570 yards and 21 touchdowns. Marshall also caught 11 passes for 210 yards and 2 additional scores. Senior Raynell Killian is also an option in the running game, he has 276 yards rushing and 6 scores.
Defensively, senior Roderick Billingslea(40 tackles 10 sacks) and junior Janorris Robertson(38 tackles 8 sacks) anchor the line. Senior Elijah Spivey(70 tackles 6 sacks) and juniors Javon Bonsell(71 tackles 11 sacks 1 interception) and Nigel Allen(42 tackles 5 sacks) lead the linebacking corps. The defensive backfield is led by senior strong safety Diop Kee who chipped in 56 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 5 interceptions. Senior Raynell Killian added 3 interceptions from his cornerback position.