With more than 500,000 votes accumulated this week in the High School Football Game of the Week poll (thanks to all of you!), yours truly had a nice little hour and a half drive to Cocoa Beach this week to cover an Atlantic Coastal battle between the undefeated Cocoa Beach Minutemen and the Cocoa Tigers. It was standing room only at the beautiful Minutemen Stadium tonight.
I knew I was not lost when I made a right onto Minutemen Causeway and a gigantic sign welcomed me to "Minutemen Country"!
Tony Piccalo's Minutemen came into the match-up tonight at a lofty record of 4-0 with impressive defeats over Melbourne Catholic Central and Viera.
John Wilkinson's Cocoa Tigers, having played a very tough early season schedule so far came into tonight's match-up at 2-2.
Last years match-up of this rivalry saw Cocoa completely destroy the Minutemen 69-0.
Cocoa Beach riding a four game winning streak vowed not to let that happen tonight.
Cocoa Beach proved true on its vow on their opening drive. Cocoa Beach took the ball on its opening drive and scored a touchdown against the Tigers. David Dessent met up with wide receiver Boone Lewis for the 5 yard score.
The lead would not last long for the Minutemen however, as the Tigers on their first play from scrimmage ran a toss to towards the left side of the field and scored a touchdown. Cocoa would never looked back from there.
Tough running and solid, disciplined team defense led the Tigers to a 28-6 lead at halftime.
The Minutemen hurt themselves in the 1st and 2nd quarters with multiple huge mistakes including muff punt returns and bad snaps from the long snapper to the punter.
Cocoa had a clear game plan tonight. That was to run, run and well run the ball right into the heart of their opponent and that they did. They did it well. By halftime the field was soaked from the rain and it seemed as if the better running team would control the game as passing would prove to be very difficult in the second half.
Tiger running backs Tarean Folston and Antwan Lee shouldered the offense and carried their team throughout the game. Who can forget the offensive line as well for the Tigers who blocked well and strong all game. Freddie Booth-Lloyd, Trayvon Johnson and Lane Turner opened holes all night for their backs to run through.
The Tigers in the third quarter would add 12 more points in the 3rd quarter to make the score 40-6.
Cocoa Beach who is a relatively young team in terms of seniors, freshman had its chances to get back into the game. However, every time they tried, the Tigers defense came up with another huge play and took all the wind out of the sails of the Minutemen.
With that being said, I must give some attention to the Cocoa Beach offense that did move the ball at times, even if the score did not reflect it.
Quarterback David Dessent did find Boone Lewis and Antoine Griffin quite a bit, but for small gains only. Minutemen running back Jamaal Eveillard carried the ball with purpose finding some run to run when had the chance. That is when he had the chance. The Minutemen were forced into many passing downs as they were down early and often.
The Minutemen, now 4-1 and facing their first loss of the season welcome in Lake Highland Prep October 19.
The 3-2 Tigers will travel to Oradell, New Jersey to do battle against Bergen Catholic.
Hats also go off to Colonial and University high schools for showing their school pride in accumulating more than 247,000 votes in this week's poll.
--John Shull, Local 6 Assignment Editor